History of the Accordion in Colombia

In the town of Valledupar the first diatonic* accordion appeared, which was introduced by the Germans.

Vallenato is singing accompanied by the accordion. Later the guacharaca and caja (a type of tambourine) were used in accompaniment. The music produced was a mixture of traditional music from Peru and Bolivia, the Caribbean, Spain and Africa.

Julio De La Ossa was probably the best known Vallenato accordionist, and was known as “The King of Vallenato”.

In Vallenato groups, the accordion is often played without accompaniment, with the other musicians joining in occasionally. The first big Vallenato accordion star in Northern Colombia was Annibal Velasquez.

The Colombian accordion tradition focuses on the diatonic accordion. However, one famous chromatic player is Sergio Miquel.
*A diatonic button accordion (DBA) is a member of the free-reed aerophone family of musical instruments. It is a type of button accordion on which the melody-side keyboard contains one or more rows of buttons, with each row producing the notes of a single diatonic scale. The buttons on the bass-side keyboard are most commonly arranged in pairs, with one button of a pair sounding the fundamental of a chord and the other the corresponding major triad (or, sometimes, a minor triad).

Diatonic button accordions are popular in many countries, and used mainly for playing popular music and traditional folk music, and modern offshoots of these genres.


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