‘Outside the Box’

By Anita Bašić (Musical Director)

I like to describe BRADFORD ACCORDION BAND as a unique and diverse musical group whose mission is to make memorable music, whilst having fun! Following BAB’s formation in 1997, I am continuously reassured to know that we are still ‘squeezing together’ through good and bad times and the camaraderie we proudly boast has never been more vital, since the onset of the 2020 Pandemic.

Our membership comprises accordion (and other) players between the ages of 25 and 89 – both amateur and semi-professional.  The band’s repertoire is wide-ranging and includes classics, music from the shows, pop, rock, folk and accordion originals. My personal mission is to present the image of ‘our’ accordion as both a flexible and desirable instrument; one that has the potential to bring people together, regardless of age, culture or experience.

BAB’s History

Bradford Accordion Band now affectionately known as BAB, was established almost 24 years ago. Prior to the official formation of the band, I had arranged for a group of 4 local accordionists I was teaching at the time, to start playing together in parts. The repertoire was largely folk music, as it was simple notation and relatively easy to pick up. It quickly became apparent that playing in this way had a wonderful number of benefits: improving playing technique, enhancing well-being and facilitating a very enjoyable, sociable evening.

So, I launched BAB officially on July 10th 1997 with no real clear idea of where it was all going! In the early years, fortnightly rehearsals were held at Lidget Green Methodist Church, Bradford and there we spent many a fun and fruitful night learning our ‘trade’. I begged, borrowed and wrote arrangements of part-music, so that we could begin to expand our range of styles; membership averaged 15 players at this time, each bringing some unique personality and diversity to the group. I also recall some cracking Christmas parties back in the day!

Fast-forward 24 years and BAB now meets weekly (on Thursdays) at Northowram Community Centre, situated on the outskirts of Halifax. So why Halifax and not Bradford as in BAB?

Well, the Centre is a decent size and is a central location for our now 30 -plus membership who travel in to squeeze the night away from all over Yorkshire and the North East. The Band have performed at countless venues across the county, including Bingley Arts Centre, The Victoria Theatre, Halifax and Ripon Racecourse.

BAB really do enjoy performing out, and I always insist that it is the audience who matter on these public occasions. As a result, we’ve worked hard on our stage presence, adding costume and humour in the form of BAB ‘characters’ (we’ve a fair few of those!) and regularly asking members to step out of their comfort zones, even if that’s been challenging at times. I never cease to be surprised, motivated and inspired by how much BAB members (and their unsuspecting spouses) do indeed rise to these challenges.

Woodwinders

As many of you reading this will appreciate, sourcing more accordionists can be a challenge, so thank goodness for the power of social media: websites, Facebook groups, WhatsApp and of course, not forgetting Zoom! In recent times, I decided that another way to swell our ranks would be to seek out musicians who were adept at playing other instruments, that might complement our sound. So, we have been very lucky to find a brilliant bassoonist, a (highly) competent clarinet player, 2 fabulous flautists and a sublime saxophonist or two. I have also tapped into BAB member dual-musicianship and am pleased to report we have a top trombonist, a heavenly harpist and a groovy guitar-player amongst our crew, who are all now becoming increasingly adept at swapping instruments to suit our repertoire.

Annual Grand Charity Concert

Since 2015, BAB has been hosting an annual Grand Charity Show at the fabulous 350- seater Bingley Arts Centre. We take pride in marketing ourselves professionally and as a result, manage to pack the theatre to the rafters every Autumn. This event has definitely become the central focus of the BAB-year. I am so very proud of the fact we have raised in excess of £20, 000 for local and national charities including: Breast Cancer Care, Alzheimer’s Society, Sue Ryder Hospice and Bradford Hospitals’ Charity. I can honestly say that these dazzling shows have been some of the most memorable nights of my life. BAB has successfully joined forces with outstanding dance troupes, steamy Latin-American ballroom dancers, an uber- talented ukulele band, phenomenal solo and group vocalists, a traditional Scottish piper and our latest guest star who is a fire-eating, lyrapole artiste; we definitely don’t do things by halves!

BAB Zoom Nights

During these unprecedented times, BAB continues to meet twice- weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) on Zoom. You are probably very aware of Zoom’s limitations when it comes to making music in a group and we still (even after a year of doing this!) witness hilarious moments of players not muting microphones, chatting to their dog or leaving the TV on in the background and attempting to talk to the assembled group whilst still muted – I am especially guilty of that! Since January 2021, I have extended an open invitation to any other players in the UK who are welcome to join us, and I am very pleased to say that the response has been overwhelming. As a result, we now have accordionists from all over the UK attending on a regular basis. Mondays are workshop in style, whilst Thursday has become our ‘night out’ play-along session, plus social hour after the music ends. This takes various forms and laughter is always the order of the day.

In 2021, BAB also diversified into GAB (Global Accordion Band). I lead this newly formed Zoom- group every fortnight, which is happily growing in number and comprises of players from all over the world including: Australia, Romania, USA, Canada, Belgium, Italy, Germany, and of course, England, Ireland and Scotland. We have yet to conquer Wales!

And finally…the Pandemic has given me the opportunity to truly stand back and reflect upon the now-and-then. I realise how much BAB has developed, not only in number, but in confidence, friendships and mutual support. It really feels like being part of an extended family and every player is welcomed into the BAB fold regardless of instrument, ability or age. Who knows exactly what the musical future holds, but we’ll definitely be back behind our beloved bellows just as soon as we can, as we’ve a Silver Anniversary to celebrate in 2022! I hope you all stay safe and well and playing music in the meantime.

Contact:

If you are interested in learning to play the accordion from scratch, polishing up your current skills, joining a BAB or GAB Zoom session, or better still joining Bradford Accordion Band LIVE, please make urgent contact with me TODAY, because there’s really no time like the accordion- present!

anita.basic@googlemail.com

www.bradfordaccordionband.org.uk

Facebook: Bradford Accordion Band

Accordion Tuition

Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley 3.11.19.

We are pleased to be playing a selection of music at the beautiful Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley during Sunday afternoon 3rd November 2019 commencing at 2pm. Entry is free into the museum and for the performance.

More details here

Saturday Night at the Movies 5.10.2019.

Don’t miss our next spectacular concert at Bingley Arts Center on 5th October 2019

Still a few tickets remaining

A Christmas Cracker 2018

You are invited to attend BAB’s annual Christmas get together Thursday 6th December 2018 (7.30pm) at The Dubrovnik Hotel, Bradford. £10 tickets includes a hot supper (pie, peas & chunky chips), music, dance, comedy and plenty of audience participation! Bar & raffle in aid of BAB music funds. Please wear seasonal dress.
ADVANCE TICKETS available via any BAB member or via our website www.bradfordaccordionband.org or call our MD on 07787 567710 (Anita).

£5000 raised for Charity

Members of BAB are very proud to announce that we have raised a whopping £5000 in aid of Manorlands Hospice (Sue Ryder). The donation is a combination of 2 events: Swap, Shop & Quaff (organised by BAB Ladies) and our BAB 2018 Grand Charity Show at Bingley Arts Centre: ‘Around The World in 80 Minutes’. We should like to thank our sponsors, audience, helpers, members, performers (all 70 of you!) and supporters for your generous contributions.

Bradford Ukrainian Club Beer Festival 10.11.2018.

Catch our next performance at “Pyvofest” on Saturday, 10th November – The Ukrainian Club, Legrams Lane, Bradford at 5.30pm where there will ‘beer’ clinking, drinking, swaying & playing!

See what happened here

Around The World In 80 Minutes 29.09.18.

TICKETS PLEASE! Only 17 days since we went live with “Around The World in 80 Minutes” in aid of Sue Ryder- Manorlands Hospice and more than 70 (of the best) tickets are already sold! So, please don’t miss your seat on our energetic, unforgettable journey of live music, song and dance from across the globe. Featuring special guest stars: the stringworthy “Otley Ukulele Orchestra”, the sublime “Sisters of Serbia” and the inimitable “Bazzmatazz”!
Departure Date: Saturday, 29th September 2018
For tickets: telephone Bingley Arts Centre Box Office- 01274 567983 or buy direct online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/bingleyartscentre

To see a promo by BAZZ at our dress rehearsal click here

On stage at Bingley Arts Centre Click Here

Over £2,500 Raised for Alzheimer’s

Bradford Accordion Band’s recent sell out concert at Bingley Arts Centre raised over £2,500 for the Alzheimer’s charity.  It was decided to support this charity following the death of one of its former members to the disease earlier this year.

The band was joined on stage by Bradford caberet singers ‘Encore’ and Halifax dance troup ‘Bazzmattazz‘ who each added their own talented performances to provide an entertaining evening. Read what the audience said here.

 

Rock Around The Clock 30.9.17.

It’s official! BAB is celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2017 and in order to mark the occasion, we will be performing alongside some very special guests in a Variety Show entitled “Rock Around The Clock – A Trip Down Memory Lane” with all proceeds donated to Alzheimer’s Society.

Saturday, 30th September at Bingley Arts Centre – 7.30pm . Bar and raffle. All tickets £10. Please help us support this worthy cause. Tickets are now available from the Arts Centre Box Office on 01274 567983 or online via ticketsource: www: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/bingleyartscentre

Bazz is getting in a tizzy about the forthcoming concert
https://www.facebook.com/bazzmatazz/videos/10156055704213352/

Paul from ‘Encore’ Bazz ‘Bazzmatazz’ and Anita in the studio at Bradford Community Broadcasting radio station after talking about the forthcoming event.