The Amazing Accordions of Cotati

People bring the wonderful wheeze to a truly eclectic music celebration.

INSTRUMENT OF INTEREST: There are quite a few instruments in this world, but only a few truly elicit immediate reactions and strong opinions from people. Electric guitar? Yeah, that's one; fans will cite a favorite rock god or maybe do a bit of air-guitaring themselves. The triangle? Sure, let's give the triangle some love and say just about everybody likes it. Cowbell? Goes without saying, right? As long as there is more of it any song. But what of that king among instruments, the accordion? Accordions have so much history and so much personality that practically every music lover has something to say on the matter. They love the café-style sounds and they love the wheeze and they love its romantic airs and they love that it is a hefty boxy wonder that the musician straps onto both shoulders. And, yes, they love "Lady of Spain" and all of the surprise appearances the accordion makes in modern music. (They Might Be Giants, we're looking at you.) 

BUT... what if dozens upon dozens of accordionists gathered in the same area, to rock the buttons, keys, and reeds? It's no dream, music fans: It's Cotati. The city plays host to one of the planet's -- and, let's be honest, maybe the solar system's -- most famous accordion gatherings. It's on Saturday, Aug. 17 and Sunday, Aug. 18, a bevy of masters will gather, and there's a theme, too: "Liva L'Italia," so count on hearing the ballads of the Venice canals and Napoli's trattorias.

MUSICIANS AND FANS WELCOME: The line-up of people set to perform includes Renzo Ruggieri, Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Those Darn Accordions, Jet Black Pearl, and The Mad Maggies. Dance lessons and an audience-join-in rendition of "Lady of Spain" are on the wheezy roster. Plus other music-nice happenings. Thank you, Cotati Accordion Festival, for paying tribute to the instrument we all have an opinion about. It's got so much spunk and personality, the accordion, that even a weekend seems too small to hold it.

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