Page of

From Chanky-Chank to Yankee Chanks

From Chanky-Chank to Yankee Chanks

The Cajun Accordion as Identity Symbol

Chapter:
(p.44) 3 From Chanky-Chank to Yankee Chanks
Source:
The Accordion in the Americas
Author(s):
Mark F. Dewitt
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037207.003.0004

The diatonic button accordion has been played by musicians the world over, but it has attained a uniquely prominent status in Louisiana Cajun culture. Over the decades, this one particular type of accordion has served as a tabula rasa onto which have been projected changing views of Cajun music and the status of Cajun ethnic identity. This chapter shows how the changing politics of identity in post-civil rights America has enabled Cajuns to turn the accordion's (and their own) “chanky-chank” (low-class) stigma into a powerful symbol of ethnic identity and pride. Cajuns' renewed interest in and valuation of accordion music has also spilled over to a young generation of musicians, including non-Cajun “Yankee chank” accordion players.

Keywords:   Cajun culture, Cajun music, ethnic identity, diatonic button accordion, musical instruments, low class, Louisiana

Sign In

Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy and Legal Notice