This is a short preview trailer. You can watch the entire film at no charge on the Folkstreams website. Folkstreams is a nonprofit whose mission is to find, preserve, contextualize, and stream documentary films on American folklife.
Accordions Rising offers entertaining interviews, anecdotal commentary, and both formal and informal musical performances by celebrated accordionists, composers, and bands active in America. The musicians and other participants in this film make up a colorful and thoughtful cast of characters who drive the story by tracing their uniquely personal attractions to the accordion and sharing their surprisingly divergent paths. They come from immigrant roots, Creole or Roma beginnings, for example, to a recognition of the very special niche of this so-called “low art” form. It provides inspirations in jazz, classical, new music, pop, fusion forms, operatic styles, and beyond. The film provides a tapestry of fascinating individuals, their deep passions, and above of all else, their profound dedication to the instrument.
Though a rebellious lot, these music makers have an audience in some of the hippest hideaways and most sought-after mainstream venues. The film makes clear that the “accordion world” is actually a curious continuum that includes everything from the traditional to the wacky and kitsch to sophisticated, serious, meditative, and postmodern. As Dr. William Schimmel points out, “the accordion is the icon of the 21st century.” Performing in the film are more than two dozen musicians, including Bruce Sunpie Barnes, Lou Fanucchi, Fred Ferino, Rachelle Garniez, Kepa Junkera, Guy Klucevisek, Pauline Oliveros, Stephen Pellegrino, Frank Petrilli, Nicole Renaud, William Schimmel, Peter Stan, and Rachel Swaner.