Roxanne Oliva’s Accordion Crumbs

She’s at it again: after her highly listenable 2010 debut album, “Box Candy”, accordionist extraordinaire Roxanne Oliva now offers her sophomore venture: “Accordion Crumbs”. The CD opens with “Secret Body Tango”, an Oliva original, a nice bass & accordion duet with castanet accompaniment and a wonderful intro song. “Fi Fi’s Messy Closet” is an up-tempo, playful and frenzied tune recorded by her band Youkali at what Roxanne describes as “a run away fast tempo, giving it that untamed quality”. She told me that the song was inspired by what is hidden, or closeted. I also like this album’s versions of the traditional songs “Hole in the Boat Jig” and “Limerick Lass Set”, with their roving, Irish lilt, reinforced by the fiddle playing of Scott Renfort. And “Spin Bouree”, another Roxanne original, was inspired by 3/4 Bourees that were popular in southern Europe. In fact, Ms Oliva told me that most of her songs are inspired by folk dance music.


Roxanne acknowledges that the title of her album is in reference to the popular E. Annie Proulx novel, “Accordion Crimes”, which follows the life of an accordion and its many owners, of many nationalities, for more than a century. And I believe Roxanne has been successful on this disc in embracing those varied cultures and musical styles that span a great length of time and heritage.

The CD is subtitled, “Tasty Bits if Random Sessions” and I wholeheartedly agree with the “tasty” assessment. Granted, the songs are an assortment of songs from a variety of projects with which Ms Oliva has been associated, but far from being a hodgepodge, I enjoyed a certain cohesiveness, a flow in the music. Four of these new songs were written by David Lux and were recorded for “Quiet Little Marriage”, an independent film that has garnered critical acclaim and received awards from film festivals in both Los Angeles and Austin. Along with Richard Mandel, David Lux also provided the tasty guitar work on the album. Four other songs on this fourteen song project were recorded with the trio Youkali, which is comprised of virtuosic fiddle and bass players and of course Ms Oliva and her diverse accordion styles. The rest were recorded with a seven piece band who have gelled quick well on this project. Three of the songs that appear on this CD were on “Box Candy” as well, but far from being outtakes, they are new (to me) versions, much different than the previous renditions and stand on their own, especially “Each Part Was Played”, that has a kind of haunting “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” feel to it.

Roxanne owns a home in Playa Negra and is here at various times throughout the year. Perhaps with some coaxing, we can convince her to perform some time while she is here. We’ll sweep up the crumbs, of course.

Both of Roxanne Oliva’s CDs are available at Jaime Peligro book store in Playa Tamarindo, where they will gladly sample the music for their customers.


Jimi Parisi

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