Around 2000, I visited Ringve Museum and its musical instrument collection in Trondheim, and my friend Mats Kroutén, who was working there at the time. He gave me an old, beautiful broken german accordion that he said “you can probably do something with that”. I did use it when I played a sour Plato in the intermission of The show that god never asked for at Fylkingen in 2002, that my band Fågelpingis was involved with.
Otherwise I've treasured it in my cellar until I was invited to participate in an “Accordion evening” at Fylkingen by WOL performance duo in 2013. Though I've never really played accordion before, I found some qualities in the brokenness, and otherwise, that I thought were beautiful to explore in a sort of meditative modernist approach. So I dropped my initial plan to make a performance art piece out of it. I realized accordion players need very strong arms. And I also discovered that it's hard to see the buttons, so I copied Sven-Åke Johansson's idea of using a mirror to see them. And two microphones to amplify it.
I called the piece “Kollar om det är något drag i spelet” (Checks If There Is Any Drag In The Play (useless translation since the pun is lost))
Before the concert, I was thinking of why accordion was such a hated instrument in a certain period. The most famous accordion hater was the musician and composer Sten Broman. I found a quote from him (with no source mentioned) that was:
Fula fruntimmer är det djävligaste jag vet. Fula fruntimmer som spelar dragspel och tillika joddlar är en treenighet i djävlighet.
Ugly women is the most awful thing that I know. Ugly women that play accordion and also yodel is a trinity of awfulness.
Before the concert, I read this quote to illustrate that times have hopefully changed since his hateful idiocy, especially since Broman might have been a member of Fylkingen in the 1940's, when he participated in some concerts as a viola player or as a composer. I might add that the Accordion Evening took place on Women's Day, March 8th, 2013.