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Nice to hear you, Jimmy Giordanengo!

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maugein96

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Another one for French musette fans. I think there are one or two others besides myself!

You Tube has proved an invaluable source of listening material. From time to time I come across players Id never previously heard of. A few years ago I discovered a fair number of videos featuring this chap, Jimmy Giordanengo, a retired professional player from Nice. Dont know if hes still squeezing the bellows, as hell be 86, if hes still on the go.

Im not absolutely sure whether Jimmy was born in Italy or France, but his family were Piemontese farmers from the mountain area just across the border from Nice. They were attracted to Nice by the prospects of better wages, and Jimmy became a professional player whilst he was still a teenager. Like many players who began to play in the 30s his first instrument was a diatonic box, but he later progressed onto chromatic. He was much influenced by swing and jazz, and that influence is apparent in this clip of him playing Axel Valse. Unfortunately I dont know the name of the composer, and, whilst the tune is not all that complicated, there is some fairly difficult chord work in parts of it.

JImmy seems to have hosted some friendly jam sessions in what I take to be a room in his home. Sometimes he plays with other accordionists, although this is a solo recording. I love the sound of his Cavagnolo, which is a digital model. Note that he plays it using only the right hand strap. That instrument seems ideal for home playing and I wish I had one!

 

Glenn

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Nice find Maugein. Indeed a lively sound and great chord work. Not sure why he plays with one strap though.
 
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maugein96

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Hi Glenn,

I've seen a few players use the right hand strap only, even when playing full sized instruments. It seems to be a popular thing in France amongst players who only play seated, although I think it is more associated with diatonic players, which Jimmy was originally. I've never tried it and don't know what advantages it has. Obviously some (most) will condemn it as not giving sufficient bellows and/or bass side control etc, but I don't suppose those who play with one strap really care.

The Italian virtuoso Wolmer Beltrami often played seated with no shoulder straps at all, and the instrument resting on a cloth on his knees. Again, I have seen other players do precisely that without knowing why they did it.

One or two players like Fredo Gardoni, Jean Segurel, and Jo Privat played with the right shoulder strap almost down across their bicep, and I think that may have had something to do with the sheer weight of the old fashioned instruments. All three of them played standing in their younger days.

There are one or two French accordion forums where the answers to those questions might be found, but my French never progressed much beyond the schoolboy stage, and if you use Google Translate you might as well write to them in Greek!

Jimmy is a nice player, although he has a somewhat awkward style with his right hand. Maybe a legacy from his diatonic days, who knows.
 

Morne

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Going slightly off-topic from the performer: Some Russian garmon (diatonic sized) and bayan (chromatic sized) players also use only the right strap. The bayan players Ive seen doing that play the simpler 2-voice instruments - not big cassotto converters.

There is an online Russian review of the way various bayan study books indicated proper posture and how to wear the instrument:
Translated link

It seems older methods preferred using only the right shoulder strap:
Of interest herein are 5 and 6 points. The right belt is worn on the shoulder. Left strap serves as a support for the left hand .... It turns out that the shoulder strap is used only one. This you see in paragraph 6 ... Three points of support: The right and left leg and shoulder to put on the belt.. Confirmation of this text is in Figure 2, taken from the above tutorial.. Indeed, one shoulder strap used in the old bayan school, but we note that the year of issue of the collection in 1977, and at this time have all played with two shoulder straps. It can be concluded that the planting theme author probably took away from old-style self-help, it follows that the matter is not particularly important for the author.

And a reason for why they preferred that:
Undoubtedly, landing in the school described perfectly, but in the future narrative of the author, we see again one shoulder strap (Fig 6). A.Onegin puts it this way: ... the two straps create a more stable position of the instrument. But along with this, attach the tool to the chest two straps over brings him, and causes stiffness plays, restrict the freedom of movement of his arms and limits the mobility of the tool in the hands. Therefore, students of music school is not recommended for two shoulder belt. It is permissible only for mature performers. [14: C.8]
 

landro

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He is heavily leaning to the old side of age , and he might have removed the strap for a specific health related reason such as a bad shoulder ?
Regardless, it`s nice to see the old timer still playing and playing quite well at that! He shows there`s hope for me at 74yrs.
Thanks for posting
 
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maugein96

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You Tube is a fascinating source of information for all musicians (and those of us who wish we were musicians), and it never ceases to amaze me what turns up, accordion wise.

The mention of Russian Bayans with two voices was very interesting. I knew an old pro CBA player in Scotland who had a French model Fratelli Crosio retuned to sound like a Russian bayan, which was his secondary musical interest, the first being French musette. I remember thinking it was sacrilege, as Fratelli Crosio CBAs to French spec were very rare in Scotland, and still are.

I reckon Ill have a go at the right strap only technique on my little Hohner Nova. The straps on it werent made for those of us who also show some appreciation for the craft of the brewer, and if I can manage with one it might be a more comfortable option. That little Cavagnolo Jimmy is playing should weigh just under 7kg, same as the Nova.

Best option Ive seen yet is the Italian Supporto per fisarmonica. No straps at all, although you still need the fingers of both hands to play. Pity that!

Here is Lucien Marchand, réparateur daccordéon, another one strap wonder. Youll see him play towards the end of the clip, and notice that he closes the window before he starts playing!

UK readers will know what I mean if I say he is the Fred Dibnah of the accordion!

 

Glenn

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Great video of a fantastic character. Loved to see the concentration on his face as he played .
 

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