Legendary Cajun Accordion Maker Randy Falcon Dead at 69
Legendary accordion maker Randy Falcon passed away over the weekend from complications of Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 69.
The tributes to Mr. Falcon poured in over the weekend from some of Acadiana's notable Cajun musicians.
The Crowley native is not only known for making great accordions, but also for creating and patenting the double accordion some 25 years ago.
His invention allowed the diatonic accordion to play in two keys instead of one, marking the first change in the instrument since its invention in 1885.
The Falcon name is synonymous with accordions and Cajun music. One of Randy's cousins, Joe Falcon, made Cajun music's first commercial recording back in 1928 with "Allons a Lafayette."
Falcon got the idea to create the double accordion while watching Wayne Toups perform one day in the late 1980s. He noticed Toups having to change accordions quickly in the middle of songs. It was necessary since each accordion only played in one key.
"His building was magnificent," Toups told The Acadiana Advocate. "I truly believe that Randy's tuning was the best. He made a big impact on the young accordion players. He was a musician who knew what he wanted in an accordion to make it better and play the best."
Randy Falcon stopped making accordions last year after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
Rusty Sanner, who worked as an apprentice under Falcon and will now take over the brand, said he estimates that Randy Falcon made about 500 single accordions and 55 to 60 double accordions during his lifetime.
Wade Falcon, Randy's son, posted the following beautiful tribute to his dad over the weekend on Facebook:
Tonight will never be the same. For you, he was a Cajun musician. For others, he was an accordion builder. For others, he was a school teacher or mechanic. For me, he was my best man. I made him my best man for my wedding. He will remain my best man. I'll always love him. I have so much to share but my heart has been crushed. It's been a long time but he's at peace now. I love you dad. Until we see you again. Thank you for respecting our privacy.