Rad (XIV)

Radoslav Lorković’s Best Christmas Ever

The Story

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.

Natasha Taylor, Musician’s Missing Accordion Lands Under Tulsan’s Christmas Tree

Ms. Taylor did some research 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.

Rad (XVIII) — Radoslav “Rad” Lorković Winter Wind Concert, Norman, Oklahoma

Soon after the accor­dion was orig­i­nally reported stolen, Italian accor­dion man­u­fac­turer Dino Baffetti donated a hand-made replace­ment (pic­tured above), to the musi­cian. Soon after the accor­dion was orig­i­nally reported stolen, a pri­vate donor joined with the Grammy MusiCares fund to donate a hand-made Dino Baffetti accor­dion (pic­tured above) to the musi­cian. Baffetti was recently 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.

Rad Tells a Story (II)
Rad Tells a Story (II) — Radoslav “Rad” Lorković Winter Wind Concert, Norman, Oklahoma

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.


The Gallery

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.

About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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