2011 Honorary Director
Folk musician, rock-n-roller, street performer, accordion teacher, instrument repair tech, groove addict.
Renée grew up loving French culture and rock ’n’ roll. She played piano and guitar as a kid, then fell in love with the button accordion one night backstage at a Shane MacGowan and the Popes concert. Irish music, Zydeco, and her ten-year stint as a street performer led to her current configuration: a button accordion in a low-slung harness, a stomp box, and a funky fusion of old Celtic melodies with Blues soul and Rock power. Look for her in the Irish-Zydeco-powerhouse band Culann’s Hounds; or else find her rocking under a street light on a Sunday night in North Beach. Her other projects include the female Americana trio Whiskey and Women, recording tracks for many bands, and hacking the bass side of her button accordions so they can play an amazingly diverse amount of music. Last winter, she went on tour with Jason Webley and the Monsters of the Accordion. Renée is also the creator and editor of the Accordion Babes Album and Pin-Up Calendar, which showcases the songs and exotic photos of female artists from the U.S. and abroad.
When she’s not performing, Renée works at Smythe’s Accordion Center in Oakland, CA, where she’s the resident button accordion specialist and teacher. With her laughing, boot-stomping, high-energy shows and wild pink hair, she’s a hard woman to forget.