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Accordions were Heavy, Awkward and Annoying

When multi-instrumentalist Onah Indigo first picked up the accordion, she had to put it down. It was heavy, awkward, annoying.

Yet eventually, she found an idiosyncratic stance that puts the instrument center stage, while defying its limitations. Like the push and pull of bellows, this tension generates a quirky blast of energy. Add club beats, underground MCs, freaky variations on deceptively familiar keys, a bit of surrealist wit, and a rebellious fight for greater openness, and you have noaccordion.

Onah Indigo is a woman warrior, producer, songwriter, musical story teller and performer who isn’t afraid to face an audience armed with only her accordion, Bella, and a heart full of song. The musical story she makes as noaccordion blends hints of classical, folk, downtempo, trap, crunk, glitch hop, drum ‘n’ bass, electro swing and house, but Indigo puts her own singular spin on the dizzying, electronic storm she creates with her jazzy vocals and lively accordion vamps.

Hooked on Electronic Music

Embracing wide ranging influences comes naturally to noaccordion. Onah got hooked on electronic club music during the first big wave of techno, drum ‘n’ bass, and jungle that swept Europe in the early 90s. It became a musical fascination, one she honed over the years, in response to changing sounds on the electronic music scene, sounds that come through loud and clear on the trap-inspired instrumental “Frey”.

Rhythmic experiences from other traditions and genres, from samba to jazz, have infiltrated her beats, expanding the 4/4 tendencies of many club tracks. “I want to feel the internal pulse in my body,” Onah explains. “When you’re in a samba band, you dance as you walk to the beat. You internalize the pulse and then lay your polyrhythms on top,” an approach that creates intriguing tracks.

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Finding the Freak

“I call my project noaccordion for a reason. People have strong reactions to the instrument. Most people love it; it often reminds them of their cultural past. But some people can’t stand it. It’s a particular sound, designed to be played outdoors and loudly,” she says. “I may not play it a few years from now. It may not appear in my repertoire. I don’t want to be defined by it.” But of course, sometimes noaccordion includes accordion: “I like to break rules,” laughs Onah. “Even my own.”

Finding the freak in plain sight is part of accepting freakiness and growing in love. “I had a huge heart opening some years ago,” Onah recounts. “I’ve learned to that to keep my heart open I must maintain a fierceness. A warrior’s love. Even if people are knocking me down, I fight to stay in that place of love, starting first and foremost with myself.” It’s a fight worth fighting, and one that resonates beautifully on the dancefloor.