Concerts, workshops: the French accordion school CNIMA on tour in the United States

Guitar evenings by the fire are over. Put yourself on the accordion to impress your friends. From Wednesday May 25th to Thursday June 9th, the prestigious French accordion school CNIMA (Centre National et International de Musique et d’Accordéon) will offer training and concerts in several American cities (New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Seattle and Los Angeles).

Instrument Addict

At the origin of this tour: Kayla Allen, an American from Shreveport (Louisiana) who fell in love with the instrument in 2016. I had a crushshe says. Like many people, I didn’t take the accordion very seriously. One day I heard a friend playing. It was superb. It erased all the prejudices I had. It is both complicated and beautiful. The sound is transcendent. I became addicted. Most people who try it get it very quickly. »

Married to a Frenchman, the writer regularly travels to France. She enrolls in CNIMA« a little treasure in the village of Saint-Sauves-d’Auvergne in Auvergne. Founded in 1995, the renowned establishment has trained some of the best French accordionists. He prides himself on having won, with his students, a record 128 prizes in major international competitions, ” far ahead of the famous accordion schools of Eastern Europe ».

Kayla Allen became friends with the two founders of the school, Jacques Mornet and his former disciple Nathalie Boucheix, who is the director. In 2017, the first told him that he wanted to return to the United States, the country where he started his career and won an accordion world cup with a student. It was enough for the American to get moving.

Gigs in NY and LA

The result: four masterclasses and a four-day course at the Alliance Française in New Orleans. The courses are centered on a special technique developed by the CNIMA. Indeed, Jacques Mornet considers the accordion as a wind instrument and not as a percussion, which results in a particular method of touch and use of the bellows, but also a specific positioning of the body. ” It is a very sensitive approach “Summarizes Kayla Allen. Courses are open to all skill levels, but participants will need to rent their own instrument from a trader. In Seattle, they can go to Petosa; in New Orleans, Big Squeezy Accordions; and in Philadelphia, Liberty Bellows. Otherwise, they can attend masterclasses for a reduced price.

The tour will be punctuated by two concerts, in Brooklyn on Thursday May 26 and in Los Angeles on Thursday June 9. ” The accordion has long been seen as old-fashioned, but a growing number of young people in France and the United States are showing interest in the instrument. “, continues Kayla Allen. Amélie Poulain is probably not for nothing.

“I have a dream: to extend the school to the United States, but it is a fantasyshe slips. In any case, we want to make the CNIMA known on this side of the Atlantic, to discover the method… And to ensure that more students come to Auvergne! »

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