With the exception of those played by Weird Al, accordions are as reviled in America as they are loved just about everywhere else. But all summer, Bryant Park has been squeezing and pumping America towards acceptance, with a series of picnics and concerts featuring accordions from around the world. As the programming for this, the final week, attests, the world loves the accordion, and they’re not (all) playing polka. Latin America’s love of the accordion is fairly well known, but this year, for the first time, an African country has joined the ranks of the represented.
From Cape Verde (although now based in Rhode Island) comes the João Cirilo Pilom Batuko Band, brings their unique flavors of funaná and batuko music to Bryant Park Fri., Sept. 14. They’ll be playing with the Mexican norteno band Rimel, along with Shashmaqam, who play Bukharan Jewish music, indie rocker Shilpa Ray and the tarantella superstars (such as exist): Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino.
If you just can’t wait for your accordion fix--first off, who are you?—there’s an accordion picnic on Wed., Sept. 12 starting at 5:30 pm, which features Sadys Rodrigo Espitia playing Colombian cumbia and vallenato and Vitor Gonçalves playing Brazilian choro and forro, and a bunch of other artists playing outside of our wheelhouse.
Opportunities for free outdoor music are dwindling this year but we’ve still got two weeks of summer technically left. It’s time you saw some accordions.