A Report From The 3rd Annual Scandinavian Squeeze-In
April 23-25, 2002
By Joachim Delp Bock (Langor@teleline.es)
Suffering a progressive Concertinitis or Concertina Fever (or madness,
as my wife says,) I looked hard for some "reasonable reason" to
undertake the long journey from North of Spain to the South of Sweden
(all about 5,000 kms) and I found that I had to travel to the North of
Germany for Business Purposes. Luckily I arrived to
Dalby, where a Concertina Meeting was going on.
There I found, that the illness called Concertinitis already has spread
out. I met there other persons, suffering as me or even worse. I found
that it is an enjoyable illness, worth to be spread out further more,
so I at least will not take any precautions or behave specially
hygienically. So, after playing my Concertina, I shall not wash my
hands before shaking hands with somebody, who is still isn't a Concertina
About all the people arrived during the day of Friday 23rd of April, most of them with some kind of Concertina Face, all of them with their boxes or
other musical instruments. They came from Denmark, England,
Switzerland, Germany or Spain. In all, we arrived to meet there about 20
I have been told that the first year, 2000, there met about 7-8
persons. I understand that the organizer took a spontanous,
quick decision and had not really time to advertise.
The second year, the meeting was attended by about 16 persons.
This year about 14 people returned, and 6 people arrived for the
first time. I have spoken with practically all of them and got the impression that all of them will return in the coming year if they have the chance to do so.
The people who came for the first time to this Squeeze-in have gone away happy and delighted, impressed by the following facts:
- In spite of a certain "informality" of this event, it is time well-spent.
Some of us (me certainly) profited in more than one way.
- Easyness of contacts and cordiality.
- Generosity which was expressed in many ways, for example:
Time and effort spent by the organizers Louise, Pontus and Jim.
Allowance to touch and play practically all the instruments present,
among them several top category instruments.
- Number and quality of the instruments. There were to be seen and
heard: English, Anglo, two Crane Duets made by
Wheatstone, Jeffries, Connor, Norman, Morse (ButtonBox) and one Stagi
upgraded by Bob Tedrow.
But there were played also other squeezeboxes such as harmonicas, as well as
flutes, violins, bones, bagpipes and even a bodhran and many
- Passion and dedication of practically all the players.
I think it is worthwhile to comment: There were more English
Concertinas than Anglo, but most of the English ones were used for Irish
Music, in a way that I got the impression that those who say to an
English Player who performs well the Irish Music "you've got the right music but the wrong instrument" might be confused.
Styles of Music performed :
- Swedish Polskas
- Songs accompanied by Crane Duets
- Russian Songs
Although things developed easily, without too much formality or
excessive discipline, we managed to realize the following activities:
- Advice to Beginners
- Music Arrangement
- Instruction about how to accompany Songs
- Learning dance Swedish Polska
- Friday evening jam session in a local Pub
- Saturday a concert in our place, being visited by some (few) locals
- Sunday a Concert at Dinner Time
These activities are all in addition to the continuous playing, interchange of experiences, and trying different instruments.
There were no more real Beginner, than me, although "Dr. Francis" said
to be playing only about three weeks. This man was a surprise since he
played as if he would been working on the instrument for at least a
year, but more likely two.
So I received full dedication by Samantha, advising me about some more
repeated keys on my instrument (drawing-pushing) and as a consequence
about different fingerings and the possibility of a more appropriate
phrasing. She was able to calm my nerves and transmit confidence, so it came that we were even singing together with great pleasure, one of my Basque
songs. I had not song for years.
Also we spoke about the importance of timing. THANK YOU, Samantha! I could not have found a better teacher!
Jam Session: Great Success! Imagine we have been spent a barrel of
Beer by the Pub's owner, in Sweden!
A unforgettable experience listening and observing good players
performing many different styles of music, and the spontaneous joining-in of
more instruments, violins, flutes, other squeezeboxes, and voices!!!
I am not sure if I should make the following comment about players and
their music, since I found that practically all of them are good and
worth to be mentionned. Also I am not a qualified music critic.
But I enjoyed so much several performances, I hope I am alowed to speak
about them. Consider that this comment corresponds to my personal tastes and
I enjoyed especially:
- Denny, playing on a Tenor English, more or less Classical style,
fine, delicate music, performed in an exgtremely precise way and a high
level of playing technique and great skill.
I liked the music he made and he is a very fine person too.
- Erwin. As Entertainer, performing on his beautiful Wheatstone English,
pleasant music like as: La vie en rose, Bye Bye Blues, and similar
with an excellent bellows control, changing from Legato to Staccato in
the right places, as well from mezzo-forte, forte to piano and
pianissimo. Attractive Rhythmic Chords.
Keep working Erwin -- I am sure you transmit good feelings to many
people. Also to you thanks for your advice about the
important points, when learning a new instrument. Beginners frequently
don't like this kind of advice, due to their lack of pactience. When
they succeed to play some notes, some melody, they tend to go to the
next one. Some of Erwin's advice for beginners:
- Listen the music you would like to play as frequently as possible
- Listen as often as possible to other players
- Control each note, going step by step through the piece of music, before speeding up
- Learn to count correctly the notes
- Use a metronome
- Put accents on the right notes, depending if the piece is a March, or Waltz, etc.
- Work on only one piece at one time, concentrate, not trying to extend your repertoire, before mastering your chosen piece correctly.
I understand he is right and it is easy to understand, that the time
spent and effort done in the beginning in a correct way, will make
you progress quite quicker and you will enjoy the piece
you have mastered, and others will enjoy it, which will be even more motivating.
Also it is important to dedicate some time to learning musical theory.
More personal highlights:
- James and Charlotte -- both fine, witty singers, playing the Crane Duet.
Charlotte: I did not catch it, still I am wondering, "what has been
doing Robinson Crusoe with Friday on a Saturday's night?"
- Jim, playing so many different instruments and singing Seaman's songs
and together with Samantha and Erwin, beautiful Russian songs.
Jim, thanks for listening to all my questions, for
allowing me play the beautiful Anglo Ceili, produced by
Button Box. Thanks also for bringing all
this interesting books, tutors, and old editions of concertina Magazines.
- Jirdy, playing a Castagnari button box and performing excellent
percussion and singing popular songs full of humour. It is worthwhile to note also his use of the bones.
- One man, coming from Sweden or Denmark (I do not remember his
name) performed with a red accordion and on the violin,
producing sweet tones, full of feeling and emotion.
- Jorgen, from Denmark, performing on an English, powerful Irish music,
and I have my reasons to think that he plays other interesting things such as Ragtime.
- Chris, singing and playing in a very interesting way using nice
bass lines and chords.
And last not least, most of the present instruments and
voices "singing" together in harmony. A Festival!!
This Saturday session ended late, early in the morning -- for some of us
between 3:00 and 5:00 AM in the morning.
Sunday Concert in the Restaurant:
Nice but somehow I got the impression that most of us felt quite tired
and sleepy after the long night before.
Nevertheless, it was pleasure again for us ourselves and hopefully for
our limited public.
Outside of the Restaurant had been placed a big advertisement: Concertina
playing on Sunday. I do not know for sure if this was the reason
that at least those few listeners had been present, or if this advertisement
made that the number of listeners was as reduced as it has been and
eventully the ones present did not know to read or had forgotten their
glasses at home! But seriously, I enjoyed especially the performance given by Denny and
Charlotte playing together, he on his Tenor English, and she on her
Crane Duet. Fine, very fine !!
Finally, our meeting came to an end. 'Bye' we said, but full of
hope to come back again and to do it still better. I am eager to
meet again some of the new friends I made.
It remains only to give thanks to Louise, Pontus and Jim for having
created this squeeze-in and for spending the time to organize this one,
which for sure will not be the last one. Thanks also to all participants, for tolerating the beginner and for
having brought with them good humour and good spirits.
Regards to all of you
P.S.: I am living in the Basque Country, North of Spain, where music is
also very interesting, nobody from the locals know the Concertina, I
hope to meet soon some Irish guys, living in Bilbao and San Sebastian
and play the Concertina.
The squeeze-box used at my home is the Trikitrixa, a special kind of
Melodeon. I would like to make meet both worlds.
Whoever comes for some reason to Spain, is invited to make a side-step to the Basque Country: I would try to be useful and make his stay
enjoyable. My e-mail address is : Langor@teleline.es