I'm in Cajun country with lots of Cajun music and zydeco music, most to the beat of a two step or waltz (um pa pa) so it seemed appropriate to visit an accordion factory. The accordion generally is what makes Cajun and zydeco uniquely different. You can take a country western song and add the washboard and "squeeze box" and all of the sudden it sounds Cajun or zydeco. However, I was to find out that the accordion was not always part of Cajun or Zydeco music. It was originally a German instrument and most likely introduced into Cajun and Zydeco by the French. Judy had found the Martin Accordion factory located in Lafayette and called and made arrangements to take a tour. Tours are only given to large groups, but we were able to tag a long with a small bus tour group.
The tour turned out to be more than a tour, but more of a concert. and a history lesson. The Cajun and zydeco type accordions are made at the factory by several generations of the Martins. Joel Martin, the grandson is an accomplished musician and is very talented on the accordion. He gave a walk through the history of Cajun and Zydeco music for over an hour which went flying by.
The accordions are hand made at the Martin Factory. Some of the specialty wood is imported, but most are made from maple wood and stained different colors. The steel reeds are also imported from Italy. Everything else is hand made by the Martins in their shop. The pieces of the accordion are glued together piece by piece. The nails and screws are only used for attaching ornaments and embellishments. Each accordion is unique and the price is based on the type of wood and other ornamentation. The price tag starts at around $2,400.