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Various Artists
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO PARIS CAFÉ MUSIC
World Music Network

By James Rodgers

Published February 17, 2006

The accordion has long been the black sheep of the musical family. The punch line of jokes, it is rarely taken seriously, and music containing an accordion has a lot of misconceptions to overcome. Rough Guide’s latest release in their series of excellent world music compilations, The Rough Guide to Paris Café Music, goes a long way toward giving the accordion back some dignity. It traces the history of the French accordion from Bal Musette and its pairing with the small pipes through Swing Musette, accordion jazz, and on to the current Rock Musette, accordion alternative and even punk. It all began as a blending of Italian and French cultures in the early 1900s, so it is fitting that the Bal Musette continues to mutate and conform to changing cultures, music and times.

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