If you’ve never heard of a bandoneón, you’re not alone.
I’d never heard of one either until last month when I met Alex Krebs, one of the best players in Oregon. As soon as I heard the sound of the bandoneón – which sounds a bit like an accordion and a lot like nothing you’ve ever heard before — I wanted everyone to hear it. So we asked Krebs to give us a demonstration.
Krebs was first introduced to the bandoneón while DJ-ing a tango dance in the Bay Area. A dancer gave him one to try and Krebs fell in love with the sound.
“I got addicted to practicing," he says. "I was practicing two hours a day the first year.”
Now a decade later, Krebs owns a tango dance studio in Portland and hosts social dances as well as practice sessions. He’s got a band that includes the few other bandoneón players in the area; they play together and record CDs. Krebs also teaches bandoneón and tango dancing.
You’ll see Alex Krebs as part of our story about harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers on Oregon Art Beat on January 26, 2012.