The World’s Smartest Accordion

I can play damn near anything with a keyboard. Pianos, organs, melodicas, harpsichords, keytars, celestes, digital keyboards, synths, and whatever. If you play it via black and white keys, I can play it.

Except the accordion.

Don’t get me wrong, I can get the basics of a song out of the damn thing, but it’s like walking and chewing gum. Trying to keep both hands going, in time, with a rhythm, keeping a melody, all the while pumping the bellows in a manner to keep the air flowing in a controlled manner? Nope. I’d be better off trying to play bagpipes, because there’s less to do.

It’s funny how the Web can take you down little rabbit holes and tangents. A few days back, I was searching for something about Weird Al Yankovic and came across this video. It’s a demo and promo for the Roland FR-8x-V, an accordion that’s more like a digital keyboard than the thing you’d listen to in an Italian bistro. Apparently, Weird Al himself uses this accordion on stage and in production and it’s not hard to see why. The host, and performer, is wonderful and she’s a fantastic musician and she’ll guide you through this things many features.

First, it’s an accordion. Second, it’s actually four accordions because it’s a French, Italian, Jazz, and Cajun accordion. I’m sure that, in a pinch, it’ll do German just as well and thus it could be considered five accordions. It’s got a slew of voices so it’s also a piano, bass guitar, orchestra, steel drum, and more. You can even use it Zen Drum-like and have percussion going on one hand while you play the melody on the other. It has MIDI hookups, on-board sequencing, the ability to load new voices from the Roland Library, and of course you can plug it into an amp or theatre PA system.

I mean, I’m not even a huge fan of accordion music, but I have to say, I’m impressed. This thing has every single feature my keyboards do, including a couple extras since they’re specific to an accordion.

Accordions grew up, joined the digital world, and actually became kinda awesome. Who knew?

And if that doesn’t trip your trigger, here’s a pair of twins (for twins tend to come in pairs) singing a German ditty, playing accordions, and rollerblading. I don’t even know where to go with that. Had it been me, I’d have skated out, made the first turn and ate most of that accordion along with some of the floor as I went sliding under some table, leaving a blood trail behind me littered with the wreckage of a once perfectly good accordion.

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