Miss Natasha EnquistElectro-Accordion Chanteuse

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Friday, September 7, 2012

No Smoking for Accordions

I don't smoke, and neither does my accordion.

I'm wondering the thoughts of other musicians and accordionists in regards to playing in venues that have smoking permitted. I performed a show recently here in Berlin, which was thick with cigarette smoke, and it totally freaked me out. I was so worried about the welfare of my accordion.

It would probably be in my best interest to get a 'beater' accordion here, but aside from playing in smokey bars, I'm not playing in any situations where I'm needing an accordion I can abuse. I wouldn't invest in a beater that has pick-ups, and that's something I'm needing with playing amplified shows of course! Hmmm!

Smokey environments are terrible for our lungs, and the same goes for our instruments. The accordion inhales and exhales air, and the smokey air going through it could do irrperable damage to the bellows and reeds, and depreciates the sound quality of the instrument. Is playing outdoors any different as far as 'bad environments' go for the welfare of this instrument?

Salty air, polluted outdoor air, indoor smokey bars... anything that could be bad for your lungs is bad for an accordion. 

I've gotten antzy when I've played at venues in Canada where those atmospheric smoke machines are being used. I've even been the diva that requests that they not be used during my set. The venues have been totally accommodating and understanding.

I played the hell out of my beater Hohner at Walt Disney World. It was taking a beating with being in the blazing sun, 35'C+ heat, cigarette/cigar/pipe smoke from the tourists... and I could hear a difference as time went on. But that was my 'beater', so damage is welcomed to a certain degree.

I've made videos of myself playing at the beach, both on a Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean beach. I recall a comment coming through on my Youtube channel from some one saying how terrible it was of me to be playing my accordion around the salt air. That it is terrible for the instrument. This never occurred to me, and accordions/concertinas seem to be hand-in-hand with the ocean, so I would never think to separate them. What is a shanty without the sea?

I love the ocean too much, and I'll play for it any time. I'm talking about SMOKE here people!

Here, in Europe, people smoke. There are smokey bars, but it is a 50/50 chance it might not be. My experience so far has been that most instrument orientated venues (jazz clubs for example) are smoke free, while a dirty, nasty sexy club is smokey. There's always the risk the worlds will combine!

My best accordion, which I've brought with me and am using here in Germany, is far to valuable to be ruined by cigarette smoke. Or will it be ruined, as there are many other elements that could ruin it.

So, what IS the ideal environment for an accordion?

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