Johnny Meijer

    • John Appel
    • Netherlands
    • 1993
    • 50 min
    Amsterdam-based Johnny Meijer is generally considered the world's best accordion player. He became the talk of the town in the fifties when he did many shows abroad and received the honorary title of 'King of the accordion'. Accordion-music is often associated with mellow tunes and jigging crowds, but Johnny Meijer's music was of another sort. He regularly played Jordanese singalongs, to be sure, but in addition he also played super-fast swing, Rumanian and classical music. He earned international recognition as a jazz-accordionist.The discrepancy between jazz and American folk music determined his entire musical career. He declined invitations to go and play in America, for instance. He was too much attached to the Amsterdam working-class district 'de Jordaan' to leave it for a long period of time. And a folk musician is what he remained, along with his cousin Manke Nelis who passed away recently.Although his name remained a household name and his 75th birthday was still celebrated with performances in the 'BIM-huis' and at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Meijer's career slowly came to a dead end. In his final years he was hardly asked to do shows anymore, partly due to his unpredictable character and dipsomania. At the end of his life, the 'King of the accordion' played gigs at weddings and parties and spent his days in boredom and loneliness.The film JOHNNY MEIJER is a portrait of an accordion virtuoso in the twilight of his career. The first shots were made when Meijer went to buy a tuxedo for a guest appearance in the Amsterdam 'Concertgebouw'. This performance was to be his last: two weeks later, on 8 January 1992 he passed away at the age of 79. The documentary shows how Johnny Meijer lives on in the minds of the people who have been close to him, particularly his son Cor.

    Credits

    • 50 min
    • color
    • 16mm
    Director
    John Appel
    Production
    Ruud Monster for Jura Filmprodukties, Jan Heijs for Jura Filmprodukties
    Cinematography
    Brigit Hillenius
    Editing
    Teun Pfeil
    Sound
    Mark Glynne, Pepijn Abel, Simon Ijspeert

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