You don’t even have to like accordion music to love the Accordion Babes. Together and individually, the Babes each fully occupy their own distinct musical personas. Their annual Revue rocked the house recently at Rhythmix Cultural Works, a center in Alameda for entertainment and workshops wild and unusual.
Amber Lee, with flowing red hair, writes her own songs, a combo of what she calls neo-folk and accordion cabaret. Her mellifluous voice pleasures the audience with love songs that reach out with lyrics like “I wanna alpha you.”
The best way to describe Renee de la Prade is a Janis Joplin high on guitar, harmonica and accordion. She stomps her boots and belts out her songs with everything she’s got no matter what instrument she’s playing.
The riotous emcee, Luz Gaxiola, taps into her repertoire of circus acts. By the end of the program, she’s singing Russian and Czech tunes while balancing on a makeshift roller, playing her accordion with her left hand and paddle ball with her right. When she called for a volunteer I readily jumped up from my front row seat to hold the trumpet to her lips while Luz accompanied herself on the accordion.
Yeti, a French-speaking singer from Europe, the most proficient on accordion of all the Babes, sings her own edgy stories of sensuous nights and tumultuous emotions. I wasn’t always sure where her songs were heading until the very end when she wrapped up each musical story with an ironic or funny twist of fate.
The sultriest singer, Tara Linda, rotated her acts among three small box-button accordions, which each have their own key. She plays a range of styles from jazz mixed with Latin Torch music to “Western/Americana meets TexMex.” Ms. Linda has had the honor of writing music for the famed accordionist Flaco Jimenez.
Sorry you missed out? No problem. Just click here and order the 2012 all-in-one pin-up calendar and CD. If there were an award for an unparallelled act, Accordion Babes would take first place.