Power and passion. That’s Len Wallace’s style of delivery as he sings the tales of working people and thrills audiences with his virtuoso pyrotechnics on accordion. He’s performed for hundreds of thousands across Canada and the United States.
Len is from the Motor City capitol of Canada – Windsor, Ontario. He’s a singer and political songwriter. He’s also a world-class musician and winner of the Canadian National Accordion Championship.
There is pure energy in his musicianship. He’s been dubbed “The Squeezebox from Hell” with music that is about opening the doors with fiery intensity and engaging the audience with world-folk music. He’s taken what he calls “the people’s instrument” from concert halls to community halls, from folk festivals, clubs and pubs to picket lines and rallies. “Music,” he says, “has a purpose — to bring people together and tell of the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.” He quotes Ernst Fischer that “Society needs the artist, that supreme sorcerer, and it has a right to demand of him that he should be conscious of his social function.”
Catch him on concert tour and you’ll find him engaging the audience with South African “squashbox” stylings or weaving a tapestry of Celtic tunes with the Slavic music tradition. He’s there at rallies as the voice of working class protest and on the picket line he’s the man with a mission gathering people to sing together in solidarity like a modern day Woody Guthrie. On the folk festival scene he’s the ambassador for the accordion in the world of guitars.
He has three recordings to his credit and a fourth in the works. This is Len’s second appearance at the Cotati Festival.