Friday, December 3, 2021

He’s the Brusque Mr. Fix-It for Mexico City’s Accordions - The New York Times

Last updated Wednesday, November 24, 2021 10:00 ET , Source: NewsService

For 50 years, Francisco Luis Ramírez has been the go-to guy for instrument repairs in a nation that reveres the accordion. Now it’s a family business.

MEXICO CITY — “Your accordion is a piece of garbage.” Francisco Luis Ramírez shook his head. The old man was carefully inspecting the dusty instrument that I’d brought to his workshop, and he had seen enough. “Una porquería! I cannot fix this. Well, I could, but it would make more sense for you to buy a better one.”

He put down his cigarette and picked up another accordion that was sitting on his wooden worktable. It was large and white and shiny. “Now, this is an accordion. Italian-made. Listen.”

He began to play, and suddenly, thick-sounding notes filled the small, dark room. I looked around: All along the white walls were shelves crammed with skeletons from the past half-century of his work: wood casings, sagging bellows, and mangled keyboards that looked like irreparably crooked teeth. The room itself smelled like a mix of cigarette smoke, musty wood and drying glue.

Here — in a side office, up the stairs of an unmarked building hidden away on a block of the city center jammed with flashy music stores that used thumping loudspeakers to attract customers — was the workshop of one of this city’s oldest and most venerated accordion repairmen.

Day after day, for nearly 50 years, he has been visited by musicians — mariachis and norteños, buskers and maestros — gently cradling their injured instruments like small children. He...

Read Full Story: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/24/arts/music/accordion-repair-francisco-luis-ramirez.html

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