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StoryCorps: Joyce Kahkonen

From: StoryCorps
Series: StoryCorps
Length: 01:45

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Joyce Kahkonen remembers her father, a professional accordionist.

Kahkonen_small Family histories are often linked to things and places, whether it's a favorite chair or a vacation spot. Joyce Kahkonen says her family was linked to a musical instrument: the accordion. As Kahkonen tells her daughter, Gay, her father played the accordion professionally, and his enthusiasm was contagious. From polkas to waltzes and standards, Kahkonen taught all his children to play the accordion. And they enjoyed it, Joyce recalls -- so much so that they would all don accordions for a group photo. Other than the lessons, and the sense of duty in sharing music and playing for an audience, Joyce says one piece of advice from her father has often served her well: "Honey, remember one thing: If you can't play good, play loud."

Piece Description

Family histories are often linked to things and places, whether it's a favorite chair or a vacation spot. Joyce Kahkonen says her family was linked to a musical instrument: the accordion. As Kahkonen tells her daughter, Gay, her father played the accordion professionally, and his enthusiasm was contagious. From polkas to waltzes and standards, Kahkonen taught all his children to play the accordion. And they enjoyed it, Joyce recalls -- so much so that they would all don accordions for a group photo. Other than the lessons, and the sense of duty in sharing music and playing for an audience, Joyce says one piece of advice from her father has often served her well: "Honey, remember one thing: If you can't play good, play loud."

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South Hills Accordian Studios

I knew Mike and Edie,JoAnn, Joyce and Tom. I still remember the fancy accordians with their names on them. Good job, Joyce and Gay.

PINKY RAWSTHORNE

Broadcast History

NPR's Morning Edition 9/15/06

Transcript

JK: He loved music. He loved performing. He played, you know, always with tux, always looking nice, shiny shoes.

GK: What kind of music would he play?

JK: Lots of polkas, upbeat waltzes, and the old standards that everyone knew.

GK: You and your sister, and your brother all learned to play the accordion.

JK: Yes. We certainly did. We had no choice.

(Laughter)

JK: We have family pictures where we're all sporting an accordion: my sister, who was so good, my brother, and my mother who didn't play but would put an accordion on for the family portrait.

In the 50's my father started his own accordion studio in this old, rickety, wooden frame house. It was a great location because my father drew students from all Pittsburgh areas. They could all get their by trolley and drag their accordion up to our studio.

He would book anything. If you had a church and you had a calendar party an...
Read the full transcript

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Today, a daughter recalls her family's history with the accordion.

Joyce Kahkonen [Kah-koe-Nenn]'s father played professionally, and his enthusiasm was contagious.

Here with her daughter Gay, Joyce Kahkonen talks about her father, and his passion.
[Tape]

OUTRO:

Joyce Kahkonen with her daughter Gay at StoryCorps in Pittsburgh.

These interviews are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library Of Congress.

Related Website

http://www.storycorps.net/listen