When I was a kid, about seven years old maybe, my mother wanted me to learn and play the accordion. I refused, as I refused almost anything related to the cultures of my home countries. Instead, I learned to play the flute, the alto recorder, the violin, electric bass, cajon and castanets in the course of years. Some instruments I still play, some I don’t. Then later, when I was almost grown-up, I rediscovered my love for the Balkans and I took interest in the variety of music the region has to offer. I found the accordion a great instrument. So I listened. Today the accordion to me means sevdah – “pining or a longing (for a loved one, a place, a time) that is both joyous and painful” – you can read about this word and the music it is connected to here.
A while ago, I thought to myself I should learn to play the accordion. I had forgotten my mother had wanted me to play this beautiful instrument, and I didn’t even tell her about my plans. So I checked how much it would cost me. Accordions are expensive and as I couldn’t afford to buy one, I said farewell to my idea and forgot about it.
About two months ago, I walked down my street, thinking about what life would bring me next. I passed the old rag shop and there it was: a beautiful, red, small 48-bass accordion with leather straps, pearl keys and silver embellishment. Immediately, I fell in love. I looked at it but didn’t dare ask the shop owner how much it cost. But then I did, and it seemed affordable to me. Yet I didn’t buy it. I pass the rag shop often and every time I went by it, I checked if the accordion was still there, waiting for me. And then last week I bought it, after I had bargained like a pro with the Turkish shop owner. I was convinced the Universe wanted me to have it.
I took it home. I was excited and scared. How the hell should I ever learn to play this instrument? It wouldn’t be easy, that was for sure. I didn’t dare start to play. But then I did and of course it sounded terrible. I felt self-conscious because I didn’t want my neighbors to think I’m a crazy woman. But I played the C major scale and some chords and, well. I found sheet music, books and videos on the internet. I was getting ready. And still I was scared.
I told my mother I had bought the accordion. She was surprised and happy. My grandmother also. She can’t wait for me to visit and bring the instrument. Now I was even more scared because I didn’t know if I would ever be able to play at least a little tune for my family.
So, a couple days later, I went to the Turkish market at the canal bank. I found a nice little present for my friend’s birthday, and for me a bag which reads “This bag contains a bomb, a gun, a very large knife and loads of drugs”. I had Gözleme with cheese and freshly squeezed orange juice. I listened to some great street music. Then I went back home. On my way I found this beautiful piece of street art. I don’t know the artist’s name, but I want to say thank you to whoever you may be, because you put this where I could find it.