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Accordion in Finland!Wow!

Dingo40

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Hi all,
Here I am, “enjoying “ a 44degC day in sunny South Australia <EMOJI seq="1f605">?</EMOJI>.
Not wishing to lose any reeds due to melting wax, I’ve been surfing the web in search of accordion music on YouTube. Amazing what’s there!
I previously had no idea how well the accordion is regarded in Finland, both PA and CBA are in evidence and played to an exceptionally high standard.
I seriously recommend you check out the large professionally presented amount of accordion music on Finnish youtube websites. They really are too numerous to list, but dial in, for example, “Finnish medley”, “Russian in Finland”, “Finska Polka”,
“Kultainen harmonikka”, to mention a few.
Enjoy!<EMOJI seq="1f642">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI>
 
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maugein96

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Hi Dingo,

I have been watching You Tube clips featuring accordion music from the lesser known countries for some years now. I am familiar with the excellent standard of accordion playing in Finland, and many other countries like Brazil. I have posted quite a few clips of such music over the years, but my experience tends to indicate that relatively few forum members share our eclectic tastes in world accordion music.

Most members are from the English speaking parts of the globe where the accordion repertoire seems to be pretty rigidly defined into specific genres, with only the odd foray into the exotic being undertaken by the more adventurous types. It seems that most people are only happy to identify with styles that meet the "approval" of other fellow musicians, and they just aren't comfortable with trying their hand at some of the lesser known accordion music. Although that concept exists across the board with all types of instruments, the accordion in particular has always tended to be pigeon - holed into specific genres. In the early days I was as guilty as most, as all I would listen to and play was French musette. However, over the years I have discovered a whole world out there of accordion music to be listened to and appreciated (or not as the case may be).

I stopped posting regularly some months ago, but occasionally I still get carried away. Oddly enough my last post featured Finnish accordion music. I used to write articles for people who were interested in historical aspects of the UK Bus industry, and that is a pretty dry subject. However, the articles often prompted a lot of animated discussion and debate. I had been thinking of posting a thread on here about the premature withdrawal of London Transport RTL and RTW buses from East London in the late 60s, as I had run out of interesting accordion related topics. I was working on the principle that maybe some of the bus operating staff may have been keen accordionists, and were keen to share their experiences of either working on the buses, or accordion playing, but ultimately decided to give the whole thing a miss.

When I worked on the buses we all had interesting stories to tell about our exploits. However, as soon as I take an accordion out of its case I have to remind myself it is a serious game, and it's better not to speak about it, unless it's to demonstrate that your knowledge is greater than somebody else's. As I seldom fall into that category, then it is usually better to watch the battles from a distance than sacrifice your best troops for a lost cause.

Thanks for putting the post on. I do share your "Wow!" factor for Finnish accordion.
 

Dingo40

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Hi Maugein96,
Thanks for responding!<EMOJI seq="1f642">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI>
Although I don’t always respond to your various posts, I always find them interesting and illuminating reading, so don’t stop.
I see you once worked “on the buses”, which happens to be my father-in-law’s ( now deceased) past occupation for many years. He too had quite a few stories to tell!
 

debra

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Finland not only loves the accordion, they even have their own variation of the C system CBA which has C on the third row (but goes in the same diagonal way as C system).
One of my favorite Finnish players and composers is Petri Makkonen. He has some clips of his oown compositions on Youtube.
 

Corsaire

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Like Dingo, I read posts but don't always respond (people rarely respond to mine either :lol: ). Maugein (John) - you're a mine of information, so don't stop posting. A friend left the army and went onto the London buses and he certainly has some tales to tell.
I enjoy listening to Finnish accordion too. I don't give two hoots who is playing or where the player/accordion come from as long as I like what I hear ! What I hadn't appreciated before joining this forum was just how many different types of accordion there are, varied tuning - and as for the inner workings ... I'd never even thought about opening up the box to see what was inside !
 

hais1273

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I think that just about sums my feelings as well as long I like what I hear.

I once made the mistake of telling someone Iknew reasonably well, that I liked traditional Hungarian music. Good Grief, I quickly wished I hadnt, and this was someone who I thought had an open mind about such things. Jeez-a-lou! Now, I would be very wary about mentioning Finnish accordions in some circles. In fact I would be wary of mentioning anything out of the accepted norm in some circles.

Thinking about Finnish music, Ellin Polkka, www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQTMvmDiEEo
Metsukukkia, www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMGLsASprhA
and Laihian Polkka www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVO4QkIvKZg are particular favourites of mine.




Keep posting John, a little controversy never hurt anyone.
 
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maugein96

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Dingo40 post_id=65296 time=1545972590 user_id=2622 said:
Hi Maugein96,
Thanks for responding!<EMOJI seq=1f642>?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq=1f44d>?</EMOJI>
Although I don’t always respond to your various posts, I always find them interesting and illuminating reading, so don’t stop.
I see you once worked “on the buses”, which happens to be my father-in-law’s ( now deceased) past occupation for many years. He too had quite a few stories to tell!

Hi Dingo,

I worked on the buses for 12 years as a prelude to proper retirement, as the conditions of my previous career employment meant it was most favourable to retire from post at 50 years of age. If I had worked on longer Id had have lost out on the amount of pension I had accrued. Old buses are a hobby of mine and I thought I might as well do something I enjoyed. I got the enjoyed bit wrong, as the industry had changed dramatically in the 32 years between stints. Nevertheless it must have been in my blood, as I slogged on, before the tax man and my wifes poor health convinced me it wasnt worth doing any more. Also, accordion practice can be difficult when you are getting out of bed at 3am one week and getting into it at the same time the following week.

After several years of posting, Im now of a mind that You Tube is there, for anybody who is so inclined, to delve into how the accordion music in one region differs slightly from another, and explore those differences for themselves.

The accepted norm mentioned by member hais1273 sort of sums it all up. I am one of those people who seem to shun that norm in the quest for the interesting and unusual, and often tend to forget that for every one of my kind there exist thousands of others who are not so inclined.

Lack of feedback is not so much the issue, as the realisation that telling people that the Leyland version of the iconic London RT bus had heavier steering than the AEC equivalent is not really going to set the average persons heels on fire.

Put another way, I dont expect people on an English speaking forum to thank me for telling them that an Azerbaijani with a finger missing is making a great job of playing a complicated tune from Baku on a two row garmon, when all they want to do is to work out several Xmas carols on their new box in time for a seasonal performance.

I had asked for a World Music board on the forum so that the exotic and unusual might find a home there, but it never happened, and I suppose I can now understand why.

Really must dash, as Im trying to work out how to play that tune from Baku on a CBA, and it seems I can now manage it without the need to have a finger amputated.

Ill still be around for a while yet, although I am now resolving to try and adhere to the accepted norm.
 

hais1273

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By the way, I still listen to Hungarian traditional music, not may accordions in this genre.

I'm not sure I could describe the "Accepted Norm" but I know when I hear it. Strangely, the French dance group I used to play with were and are intensely conservative , whereas one of the local folky sessions, just don't give a *&^T! pretty much anything goes.
 
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maugein96

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I suppose most popular music with regional and/or national traditions has to remain conservative otherwise it loses its identity fairly quickly. Up here in Tartan County they appear to have resisted all attempts to alter the genre, and to my ears it sounds exactly the same as it did in the days before Christ left Dumbarton (the first time). I don't think many other styles have remained constant for so long but I could be wrong. My teacher from the east coast accordion doctrine tells me that he has a pupil from the west of Scotland who he is helping to lose the west coast "swing" in his playing. It therefore seems that there are at least two different Scottish playing styles, but even if I lived for another 65 years I'd have no real chance of working it out.

The only accordion music I've really stuck with is French musette, and its variations. These days I tend to try and incorporate more Latin and Spanish type music into my playing. I love Balkan accordion music of all types but realise I'm probably better just listening to it rather than trying to play it. I've recently started lessons in an effort to improve my reading and my left hand, so don't have a lot of time to branch out into other styles. I'd hate to build up a Balkan repertoire only to discover that I had developed a Macedonian or Bosnian swing to my playing.

If I ever decide to pass on French musette I'll be looking for an Italian LMMH accordion without a "French accent" in it. That will be my "all purpose" box that I wish I'd invested in a long time ago. I have tackled Balkan music on my French accordions, but somehow it doesn't quite work. French tuning is similar to Scottish, in as much that it is fine for the local music, but doesn't really travel well.

As for the "accepted norm" I don't think I'll ever really know what that is, although Hungarian and Finnish music would appear not to be included (for most members). I once told Norwegian relatives that I liked their accordion music. One or two of them acknowledged my interest, but the remainder suggested I might require some psychiatric treatment to get over the issue. Seems the accordion there is pretty much a minority interest, same as it is here.
 

Dingo40

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Well, Maugein, you can be sure that whatever you decide to write (even about buses) I’ll read it.
Here’s more strength to your pen ( keyboard)!
<EMOJI seq="1f642">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI>
 

Dingo40

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Hals1273,
Thanks for your input and the links!<EMOJI seq="1f642">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI>
 

Dingo40

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And, not to forget Debra!!!<EMOJI seq="1f642">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI><EMOJI seq="1f44d">?</EMOJI>
 

TomBR

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Though I have to say, Accepted Norm seems to get lots of gigs all over the world!

Back on topic, I'm a bit worried about Finnish accordionists who stand in lakes with their accordions - don't fall over Maria K whatever you do!
 
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maugein96

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Of the 187,888 lakes in Finland, Maria K had to stand in that one. Maybe she felt it needed to be accepted.

Suomi translates into English as "Swamp Land", but I've never seen any Cajuns there.

As an Arctic warfare trained type we were taught to fear the Russian copy of the Finnish made Suomi KP/-31 sub machine gun during the Cold War. At 950 rpm vs our 750 rpm belt fed GPMGs, the only strategy was to place wire ski traps between birch trees below the snow cover in the hope that we would amputate the lower legs of the Russians before they got to use them on us. Even the fastest Norwegians could only manage about 254 notes per minute on their B system chromatics, so they were no use at all.

The Geneva Convention forbade the use of wire ski traps, so that meant that the Russians were allowed to use them but we couldn't. It was a shame that several of them would have been victims of their own forgetfulness had they injured themselves in their "own" traps.

It was the "accepted norm" that anything goes in the far flung extremes of anybody's conflict. The books were for burning to keep warm. We weren't supposed to drink 57 proof (114 US proof) Navy rum in the Arctic, but it was also the "accepted norm" that we would.

The largely conscripted Norwegians hated being posted to the Russian border, and said the Russians could have the Northern provinces of Norway for a bottle of vodka per man (they weren't kidding!). The Norwegians never trusted their own inhabitants to defend the desolated province of Finnmark against Russian invasion, so there was a large NATO military presence there. Biggest crime was to let the fire go out under the ski mounted water tanks if you were on night watch. Took me over an hour to change the anti collision light on a Wessex Commando transport helicopter one fine day in a blizzard, but Wood's navy rum can work wonders. What were Navy types doing in Arctic Norway? Sorry, that's top secret, the same as the definition of "accepted norm". The defence of Western Europe in the Arctic depended on the now defunct Fleet Air Arm (us), 45 Commando of the UK Royal Marines, 10th Netherlands Royal Marines, the (West) German Luftwaffe, and the Norwegian Army. Considering we all hated each other more than we did the Russians then it was fortunate that it was a "war" on paper only.

What has all that got to do with Finland? The Finnish border was often only yards to our east and south, and ran for hundreds of kilometres, but of course the military chiefs decided that any invasion was bound to come from the 195 km border Norway has with Russia. An invasion through Finland would be cheating and if that happened the "accepted norm" would have been seriously breached (and I wouldn't be typing this). Neither Sweden nor Finland were members of NATO, and the Finns even made their CBA accordions with the treble buttons arranged in different rows to confuse us. A lot of Finnish accordion music is naturally influenced by their Russian neighbours, especially in Karelia, where border changes took place in the 20th century, but regardless of where it originates from I appreciate the music and the dedication of the players, even if they are prone to playing them whilst standing in the lakes.
 

Tom

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Very interesting. Im definetly of the I like what I like and Im fine wtrh what you like school. John, I spent 25 years in transportation planning, including transit, and had the pleasure of touring one of the few bus manufacturing facilities in the US. Quite fascinating.

 

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maugein96

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Hi Tom,

Judging by the photo they still make buses in the US that are capable of holding their own in a collision. Our "Eurotrash" buses are made of material that crumples on the slightest impact. Those of us used to driving older heavier vehicles just couldn't believe how flimsy they got by the year. We had a tradition of two people operating the buses here, with the driver watching the road, and a conductor dealing with the passengers.

They eventually had to make all our buses one person operated to save costs, and people who sit in chairs all day comparing mathematical calculations decided that they could replace 12 of our standard buses with 8 bigger ones to save even more money. That mathematics just doesn't work in practice, and your passengers find alternative means of transport.

Free enterprise is a great thing, but it doesn't work in the UK transport industry.
 

Dingo40

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hais1273 post_id=65300 time=1545990953 user_id=1042 said:
I think that just about sums my feelings as well as long I like what I hear.

... In fact I would be wary of mentioning anything out of the accepted norms”...
[/quote

This reminds me of a week-long accordion-festival held in Adelaide many years ago.
The local accordion afficianados were much attached to musical genres ranging from the 1890s to the 1960s, nothing later, so when the invited overseas guest artists broke into atonal arrangements-including rattling the keys and rapping the cases- they got a very po-faced reception indeed !</QUOTE>
 

Dingo40

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maugein96 post_id=65396 time=1546376537 user_id=607 said:
.. We had a tradition of two people operating the buses here, with the driver watching the road, and a conductor dealing with the passengers.

They eventually had to make all our buses one person operated ..
Hi Maugein, we had exactly the same experience here in South Australia, with the result that bus drivers, daily, fall victim to attacks by assorted nut-cases. I imagine the overall cost of worker compensation claims and associated other expenses would more than negate any salary savings, but the powers that be are, clearly, not noted for common sense <EMOJI seq=1f604>?</EMOJI>!
 
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maugein96

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Hi Dingo,

Here in Scotland the accordion tradition has always tended to be centred around the local accordion styles, which have basically remained unchanged for generations. At a guess Finnish accordion music will probably be the same, and both countries have populations of around 5.5 million. To my ears the Finns have the better music, and probably more players per head of population than we have here.

If I lived in Finland I'd wager that I'd probably tire of all the national accordion music, the same way as I have with our own music, and after 30 odd years of crucifying French musette I sort of got tired with that as well.

In Europe there once was an indelible connection between the accordion and the romantic version of Paris, as it was portrayed in the movies. We also had a small selection of French based TV series, usually featuring cops and robbers or WW2 themes, with "plastic" French musette played by UK types as background music. That probably inspired me and many other UK types to want to play the music.

The Italian virtuoso and world champion accordionist, Mauro Carra, once played a selection of popular and light classical Italian music at a venue in the UK. I never heard the performance, and cannot now remember where that venue was, but he got rave reviews. Two people I knew in Scotland who had either been at the concert or watched a video of it, complained that he never played any tunes they knew, and they didn't like the sound of his accordion. Unfortunately that is pretty typical of how things are here. It would seem to be the case that in countries where there is no tradition of specific accordion music as such, then the older the music the better. A lot of younger players are doing their best to introduce the accordion to contemporary music, and some of them have achieved a fair degree of success. An equal, or even greater number, are working hard at resurrecting old music styles on the accordion, and if I was honest sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. The sense of nostalgia seems to be watered down with each upcoming generation.

My 20 year old granddaughter asked me recently to show her some tunes on the electric guitar. My renditions of 50s rockabilly and 60s surf never wowed her, so I played some "modern" blues type music. She never really went for that either. Honestly, there is no pleasing some people! Of all the popular music styles it would seem that only stuff like jazz has stood the test of time, and it doesn't really matter what instrument is used to play it. 50s and 60s music is for selective audiences only. Also, the gap in popularity between the accordion and the guitar has become noticeably wider during my lifetime.

To go back on topic? for a minute or two, when our buses were nationalised two person bus crews were never so much of an issue, but when the whole bus industry was privatised it was all about crushing the strong transport trade unions and the government washing its hands of all responsibility for providing public transport. The result was cost cutting major international companies whose only concern was their shareholders. The target passengers were those who could afford £1000 per annum season tickets to commute to and from work, as the cities became too congested to drive in and out of with horrendous parking charges. Those very passengers are the type who complain night and day, often with the backing of local politicians, and have cost the big companies millions in having to set up dedicated "customer service" departments.

Aggressive city cyclists "armed" with helmet cameras have created another industry of their own, with daily complaints and You Tube posts about bus drivers. Their biggest warcry is that they have priority on the road as a greener form of transport, but they'd be better off just lying in front of the buses and committing suicide that way. At busy times there can be a swarm of them all travelling as fast, or even faster, than the bus they have surrounded. All of the bus drivers I know only have two eyes and two mirrors (monocular vision bars you from holding a bus licence), so we cannot see them all at once. However, each and every one of them is only concerned with their own wellbeing, and the safety of the 80 odd passengers and driver on the bus are none of their concern. A colleague of mine was prosecuted for opening the bus door at a bus stop. A passenger alighted from the bus and was knocked into the air by a speeding cyclist who had come up the inside of the bus. At the location concerned double deck vehicles had to stay out a bit from the kerb to avoid colliding with the bus shelter due to the severe camber of the road, and the local cyclists took full advantage of that. Both passenger and cyclist were hospitalised and the bus company policy was to pay out compensation out of court, so both injured parties got a handsome payout. The driver was required to undergo a full day's extended driving assessment to ascertain if he was worth retaining or being shown the door. He also was fined in court for not taking care of his passenger, and eventually received a final written warning for two years. He resigned from the job after yet another near thing with a cyclist at the same location. He stopped and waited until he was as sure as he could be that there were no cyclists near him before opening the door. Just as the door opened a young cyclist came up the inside, but fortunately he was able to re-close the door before disaster struck yet again. Yes there are bad bus drivers, but in practice they tend not to last very long.

Most of the buses used in our big cities have security "bandit" screens to protect the drivers from being assaulted, and any driver foolish enough to become involved in face to face aggression with a passenger will be looking for a new job the next week.

Think I'll move to California. Everybody seems to love life there (except two of my cousins who are hoping to move from there to Texas shortly!) .
 

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