‘Squeeze This’ Author to Present ‘Living History of Accordion’ at Liberty Bellows on Oct. 26

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In her book Squeeze This, A Cultural History of the Accordion in America, Marion Jacobson, an author, ethnomusicologist and musician from Northern New Jersey, traces the instrument’s development through six key moments of transition, from vaudeville to world music.

Jacobson will bring that history to life for the Philadelphia Accordion Club on Saturday, Oct. 26 at Liberty Bellows (216 S. 2nd St.), marking her first promotional appearance in Philadelphia. Her one-of-a-kind, interactive presentation, A Living History of the Accordion, will spotlight the instrument’s evolution through the last century. She’ll be showcasing some of the most valuable and interesting accordions in the vast collection at Liberty Bellows’ three-story facility just off South Street.

“I’m very excited,” said Jacobson, who has performed with klezmer bands and on New York City subway platforms. “This presentation is very unique.”

The Philadelphia Accordion Club’s monthly gathering will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a performance from Liberty Bellows’ house group, Philly Squeeze. Following club business at 1 p.m., Jacobson’s performance will begin, taking the audience on a whirlwind tour of the accordion that highlights the instrument’s many transformations and how they impacted its development.

Copies of Jacobson’s book will be available for purchase and she will also sign copies for attendees. The event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be made available.

The six moments of transition that Jacobson focuses her book on include:
- the Americanization of the piano accordion
- 1920s transformation from expensive, exotic vaudeville instrument to mass-marketed product
- accordion craze of the 1930s and 1940s, including development of “accordion industrial complex”
- peak popularity in the 1950s exemplified by Lawrence Welk and Dick Contino
- the instrument’s marginalization in the 1960s
- accordion revival in the 1980s

Oh and by the way, today is Jacobson’s birthday. So if you seek her out in social media land, be sure to wish her a “wunnerful, wunnerful” day.

Marion Jacobson on WNYC

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