Saturday, September 12, 2015

"Bon Tee Cajun" by Larry Miller

Accordion: "Bon Tee Cajun"
Builder: Larry Miller
Years: 1980-present

Larry was born of predominately Acadian ancestry (Leger, LeJeune, Cormier and etc.) and reared in Acadia Parish near Iota in the heart of the Prairie Cajun region. He grew up speaking only Cajun French, like most of his age group in the late 30's and 40's, and had to learn English upon entering school. His father Abraham played accordion well while his older brother James Calvin played guitar and later accordion with Larry on the triangle and spoons. Later, after spending 22 years in the Acadia Parish School system as a science & math teacher and eventually principal, retired to enter business, then retired from business to devote full time to preservation of Cajun Culture. Among his endeavors in this area as a charter member of the Cajun French Music Association he worked for 10 years as various officers to become the National Gov. Body President for 1989-91.

In addition he plays in a Cajun Band and has helped to organize several ongoing jam sessions where new comers are helped along.

Before Larry retired from the school system he began to build accordions as a hobby just because the thought of his people producing these machines by hand was intriguing. Later he learned to build triangles because his father built them, then added the Cajun style spoons in a handle and the vest type scrubboard (frattoir) to his line of instruments. With some part-time help he also has a complete line of accordion parts to service other builders.

Bon Tee Cajun Accordions are custom made with the best handmade reeds that Italian factories can offer (nobody manufactures reeds and bellows in USA to speak of) as well as premium Italian bellows. For 18 years Larry has worked on his building skills and the design of the fingerboard and bass boxes to develop optimum comfort and response.

All accordions are sanded very smoothly, two coats of vinyl sealer, resanded very fine and then four coats of catalyzed semi-satin lacquer. All screws are stainless steel and all other materials are of the best quality. Leather straps are made of top grain cowhide in the Bon Tee Cajun shop. These instruments are keyed like harmonicas and can come in any key desired. The most popular keys in order of preference to date are, Keys of C, D, Bb, A, F, & G. 

For a new Bon Tee Cajun Accordion, Larry offers a free tuning after about 100 hours of playing when the breaking-in period of the new reeds has occurred. Like most accordion builders he also repairs and tunes other accordions.

886 McMillian
Iota, Louisiana, 70543
Phone: +1 (337) 779-2456
Fax: +1 (337) 779-3080


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