Jan currently plays 2 accordions, a Pigini Preludio P30 that was purchased on a trip to Italy a few years ago, and a vintage freebase Titano from the 60s that my parents bought for me when I was little. Growing up in southwestern Ontario, I was one of those kids who took accordion lessons from the age of 5. I was called ‘Salami-Olive’ by my classmates because it’s what I took for lunch in my school bag every day. (Family names on my mother’s side of our tree include Marinelli and DeLuca!!) I grew up playing and taking lessons, and my teacher’s name was Eugene Caruso (the other Eugene Caruso) in Windsor, Ontario. I even guested on the Frank DiAngelis Show, kind of a Tommy Hunter Show idea, but for Italians on the local Windsor CBET network. Pretty nerdy accordion stuff. In the 1970s, however, it became really uncool to play the accordion. So I decided to deny my ethnicity — which everyone was seemingly doing in those days — and put the accordion in its velvet-lined box at 13. I switched to the piano and didn’t pull it out again for 20 years. Now, the accordion is so uncool it’s cool again, and I am passionate about playing it! I’ve heard you’re addicted to something when you wake up in the morning thinking about what you’re addicted to — OK I admit it then!!!. I’ve been playing steadily for almost 20 years now and have played in Gypsy Jive out of Orilla, Night Sun and Swamp Ward Orchestra both from Kingston, and currently venturing out for solo and session work. Anything euro rocks my musical socks these days, I simply adore arranging trad tunes with fresh mixes and perspectives, and klezmer music always makes me want to play and jam until the wee hours with fellow musicians and friends!
Performances of Note:
The summer folk festival circuit in Canada is a wonderful thing, and I am fortunate to have performed in many across the country. What a great way to see Canada and meet amazing musicians from all over the world, as well as connect with super keen fans and lovers of all kinds of folk music. I guess you’d call me an ‘experienced folkie’ these days, with travels and performances including Yellowknife’s Folk on the Rocks , Winnipeg Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Iqaluit’s Ailianait, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Toronto’s CNE, Iglulik’sRockin’ Walrus Festival, Festival Chants du Vielles in Quebec, and various Ontario fests such as Ottawa Folk Festival, Mill Race, Blue Skies, Shelter Valley, Summerfolk and my hometown Skeleton Park Music Festival. I round out my current music making with studio session work, performances with children in local schools in Kingston, as well as solo and accompaniment work collaborating with various musicians and choirs for concerts, special events, and special occasions eastern and central Ontario.
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