Annie Proulx’s novel Accordion Crimes (1996) can be read as a chronicle of the history of the United States, told from the perspective of a small green Italian accordion. The instrument always changes hands and thus ends up in a different immigrant community each time. Thus, the reader is introduced to different music styles, such as the French musette, Irish jigs and reels, German waltzes, Polish polkas and the Creole zydeco.
Also fascinating is the road movie Los viajes del viento (2009), in which a tormented widower traverses Colombia to return his bag to the original owner, his teacher. The master musician is accompanied by a young admirer who wants nothing more than to learn how to play the legendary instrument, which is said to have belonged to the devil.
Closer to home, John Appel’s documentary Johnny Meijer (1993) is certainly also very worthwhile. The Jordanian Johnny Meijer (1912-1992) – who also played in the Concertgebouw shortly before his death – excelled not only in interpreting Amsterdam tormentors. His virtuoso accordion playing in Eastern European folk music, classical music, swing and jazz is also inimitable.