Just Above Sunset
December 18, 2005 - Time for Chili

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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. For accordions, Paris Accordéon is the place.

Time for Chili


PARIS: Saturday, November 17 - I don't have much driving me these days except a desire to keep warm. Friday was wonderful with a temperature of 11 degrees, but between sun up and sundown there wasn't much time to enjoy it because I skipped the morning part, in favor of staying warm.


Dennis called me up and said he was making chili, from a new recipe, in his bathtub. He said he would bring me a jar of it if I was going to the record competition at Paris Accordéon, between Dimitri and the owner, Patrick Quichaud. They had an argument of some sort, maybe about the sound quality of 78-rpm records, and there was to be a playoff.


So there I was last night, waiting for Dennis to show up with the jar of chili.


Paris Accordéon is a neighborhood shop, 'founded 1944,' full of accordions, concertinas, accordion music, CDs, sheet music, photos of accordion stars, and musical knickknacks. Every neighborhood should have an accordion shop. Some of them look like portable jukeboxes.


There was a table set up with Friday night snacks; crackers, peanuts, sausage, chorizo, wine, more wine and spare wine. I had some chorizo to put me in a chili mood. Then Dennis arrived and he didn't seem to be carrying any jar of chili. "Where's Dimitri?" he asked. "Having a cocktail at the Bistro 48?" 


Which he was, because everybody is late, he said.


He put a musette record on his turntable, the newer one, but one with the 78 speed. With a small amp it was loud. Kind of like country jazz, done with accordions, maybe one Martin Cayla recorded in 1929.  Other records followed, very listenable, even while nibbling crackers. More characters showed up and more wine flowed.

Patrick cranked up his record player. It seemed to lack power, possibly because it lacked electricity. But it was fun to watch, and it worked fine. Then Dimitri put some more sides on his machine and there was some dancing. He started to complain that they were making his needle hop and asked if anybody had a level.


I didn't find out what the competition was about. I left early because the chorizo made me hungry. I bet that Dennis ate all of his chili. For accordions though, Paris Accordéon is the place. It's also a doorway to musicians and performances, especially if you like musette - the kind of music played in French dancehalls and cafés in the first half of the last century.

Paris Accordéon, December 2005

Paris Accordéon, December 2005

Paris Accordéon, December 2005

Paris Accordéon, December 2005

Paris Accordéon, December 2005

Text and Photos, Copyright © 2005 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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