Category Archives: Music

The Chancers live at Hansa 48

What a night! The Chancers from Kiel played a reunion show to help celebrate the cultural center Hansa 48 in Kiel. Bringing one hour of our favorite arrangements back on stage felt unreal and I am still surprised that my fingers remembered all the arrangements.

The Chancers in full flight at the 2019 reunion gig in Kiel: The Mouth of the Tobique.

Thanks to the good folks at Hansa 48, my band mates from The Chancers and everybody who came out to see us play. I really had a blast and I hope it won’t take us another 5 years until the next show…

Popular melodeon tunings

What would be the most popular melodeon tuning? Probably D/G, C/F or maybe G/C, depending on whether you ask in the UK, the Netherlands or France.

So which one should you pick?

Well, if your intention is to play in a session (or a band), then you should consider sticking to the popular melodeon tunings used in the particular style of music you want to play. Otherwise you won’t be able to join in any jam sessions. After all, there’s usually good reason those melodeon tunings are so popular. For example, fiddle players like to play in the keys of D and G (and related). Not only does it sound better – due to open strings that can resonate or be used for double stops – it’s also much easier to play in those keys.

If, however, you enjoy a lone tune by the fireside every now and then (as I myself do), or you want to accompany your singing, then it’s worthwhile to revisit some different tunings, like Eb/Bb:

Take for example the D/G melodeon, you might not have noticed, but it is actually tuned very high in pitch. In fact, among the commonly available melodeon tunings, D/G is the highest one:

G/C < A/D < Bb/Eb < C/F < D/G
(lower < higher)

If you prefer a more mellow, low accordion sound, then you should take a look at the other end of the scale, starting from G/C. As for the singing, let’s say you own a G/C accordion and you find it hard to sing along. It’s just a bit too low for your voice. One remedy could be to play the same tune on an A/D accordion instead. The melody will sound one note higher and will hopefully match your voice now.

So what do I prefer? My own favorite melodeon tuning is located in the golden middle. I have re-discovered this sound ever since I heard Ollie King play so wonderfully on his clubbed Erika in Bb/Eb,

The Chancers – Unpaused at Hansa48!

The good ol’ Hansa48 in Kiel, Germany is hosting their 100st “Kneipenkonzert” (Pub-concert) and The Chancers are reuniting to join the festivities!

Nils, Verena, Bernd, Thomas & myself are ready to play all our greatest hits for you in a one hour show. Our concert starts at 10pm, 13th Friday, 2019 at Hansa48.

A blast from the past: The Chancers @ Hansa48 in 2014.

Contact us if you have questions about our concert in Kiel.

Tip: Dén Díobháil by Nuadán

While we are in the final stage of completing the next restored melodeon, we have a hot tip for all those of you who can never get enough traditional Irish music: Nuadán is an exciting young band from the Gaeltacht area in the County Waterford (Déise).

These guys were brought up with traditional music and that can be heard. A lovely selection of tunes and songs played on fiddle, flute, box and bouzouki. What strikes me most is the wonderful arrangements and the lilting pace. It’s almost like the instruments are singing the tunes. While the band is harmonizing perfectly, the box playing of Cárthach deserves to be highlighted. This is an accordion site after all. Well done, gents!

Tip: Check out the brilliant lift created when going into the final polka on track #2.

I will definitely have my eyes and ears open for what future traditional Irish music Nuadán will play.

Tip: Ollie King’s Fantastic English Melodeon Records

Lately I find myself enjoying more and more English folk music, especially English melodeon music. If you do too, then you should really check out Ollie King’s superb two solo recordings.

I have just discovered them myself and wish I had done so earlier. This is hands down some of the best melodeon playing I came across so far. Beautiful tunes in the most skilled, yet tasteful arrangements.

Did you notice something unusual about the sound of the box? Ollie gives it away in the description of one of his videos:

Finally, I’ll finish with one of my favourite tunes played on my favourite melodeon. I learnt this in sessions with Anahata back in my native Cambridgeshire many years ago. A wonderful, bouncy tune that sounds especially lovely in Eb. Played on an original clubbed Hohner Erika in Bb/Eb.

Ollie

That’s why!
Here you can see and hear the box in action:

More about Ollie King’s English melodeon music can be found on his website. His highly recommended records are available online here.

Hint…we have Bb/Eb reeds and vintage wooden Erikas in stock as well. Contact us if you interested in such an instrument.

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For Sale: Paolo Soprani Elite II B/C

If you are digging the old Paolo sound as much as we do, then this box might well tempt you: We are selling a 4-voice (LMMM) B/C tuned red Paolo Soprani Elite II at an affordable price. The instrument shows some age related wear and tear on the backside but is in excellent playing condition.

The accordion was most likely made between 1980-90. It comes with 9-treble couplers that allow for an M, MM, MMM, LM, LMMM sound. Four couplers are dublicate. The bass coupler takes out the lower bass and thirds. The instrument is tuned to a nice Paolo style tremolo.

Hear it played!

It comes with a suitable hard case and two shoulder straps. This is a private sale out of our personal collection and trade-in offers are welcome.

Price: Sold.

Contact us for more details about the red Paolo Soprani Elite II in B/C.

For Sale: Weltmeister C/F (516)

We just finished servicing a lovely wooden Weltmeister 516 melodeon in C/F, made in Germany. The melodeon was bought in 2007 and has hardly ever been played. Apart from some very minor scratches below the keyboard, the instrument is in excellent condition. It is well in tune with a medium wet tremolo that sounds full and warm. However, in case you prefer a dry tremolo, we will re-tune the melodeon for a small additional fee.

weltmeister 516 melodeon in C/F

The fifth button of the inside row has been switched. In Dutch this is called “gedraaide 5de toets” and a common (and handy!) Dutch modification. If needed, this can be reversed without any additional cost.

The instrument feels new and plays very easy. Therefore this quality melodeon is an ideal beginners instrument that is easy to handle and easy to make sound good:

The melodeon comes with a set of two nice shoulder straps and custom fit solid case as well as our 1-year workshop warranty.

Price: 726 EUR (including 21% VAT, excluding Shipping)

Drop us a note if you are interested in this lovely Weltmeister 516 melodeon in C/F.

Custom restoration of a 1950ies Hohner Erika

I just finished the restoration of an old Hohner Erika with a lovely wooden keyboard. Judged by the characteristic recessed grille, black bellows and black wooden keyboard, this is one of the first Erika accordions made by Hohner in the mid-fifties. One of the first in this incredibly successful button accordion series. Certainly this is one of the oldest Erika boxes I have seen so far. Above all, it sounds nice too!

Here is a sound sample of the converted accordion.

Drop me a note if you would like to have a custom made accordion too.

Top 5 Best Irish Accordion Albums

We all have a soft spot for top lists and to my surprise I couldn’t find a ” Top 5 Best Irish accordion albums ” online, so here it is: My favorite accordion albums of all time.

My personal taste in accordion sounds tends towards more tremolo and slower more old-school kind of playing. However, this has not always been the case, so later on I will follow up with my favorite non-old-school button box records. If you have some nice suggestions feel free to drop me a note.

I think its very important to support the artist by buying their music. Therefore I have attached links below to where you can buy this music. Some of the artists can also be found on streaming sites, others don’t.

The amazon links below are affiliate links, if you choose to use those, you support me and this site.

#5 Notes from the Heart – The Mulcahy Family

Mick, Michelle and Louise Mulcahy have recorded this fantastic and much praised album in 2008 and I lost count how many times I have heard it since. Such a lovely flow.

Tip: check out the set that starts with – The Leitrim Lilter –

#4 Up and Coming – Oisin & Conal Hernon

A cool Banjo/Box album by Oisin and Conal Hernon – this one deserves much more attention than it currently gets. The two have recorded multiple albums together but this is the only old-school sounding one as far as I know.

Tip: check out Micky Quinn’s.

#3 Martin Quinn & Angelina Carberry

Really tight Banjo/Box playing by two masters! The tunes are quite interesting non-standard tunes or at least I have not heard them played so often. The opening set – McCarthy’s and McGann’s – is a firm favorite of the Amsterdam Session’s two box players.

#2 In Retrospect – Danny O’Mahony

Danny O’Mahony’s fantastic first solo record. In my opinion one the best if not *the* best box album ever made. Created by an exceptional artist. I have not found any place where one can buy the digital album online, but it’s possible to order an actual CD (that’s also what I did).

For example from Claddagh Records.

…and here comes the number 1:

#1 The Kitchen Recordings – Sean O’Driscoll & Larry Egan

Hands down the best Banjo/Box album. Love the sound and playing of Larry Egan, the selection of tunes and the laid back feel this record has. Have they or maybe Larry Egan made any other recordings? I’m only aware of this one and I would love to hear more!

Tip: The Cuil Aodha/Nettles in the Soup

I hope you enjoyed my Top 5 Best Irish button accordion albums! If your favourite album is missing or you have some nice suggestions feel free to drop me a note.

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Weltmeister in A/D (“gedraaide 5de Toets”)

A very pretty Weltmeister button accordion for sale in A/D, freshly tuned and serviced – ready to play. The accordion sounds very mellow and quiet because A/D is much lower sounding in pitch than C/F. This is a perfect instrument for a beginner or someone with sensitive neighbors.

A Swedish waltz played on the Weltmeister A/D

The bellows are as new, the keyboard plays smooth and quiet and the instrument is light and easy to handle.

The accordion has the following features:

  • New tuning to medium flat tremolo (+8 ct on A)
  • Gedraaide 5de toets – push/pull of 5ths button on inside row is reversed. Note: I can remove this if needed.
  • Optional: Bass without thirds
  • Shoulder strap
  • Full 1-year workshop warranty
  • You can add a suitable hard case for an additional fee

Price: Sold.

Contact

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