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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Accordionists!

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 Hello everyone!

So I was looking for an accordionist to play at The Ruby Notebook release party (Oct 2, Old Firehouse Books, 7 pm-- come one, come all!). and I did some googling, and discovered this:


To my absolute delight, they're based here in my hometown of Fort Collins!  And to my further delight, I discovered (after a phone call), that I've actually met the founder of the group before at a reading conference! Cheri put me in contact with some talented accordionists, and I'm hoping that one of them will come and play.  The mission of the group is to "improve the image of the accordionist," who is often portrayed as geeky in popular media.  I'm proud to say that Jean-Claude, the accordionist in The Ruby Notebook, is faaaaar from geeky.... in fact, he's sizzlin hot (there's romantic tension between him and Zeeta, as you shall see... which makes things tricky with Wendell... but that's all I'll say for now!)  I hope that the Closet Accordion Players of America are pleased that my representation of Jean-Claude breaks the accordionist stereotype!


I actually met a number of hip young accordionists in Aix-en-Provence as I was *researching* (hehehe... love using that official word) The Ruby Notebook.  In fact, I met hip young street performers playing all kinds of interesting instruments...


Some of the main characters in Ruby are street performers, much like the ones in these pics (in my book there's a Romanian dancer and a tuba player...)


I took these pics in the Place de l'Hotel de Ville,  where much of Ruby is set... it's beautiful-- cafes and street performers and dappled light from the huge plane trees. Notice the accordionist below watching the other musicians... such camaraderie...


There was a nice older gentleman from Romania who was always out and about playing his accordion, but I didn't get his picture, and unfortunately, our communication was mostly limited to smiles since I don't speak Romanian. But I have nice memories of him...


Clarinet, how cool!  And I'd always just associated it with high school wind ensembles... And check out the cello, or is that a bass? I get them mixed up-- I love that these street musicians tote their enormous instruments all around town... cello, bass, tuba, drums...


... and even a harp! I loved watching this young woman's fingers flutter and fly across the strings... so graceful, and the melodies so heavenly and magical...


After a month in Aix-en-Provence (two summers ago), when I came back to Fort Collins, I noticed how differently people reacted to street performers here.  In Aix, crowds would gather, clap their hands, kids would dance, coins would fly into hats and instrument cases-- everyone was so appreciative of street performers.  But here in Ft Collins (and, I would venture to guess, in many or most parts of the U.S.), people try to avoid eye contact with street performers, as though they're bums scrounging for money, ready to harass you.  I rarely see crowds gather here, and it's sad because street performers add so much life and spontaneity to a town!  So now I usually stop and appreciate them, dance and clap a little with my Lil Dude, toss in some coins, and thank them. (It's funny-- my mom got into the street performers too, and at one point in Aix, she noted how Lil Dude (then 16 months old) was mesmerized by the music, and said proudly, "Oh, maybe he'll be a street performer when he grows up!"  (Forget being a doctor or lawyer-- street music is the way to grammy's heart.)


I think this is an actual photo of Aix-en-Provence that the designer used in the cover.  She just photo-
shopped in extra red flowers... c'est super-cool, n'est-ce pas?  And that's the dress I want to wear at my release party... if you've seen one like it anywhere, let me know...

I'll keep you updated on my accordionist quest!  And if you're in Ft Collins, mark your calendars for October 2.  Thanks for reading!

xo
Laura