The Anglo concertina is a little squeezebox with a big voice. It can play from the heart, high and lonesome or deep and spiritual, but when the Anglo cuts loose with foot-stomping fiddle tunes, it’s got the power to make you want to dance all night. The Anglo concertina can sound like a fistful of harmonicas, with rich harmony and counterpoint, or it can pump out a dance rhythm with the bellows, much as a fiddler uses the bow.
The Anglo concertina was invented in Germany around 1834 and was perfected in England in the following decades. At first, the instruments were inexpensive and mass-produced; they were exported in large quantities from Germany all over the globe. In America they were played as far back as the 1840s in minstrel shows, by Salvation Army bands, and for the popular dances and songs of the day. A century later, the concertina had become virtually extinct in the United States and nearly so in Britain as well, a victim of changing musical tastes in a modern world. In recent years though, there has been a concertina renaissance, and today makers of fine concertinas can’t keep up with the demand.
The roots of old-time American country music reach back to the early days of the concertina, and the Anglo’s rhythm and inflection fit that music perfectly. The antique voice of the Anglo playing this vibrant old-time musical tradition still sounds fresh and new.
Jody Kruskal - Anglo concertina, vocals
Sam Zygmuntowicz - fiddle, mandolin
Bob Jones - guitar, bass
Paul Friedman - fiddle
Nathaniel Rowan - banjo
Bill Peek - banjo
Michael Gorin - fiddle
Playing this music is a pleasure. I hope you enjoy listening to Poor Little Liza Jane.