5 user 6 critic

Accordion Tribe (2004)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 4 March 2005 (Austria)
Five highly original musicians from different countries form the Accordion Tribe. Together they aim to reinforce the original power of the long disdained instrument.Stefan Schwietert's film... See full summary »


Stefan Schwietert

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Cast overview:
Guy Klucevsek Guy Klucevsek ... Himself
Lars Hollmer Lars Hollmer ... Himself
Maria Kalaniemi Maria Kalaniemi ... Herself
Bratko Bibic Bratko Bibic ... Himself
Otto Lechner Otto Lechner ... Himself


Five highly original musicians from different countries form the Accordion Tribe. Together they aim to reinforce the original power of the long disdained instrument.Stefan Schwietert's film follows the energetic soundscapes and their performers on a journey through Europe. An extraordinarily intensive documentary on the communicative, connecting power of music. Written by Anonymous

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Plot Keywords:

musician | accordion | See All (2) »


Documentary | Music


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Austria | Switzerland


English | German

Release Date:

4 March 2005 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Akkordeon-Bande See more »

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User Reviews

Musically, Visually, Intellectually & Emotionally the Tops!
10 September 2006 | by james-jasd2020See all my reviews

Last night my companion and I saw "Accordion Tribe" at the Skirball Center here in LA. We, and the audience were, as the euphemism goes, "Blown Away". Yes, there were a few accordion players in the audience. They were asked to identify themselves at the beginning of the program. To fully clear the air, I am not an accordionist or an aficionado of the instrument. Further, though the stated purpose of these five accordion players is to get some respect for their once ubiquitous instrument, this film is only incidentally about accordions or accordionists. It is about "Art" and how it is created. The musicians are filmed in their homes and on tour in Europe.

The first thing to note is that the film is excellent in every respect including all that we look for cinemagraphically. For me it is, in fact, the way that Schwieter, the director, amalgamates very fresh imagery, cuts, transitions, etc. with the music and performances – individual and grouped – that puts the contrasting near mysterious musicianship and emotional depth of these five individuals into one big bouillabaisse and pushes the pot right under our nose to savor. Really, this is film making at its best.

Of course he has to have something to work with and these five give him all the ingredients he needs. As musicians they are at the top of their game. All are excellent. And, all could not be more different. Maria Kalaniemi and Otto Lechner bookend the five. Klucevesk the American, Hollmer the Swede and Bibic the Slovakian are each gifted musicians with highly individual styles. They are also pretty much regular guys. The type that any of us might enjoy helping on a Saturday pour a slab for a bedroom addition. They talk a little and have some good insights into writing and playing the way they do. Yet it is Kalaniemi working from the Karelian tradition of Finland and Lechner, the blind, self trained, wild Viennese steeped in the internationalism of Jazz that push this group beyond just music…no matter how excellent it may be.

Kalaniemi, the lovely but sober Finn, opens her heart completely in conversation and performance. It is not explained but over the tour she develops a special bond with Lechner, her musical and personality opposite. Perhaps it is that he, like her, can completely lay bare the emotional basis for his art. The bond between them comes out in a duet that she wrote specifically to play together. In the last few notes he breaks into tears. You may also.

Lechner is also the funniest of the bunch. He does a great riff on their tour buss's GPS system guiding them to that night's hotel. He of course can only hear the female voice giving them directions. He can't see where they are actually going but keeps up a running argument accusing the voice of misdirecting them into calamitous situations.

"Accordion Tribe", when all is said and done, is one of the most moving films I have ever seen. I am not limiting this judgment to the music/documentary genre. The very enthusiastic applause from the Skirball crowd confirmed this for me.

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