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100 years later, accordions are still cool

To say Joe Petosa Jr. and his family are into accordions would not be doing them justice. The Petosa Accordion company goes back almost 100 years, when Carlo Petosa started hand crafting accordions in his Seattle basement. That tradition was passed down to Carlos’s son, Joe Petosa, then to his grandson, Joe Jr., and now onto his great grandson, Joe the third. The custom instruments they make are sought after all over the world.

“So on a typical, full sized professional instrument, they range from 5,000 to 7,500 parts. And then you get up into what you would call a concert instrument, and they can have up to 9,000 pieces.”

Those high-end instruments sell for as much as a new Camaro. That’s a lot of money for something that might seem, well, out of date. But Joe Jr. says accordions are back, big time. At the company’s headquarters in Lynwood, where shelf after shelf display nearly two centuries of accordion history, he explains how his family’s story intertwines with that of the squeezebox.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.