I am a professional accordionist and have been for the last 15 years. I studied Serbian Romani accordion intensively in Serbia for several years, and went on to form www.faithibranko.com - with whom I have toured internationally and had albums placed in the Top 10 European World Music Charts and The Rough Guides to World Jazz. Those in my local area in South London may have seen me perform at beloved local venues such as Herne Hill Music Festival and Off The Cuff, and further afield I have performed at The Royal Festival Hall, Glastonbury, Guca Festival, at Radio 3 Live Sessions and onEuropean and Australian Tours.
Since COVID, my album release tour with World Music Records has been cancelled; all of my live performances - and therefore 90% of my income - cancelled for the near future, and have no self employment benefit. I currently 100% rely on my accordion for teaching and online work - in particular an upcoming University of London (SOAS) Online Roma Workshop Series. Without my accordion I cannot finish recording my album, practise - or generate any income.
My stolen Vignoni accordion..
My accordion was left briefly in my car whilst loading instruments outside my house in Herne Hill, South London - and I returned to find the window smashed and the accordion stolen. The police have now officially closed the case and my only hope of finding it is by continuing to search online and in local outlets, music shops and markets. My insurance doesn't cover for theft from a car.
It is a quite unique instrument - double octave and double cassotto - and specific for playing the style of music that I perform. It had huge sentimental value, and was also an expensive instrument. It was also fitted with internal microphones and an external microphone that I spent years sourcing in Serbia. I spoke at length to Allodi Accordions on the replacement cost for it all, and he supplied the figure £6000 for a similar replacement (it's very unlikely to be able to find the exact same one) including the microphones. Here is a model being sold online that is similar, without the microphones http://www.accordionlounge.com/vignoni-ravel-2-bx-96-bass-accordion.html for £4985. The microphones that were in the bag that was stolen cost me £1100.
I shared a poster for the return of my accordion on facebook, and many people have suggested that I crowdfund for it and that they would like to donate. I cannot describe in words just how grateful I would be to be able to replace this accordion: I will be able to finish and release my album which is due for online release in September, and continue teaching, practising and making a small income.
If you would like to see my work - my main project is www.faithibranko.com
facebook.com/faithibranko instagram/faithibranko - and you can also contact me on 07575298229 or on facebook.com/faithaccordion1.
What if my stolen accordion is found one day?
Upon feedback of donors so far: if the accordion is found some day soon or in the future, then I shall give each donor the choice as to whether they would like their money returned upon the selling of one of them, or whether they would like it to be donated to an NGO that I am in the process of finalising in Serbia. It assists with healthcare and living needs for specific Romani individuals and families in the Valjevo region: this includes mental health care; diabetic treatment; building and sanitary assistance, and provision of essential health items such as hearing aids. These individuals are often musicians or in a musical family.
Thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart x x x x x