The Anglo concertina that I play is a direct descendant of the first German, accordion-like instrument invented in the early 1800’s. I like to think of it as a fistful of harmonicas, because the in-out playing styles are so similar. It was the first portable instrument that was loud, didn’t cost much, and could play both melody and accompaniment at the same time. The concertina became wildly popular all over the world.
These days, not many play the Anglo or its concertina cousins: the English, duet, Chemnitzer or bandoneón, to name a few. We’ve seen the rise and fall of concertina popularity. Back in the 1890’s, the pleasures of concertina playing tempted many to devote their leisure hours and professional careers to its mastery. The concertina remains highly addictive to this day. The truth is, the instrument's just plain fun to play, and the old dance music that I love fits it like a glove.
I’ve crafted these new tunes to be reminiscent of the old chestnuts from a variety of American and English dance traditions. Countless dancers — contra, square, Playford, ceili, and morris — have enjoyed these melodies, and I hope you do too.