Squeeze Box Stories: A Documentary About Accordions in America

5:30 pm on Thursday, February 21, 2013
7:00 pm on Thursday, February 21, 2013
Despite its stigmatized reputation as the “quirky” and “corny” musical instrument in the US, the accordion is ubiquitous throughout the world – from Zimbabwe to Lebanon, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, China, Brazil, Mexico, Western and Eastern Europe, and throughout the United States. To discover what is behind the surprisingly wide appeal of this instrument, Marié Abe co-produced the NPR radio documentary “Squeezebox Stories,” (audio available at http://www.squeezeboxstories.com) exploring the social history, multicultural adaptation, and musical variations of the accordion in California. The accordion is more than a sounding object; it’s a repository of memory, meeting place for immigrants, instrument of assimilation and upward mobility, and site of what Kathleen Stewart calls the politics of the emergent. In this talk, Abe will invite us to “think through the musical instrument” about distinct transcultural processes in the lives of immigrant communities in the United States, and what it means to explore the social life of a musical instrument. Free and open to the public. Refreshments and reception will follow. Sponsored by the BU Center for the Humanities.