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Rowan Lipkovits in Vancouver is doing 35 things including…

become synonymous with accordion use in Vancouver

7 cheers


Rowan Lipkovits has written 6 entries about this goal

It certainly is everyday now

The 2000 MySpace friends of the radio show blossomed to 5000, then we started collecting them on Facebook. The monthly circle moved to Spartacus, and got a website. My band was invited to play at the 20th annual installment of a prestigious accordion festival in California, and I singlehandedly pulled off programming 8 days of squeeze here in town for our 3rd annual Accordion Noir fest. Last month we celebrated the 4th anniversary of the weekly radio show ’s establishment, and every episode is (eventually) downloaded as a podcast thousands of times.

We have just organized as a society, and I have just organized as an accordion teacher. I don’t know if the instrument is experiencing a renaissance, but I certainly am experiencing a burst of its revival around myself!

Beyond preaching to the choir

A week ago I got a chance to discuss the monthly accordion night with Rick Cluff on the Early Edition, around 6 in the morning on the national radio service. This prestigious appearance didn’t have as big an impact on our group meeting that night as the craigslist posting did, but it certainly did demonstrate my rise in the ranks toward the natural media “go-to” contact for any and all stories with accordionic connections. While I’m hardly an expert, it seems I am at least becoming oriented in the direction of a spokesperson of sorts.

(The craigslist posting also yielded some BCIT journalism students who interviewed Bruce and I yesterday morning on film about our squeezebox fixations to pad their portfolios. Getting tight today with the reporters of tomorrow!)


As well as having achieved 2000 accordion friends on myspace, we launched the monthly accordion circle (7 pm, 2nd Tuesday of every month, at the Little Mountain Studios—195 E 26th at Main) to a room of mixed talents, a dozen individuals with a half-dozen instruments in hand. Half the room were just-got-accordion novices, but to counter them we had not only the Accords but two stately gents who first learned to squeeze box back in the 1930s! Between that, a Celticfest appearance and two improbable sightings at Vancouver’s meat market the Roxy, my profile is boosting.

Just now, while responding to an e-mail inquiry about the Vancouver accordion social (as referred through someone in Texas!), I was interrupted by a phone call by someone looking for accordion lessons. Having to put one kind of accordion business on hold to address another is a good sign that advancement in this goal is being made.

(9 hours of music up as podcasts on the Accordion Noir site... with at least that much waiting to be uploaded still.)

Accordion Noir podcasts up!

I don’t know how much this will boost my specifically local accordionic profile, but it looks like our late-night accordion radio show has successfully made the leap to podcast, with files available for download at And it’s awesome.

With clearer local applications, looks like I’ve found a place for the monthly squeezebox circle to occur… following some renovations and cleanup. Will keep you posted! (It’s a good way to distract how it’s been over a month and I didn’t get anything published 8)

Again, you win some, you lose some

Three weeks on the air now, with goals met ahead of schedule: for week one, an e-mail address; for week two, a myspace page (and semi-swank logo thrown in for free!); for week three, 100 myspace friends. The internet response has been overwhelming (looks like we have jumped on the precise moment in the zeitgeist for this thing) but due to a lack of a radio Nielson rating, all we have to gauge the success of the broadcast is middle-of-the-night phone calls to the station.

Next up, an inquiry into a more advantageous time slot (even from 2 am to midnight would be a massive leap in terms of local listenership); podcasting will it seems give us the international coup we’re jockeying into place for. Still… becoming synonymous with accordion use internationally is not the same as becoming synonymous with accordion use in Vancouver.

My pitch for community space use for the monthly accordion circle was turned down and I’m at some odds for a plan B. Networking with the established box squeezers in other countries is a gas, but where I think I can do the most good is telling the newbies which side is up and what the different switches do. (Building bridges between the two levels will be, uh, fantastically synergetic! however of the two levels, I think the micro is more essential than the macro. Hence this goal as opposed to “achieve international accordion superstardom.”)

It's an admittedly esoteric goal...

one that presumably can’t be shared by too many (though I will be a sport and cooperate with the competition, since I acknowledge that my idiosyncratic one-hand-dominant style is hardly a fair representation of the instrument’s full capabilities.)

I think I’m already well on my way there: nowhere will you find a man more tirelessly thrusting this instrument into the musical sanctums of Where It Is Not Expected, Yet Not Explicitly Forbidden. I’ve been to dozens of open mics that featured a dozen guys on guitars and me—and in such company how one plays is really secondary in establishing a strong, stand-out recollection. (It doesn’t hurt that some people seem to get off on my crate-diggings.)

You don’t have to come to one of my concerts, already a member of the choir, to catch me in action with the squeezebox; I bring it with me to all manner of unexpected public places and thrust it into new musical contexts. (There is nothing punk about Britney Spears, but there are few things more punk than playing Britney Spears on the accordion… at the Asbalt.)

En route I serve as an ambassador for the instrument for any passers-by who care to recount tales of their families’ expired traditions of its use. People ask me about repairs and lessons.

Circumstances are buoying me along in an effort to take it to the next level – from punchline back to instrument. Rime may have inadvertently kneecapped my attempts to meet Shayne Koyczan’s challenge of the Accordion Slam, but 22 hours from now we hit the air with the first episode of a weekly accordion show on CO-OP radio – perhaps with a podcast doppelganger. Inquiries have been made for a live alter-ego for it to dovetail with, a monthly accordion social circle in the spirit of Ralph Shaw’s improbably successful Ukulele gatherings.

I was going to make some lewd double entendre about sucking and blowing here, but it’s just not coming together… perhaps because it genuinely isn’t a good fit in the face of such bold optimism.

Rowan Lipkovits has gotten 7 cheers on this goal.


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