It’s said that every year, around this time, young accordion virtuosi emerge from their practice spaces, like bears appearing from their hibernation caves at the first sign of spring, to throw their hats into the ring for a chance to be crowned king/queen of the Big Squeeze Accordion Contest. The history of accordion music is strong in Texas, it was originally brought to the region by German immigrants in the 1800s (aka 19th century Polka fanatics), but accordion quickly became an important part of the music of the border culture via Mexican immigrant laborers brought in to build railroads in Texas. It then made it’s way east and blended with the french inflected music of the bayous of Louisiana to create Zydeco, and thus the accordion trifecta of Texas was born: Polka, Conjunto, and Cajun/Zydeco, all of which are represented in the Big Squeeze Contest, which takes place on Saturday, April 22nd, at the Bob Bullock Museum’s Lone Star Plaza from 1-5pm. Accordionist Josh Baca and Guitarist Esteban Jordan III stopped by Studio 1A to get us in the mood and teach us a little bit about this historic instrument.
– James Parker