Accordion to legend
The accordion is music’s metaphor for confusion. It was adored by Tchaikovski and Charles Ives, as well as by John Mellencamp, Tom Waits, They Might Be Giants, Weird Al Yankovich and subway buskers worldwide. The accordion is the main instrument of folk music from valenato and cumbia in Colombia, to baião and forro in Brazil, sevdalinka in Bosnia, zydeco in Louisiana, tejano in Texas and Mexico, tango in Argentina and Viking metal in Scandinavia. Yet many Americans still think it begins and ends with Myron Floren and “The Lawrence Welk Show.” That’s a tough mental block to chip. Between two wildly successful books (“The Shipping News” and “Brokeback Mountain”), E. Annie Proulx wrote “Accordion Crimes.” That book traced a cursed accordion from 1890 Sicily through New Orleans, Texas, Maine, Minnesota and Prank, Iowa, to its end in 1886 Florida. Despite its epic scale, it was Proulx’s biggest flop.