I used to think the accordion was a horrible instrument. An ugly, kitschy sound and a repertoire to match, from commercial tripe and oompah to waltzes for the elderly and circus drollery. In short, music to be given a wide berth. But developments never cease, and you suddenly notice that your opinion has changed. After years and years of studying music, mind you. Your taste buds change. It’s just like with buttermilk, olives and tomatoes. As a child you hated them, and now you find you enjoy the taste. After thorough education at the dinner table, by the way. Trying a little bit, time and again.
Incidentally, there are plenty of listeners who feel that mine is a horrible instrument. Loud, shrill, ugly, militaristic. Think of the Brouwer Brothers, Willy Schobben, Marty and all those other guys with their Golden Trumpets, playing Il Silencio and O mein Papa. I used to like that, but not anymore. Yes, taste remains a complex business.
Back to the accordion. During one of my musical wanderings I wound up in the Belgian town of Rijkevorsel. After a concert there I was having a pint at the bar, and in this lovely Belgian atmosphere the accordion question reared its head again. Was there no accordion player to be found in Belgium that would suit me? ‘But certainly’, the response was, ‘you want our Tuur, then!’ An album of his was put on forthwith, and the wonderful improvisations by Tuur Florizoone enchanted me on the spot. An appointment with Tuur was quickly made. One phone call, and it was like meeting my brother. This was the beginning of a new duo, that by now can look back on a long series of successful concerts.
There’s another instrument I’m completely in love with – the cello. A sensual instrument, that can take over the task of a bass, but remains light and svelte. A bowed melody on the cello sounds gorgeous, like on a heavier viola, but still agile and pert. And now I’m not only a fan of the instrument, but also of some one who plays it magnificently. He knows his classics, plucks like a jazz virtuoso, bows like a prince, and doesn’t shy away from electronics either. He’s from our neighboring country Germany, and his name is Jörg Brinkmann.