Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter, Sideman, Reunited with Beloved Accordion
According to a copyright story by News on 6, the most photographed Chinese accordion in the world has been returned to Radoslav “Rad” Lorković, after having been MIA for 9 months. The accordion disappeared at Tulsa’s Brady Theatre after a Woody Guthrie tribute concert.
The little red accordion made its way back to Rad after the Mayo Hotel gave it to an employee during a routine cleanout of unclaimed lost and found items. The employee gave the accordion to his wife, Natasha Taylor, as a Christmas present, but when she saw the festival stickers on the instrument case, she realized it must have been very special to its previous owner.
I saw all the stickers on it and thought,Wow this is clearly traveled and obviously really special to somebody,so I wondered why nobody had come back for it.
Ms. Taylor did some reseach on the internet and quickly discovered the accordion’s provenance. A phone number written on the instrument case put her in touch with Rad while he was celebrating Christmas with family in Connecticut. The accordion has since been returned to him. It’s a Chinese-made mass-produced model given to him in Italy over 20 years ago. Together with its case, it’s worth far more in sentimental value than in dollars.
Soon after the accordion was originally reported stolen, Italian accordion manufacturer Dino Baffetti donated a hand-made replacement (pictured above), to the musician. Baffetti was featured in a story about the Italian accordion industry on NPR.
Hardest Working Accordionist in the Business
Born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1958 and raised in the midwestern US, Rad is a fixture at the annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah. As a member of the festival house band, he spends practically every moment on 1 of the 3 stages, playing either keyboard or accordion. His broad smile has been the subject of thousands of photographs taken at festivals and shows all over the world. Rad is a highly sought-after sideman, appearing on scores of musical recordings.
An accomplished writer and singer in his own right, Rad cites influences ranging from classical and jazz to raw blues, country and soul. Residents of central Oklahoma were lucky to see his November performance for the Performing Arts Studio’s Winter Wind Concerts; the gallery accompanying this article features my photographs of that concert.
I’ve been enjoying Rad’s musicianship at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival for many years, and had the pleasure of sharing lunch with him on the centennial of Guthrie’s birth this past July. He was due to perform on the Brick Stage and ducked into the restaurant where I happened to be dining for a bite. Noticing my Leica, he struck up a conversation. It happens that Rad is a long-time photography enthusiast; in high school he was a regular darkroom rat, and he is quite familiar with 35mm rangefinders, including Leicas. We wound up discussing photography for nearly an hour — not once did the subject of music come up — and he snapped a couple of pictures of me with my M3, which I still haven’t developed. You can see his photography on his Facebook page and his SmugMug portfolio. I took this picture of him in the restaurant.
Radoslav “Rad” Lorković returned to Norman to appear in his 2nd Winter Wind concert at the Norman Depot/Performing Arts Studio in early November. Here are some pictures.