Like it or loathe it; there really is nothing quite like the sound of the accordion to create that feel of the Continental.
It’s sounds can evoke wonderful memories for us of holidays gone by. Of romantic times that you maybe spent in say France or Italy for instance?
More recently for me though I vividly recalled sitting with friends in ‘Casemates Square’ Gibraltar where there were several such accordionists who roamed around the many cafe tables which were strategically placed outside underneath their rather expensive and elaborate gazebo’s.
I remember it was very amusing to watch many of the innocent young couples or newly weds, who having simply smiled at these gentlemen would then find themselves being offered a red rose, whilst at the same time being personally serenaded…all rather embarrassing for them, poor things!
However it was evident that not all of the wandering accordionists would have chosen this particular venue and had instead opted for their own individual pitch. You could guarantee that as the Church Clock struck the hour, they would arrive to set up for their already assembled audience.
Amusingly these rather cumbersome instruments in their clasped leather cases would be transported to each respective pitch complete with a tiny stool for the musician to perch upon and both would be secured with ‘bungee straps’ and usually held inside one old wobbly wheeled incredibly rusty child’s pram?
But if you could dismiss this somewhat unprofessional and shoddy initial impression, then you could be guaranteed that both player and instrument would lull and relax you generally enhance your evening soiree.
So to hear such music in Portchester High street of all places? And, outside of a motor car accessory shop?
Well somehow; it just didn’t seem to resonate with me!
BUT… One must never make such sweeping judgements without first having given it a fair chance. As it turned out, I was glad that I did.
This lovely old gentleman was the consummate professional, and had pride in his own appearance as well as showing obvious love and care for his treasured accordion.
I watched as people walking on their way through the town seemed to noticeably slow their walking pace whilst they fumbled through their coats or purses for any small change.
Then strolling over they would drop their coins in his cap and smile with appreciation.
He would return their smiles nodding approvingly at their welcomed contributions.
So after listening to and enjoying a couple of his tunes I too strolled across to where he was sitting and gave him the change from my pocket.
I then held up my camera and checked if I might take his photograph. He nodded his approval and merely turned his gaze in my direction.
In frame though he looked uncertain, even apprehensive in his expression to camera?
Although this was in no way reflected in the beautiful sounds he and his accordion continued to deliver, and which literally stopped many local shoppers in their tracks.
This was a lovely old gent and a very talented musician. I hope that i might get the opportunity to see him performing here again one day.
It’s so interesting that one person and their love of music can readily transform the usual hum drum experience of shopping into a pleasantly reflective continental experience.