So This Accordion Walks Into a Bar

Kelly Lynn Staff Image

Julie is the Library Services Manager for the Music, Film & Audio department at the Main Library. She still believes we’re all doing the best we can.

Wait! This is no joke!

Traditionally the subject of knee-slappers and groaners, the accordion has recently
muscled up. Nobody kicks sand in the face of the corrugated bellower anymore.
The jokes are over, the music is flowing.

Much of the credit for today’s legitimacy of the accordion is due to the musical
deeds of Western Pennsylvania native Guy Klucevsek. At age five, Klucevsek
(pronounced Kloo-SEV-ek) watched an accordion performance on television and
said to his dad, “I want one of those.” Soon, his parents bought him a Hohner. It
was love at first squeeze, and six decades later, Klucevsek has never let go.

Photo of Guy Klucevsek
Guy Klucevsek, © 2012, Christope Goussard

 

Whatever can sonically be done with an accordion, Klucevsek has done it: from
traditional polkas to performing the repertoire of classical accordion music; from
collaborations with dancers to playing for film scores; from improvising with John
Zorn’s band, Cobra, to forming Accordion Tribe, his own quintet of players from
five different national traditions; from creating music for the audio-book version of
Annie Proulx’s novel, Accordion Crimes, to appearing as a guest on Mister Rogers’
Neighborhood. And then there is Guy Klucevsek as composer.

In his own sonic creations, Klucevsek has a fondness for five stomps to the
measure. Serious lightness flutters through much of Klucevsek’s compositions. He
plays phrases and licks with disciplined intensity and joy-making abandon. When
he is finished playing a piece, you know that he really meant it. His style is his own,
but hearing his music makes you wonder if you are experiencing a coming together
of many times and traditions of accordion play. In an age of amplified everything,
the sheer power (loud power, quiet power) of Klucevsek’s playing creates visceral
giddiness.

The Indiana University of Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh graduate, who
has lived for much of his adult life on Staten Island, New York, is returning to the
Western PA environs of his youth for a concert as part of Carnegie
Library’s SOUNDS UPSTAIRS series on Saturday, June 4, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Oakland’s
Main library second floor International Poetry Room will become Free-reed
Cathedral, awash with the sounds of Klucevsek’s vertical keyboard music.

Don’t you dare miss this exceptional opportunity to hear a master of the accordion
in an intimate acoustic setting!

-Julie

Listen to the Sounds Upstairs

Put Guy Klucevsek on your calendar!