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Anja Rockstroh – A new factory of bandonions

The manufacture of the bandonions in this factory in Germany stopped in 1942 because of the second world war. It began again then, then was expropriée in 1948 and in 1952, it integrated “Klingenthaler Harmonikawerke” and the manufacture of the bandonions definitively stopped in Carlsfeld in 1964.

At that time in Argentina, nobody any more buys bandonions and everyone listens to Beatles.

For a few years, several attempts at new manufacture have had place with more or month of success, but it seems that those which tested these new instruments, consider that that is not worth even anymore the sorrow to buy of old instruments which one must repair whereas those are new and with a really exceptional sound.
Meet with Anja Rockstroh, impassioned allemande who manufacturedagain bandonion and which finally makes it possible this instrument tocontinue its musical adventure in the purest tradition of legendary Alfred Arnold (famous “doble A”).

A small revolution for those which dreamed some!
SB: Since how many years the bandonions were not manufactured any more and which was your motivation ?

The instruments have not been manufactured in this form for approximately 40 years. I find important that such a tradition is perpetuated. Of course, which pushed us with refabriquer bandonions is also the love that we dedicate to the tango.Personally, I like the sound of this instrument and his enthralling history.
SB: How and how long you put to reach the quality of today? Which old and new material do you use?

We spent approximately four years, with tops and bottoms. We use traditional materials exclusively to manufacture our instruments. The most important elements are the blades and the combs blade holders. We succeeded in getting the same zinc to uswhich was used formerly and thus influencing in a decisive way qualityof the instruments.
SB: How were held the various stages between the idea of refabriquer and the possibility of proposing new instruments today ?

We analyzed during several months all materials, and bought a very good old bandonion to measure all the parts of them. Then we got the tools necessary to manufacture. As I already mentioned, that took much time to us, and several times, we thought of not being able to conclude our project. In these moments of doubt, Rocco Boness, a German bandoneonist, supported us much. It is also a tuner and recognized restorer of bandonions. Thus we approached the goal little by little. Each bandonion east guarantees two years and can be personalized.
SB: Can you describe me the places? Can one come to see you ?

It acts of an old factory with Klingenthal. The factory is an old property of the family, where musical instruments were already manufactured before the war by my ancestors. Klingenthal is with Center-Is of Germany, in the “Vogtland”. This small city is as famous for the possibilities as it offers to the amateurs winter sports.

We are delighted by any visit to our factory. You will find there us Monday at the 7 a.m. Friday to 5 p.m.. Our Internet site,  contains inter alia a plan of access to our factory.
SB: How much are you to work and which are your roles in this team ?

In this moment, we have four employees. As for me, Iam responsible for the sales department.
SB: Will you make presentations in other countries ?

I will try to make known our instruments in all the countries where the bandonion is played, and I would wish that our instruments be recognized and are played in the whole world. I always will fight for that and hopes as well as the history of the bandonion will continue to be written.
SB: Which are currently your “ambassadors”, in other words, which are the musicians who already bought you bandonions ?

We carried out many research on the bandonion these last years. For approximately seven months, we have had finally a bandonion which sounds like the old instruments. We had to traverse a long way to arrive from there there. It seems important to us to weave close links with the Academies of Music of France and the Netherlands, so that their pupils buy our bandonions. These last months, of many bandoneonists of reputation tested our instruments (Marcelo Nisinman, Carel Kraayenhof…). One of the most known musicians who bought a bandonion on our premises is Victor Villena, who lives in Paris.

SB: Do you have a personal bond with Argentina ?

I had the occasion to meet Julia Pugliese (the widow of Osvaldo Pugliese) at the time of a concert in Rotterdam. It was shown very enthusiastic when it listened to one of our instruments, manufactured like old the Alfred Arnold. I met at the same placeColor Tango, in which it idea also rained much. I will go in allthe cases to Argentina this year, there to contact the professionals and to present the instruments to them.

SB: How many different bandonions y-a it ?

We have two Argentinian models, 110 (for children) and 142(diatonic traditional), two chromatic models, 148 and 146 and one model Concertina 106 of Carlsfeld.
SB: They are German’s who buys some to you? Will the German tradition with the bandonion profit from the dash of this new manufacture ? 

SB: For me, it is especially important that the soloists and virtuosos of the scene of the tango rediscover the instrument. We will be this year also with the Living room of the Music withFrankfort, from the 6 to April 9, in hall 3.1, stand F 20.
SB: Do you intend to return to you to Argentina? 

Yes, I would go in December with the Orchestra of Rotterdam, to present our bandonions in Argentina, the very same day where we will célèbrerons the 100 years of the birth of Osvaldo Pugliese to the Theatre Colonist.
Interview carried out and translated from German by Anna Guyenot on February 11, 2005 in Rotterdam for Solange Bazely

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