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Monday, July 16, 2012

ROMA


I heard these two in the far distance... and the sound got louder and louder so I ran out from my apartment and chased after them. They played for me, and then we tried to chat, but they couldn't speak English, and I speak timid German.


This happened just a few days after arriving to Berlin, and then today I ran into them again. I was kind of grumpy when I ran into them, as I had my accordion in it's soft gig bag on my back - and was on my way to the U-Bahn station to take my Guerrini in for a repair - AGAIN.

I had a big issue with my bass switch, it wasn't clicking over to the deeper tone and instead was permanently a tenor. Not good. It was playable, but not ideal at all. It definitely happened during the flight from Canada to Germany, and I know I did everything possible to secure my accordion for travel, so I have a feeling this part was already loose and the movement through the flight and such finalized the problem.

Last week I took it into the Akkordeon Centrum Brusch shop, located in Stieglitz - Berlin. They did a great job, under a short amount of time, but it cost me 200 Euros. OUCH.

To my disappointment, through the repair a certain mechanical part on the bass side was making a C note play while I played other chords. Something was off inside, as it would play this note even as I pushed the bellows in and out. Sighhh...

So, I was walking down the street and saw these two fellows, and they were happy to see me again and I then cheered up as they played a song for me and after trying to explain what I was doing, where I was going... I simply pulled out my accordion and played a little bit for them. I perform Romanian/Serbian/Gypsy songs within my sets, and LOVE this style of music and these guys were pretty amazed that I was playing this style for them. They shouted the song names, and played along.

They could hear the problem with my accordion, and we half English/Romanian/German agreed it would all work out.

We said our 'goodbyes', and I went to the accordion shop and they were able to remedy my issue right away. Viele danke!!!


I've seen numerous accordion players, with other buskers (guitars, tambourines) since I've arrived. They roam around the cafes, and the energy in the air shifts as they approach the tables. They seem to become a nuisance. This is what I'm observing anyways. Their sound is projecting into intimate conversations and people cannot hear each other anymore, and the public lean into each other a little closer, trying to avoid the sound.

After the buskers finish playing they come right up to you with their hands out, or with paper cups held in front of you. They've generally all been very young boys.



I'm fascinated with these buskers for the obvious reason that I am a musician/performer and accordionist. The funniest busker moment for me was when a 4-piece band was running from train car to train car, between subway stops, and playing a song that would last the length of one stop. Watching a man run with a stand-up bass is impressive!

All of these musicians performed more of a Swinging Jazz type of music. VERY upbeat, which is reminiscent of the Balkan beats I'm accustomed to, but I think they play jazz standards in a swing style to be more contemporary or familiar to the public. For example, songs like "Autumn Leaves" and "All of Me".

Now, these guys here were pretty outstanding...



The clarinetist and I spoke broken German-English-French-and some other languages in there too to each other. He gave me their CD, I gave them my mini moo card. We became fast friends. It's definitely a thrill to have been playing Romanian music, and to now meet actual Romanian musicians doing their thing.

With our German-English-French conversation we determined they were Roma, and that I was Canadian and played accordion. They then played this song for me :)


.... now that's a face-melting clarinet solo!


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