Accordion in the closet

Monik Nordine plays her passion at Hermann's Jazz Club

Monik Nordine and her Trio perform at Hermann’s Jazz Club, May 24.

Monik Nordine and her Trio perform at Hermann’s Jazz Club, May 24.

You can thank her Swedish grandmother for Monik Nordine’s passion for music.

“My grandmother bought me an accordion when I was nine. I think one of my dad’s flaky friends sold it to her, much to my parent’s horror,” says the jazz musician. “I loved it! The sound that came out of it! I taught myself to read music and I wouldn’t stop.”

She loved the squeezebox so much that she would hide it in the car before family road trips.

“I would stash it in the car when we went on camping trips and would wait until we had gone too far to turn around and I would pull it out and start playing it in the car,” she says with a laugh.

The accordion led to the piano which led to the saxophone in Grade 6 band.

“Once I started band in Grade 6, I picked the saxophone. My dad was a big jazz fan and I grew up listening to Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden – those are my two favourites.”

Nordine, who grew up on Salt Spring Island, still keeps in touch with high school band teacher Wilf Davies, who she remembers organizing the Gulf Islands Secondary school band to play in the Victoria Day Parade. “We weren’t a marching band and he tried to get us to march – it was just awful,” she laughs.

Davies eventually found a truck, bolted music stands to the base and ran a P.A. system powered by a generator. “Then we just had to play louder than the generator. It was such good fun.”

Nordine, who now lives in Victoria, still meets up with Davies, who has retired to Sidney, each year and the two watch the parade together.

“Wilf gave me the opportunity to play. We went to workshops, festivals in Port Alberni and Nanaimo. Back then, there was funding for all of that stuff, we travelled with the band on trips to Oregon and Washington State, took part in festivals on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.”

She graduated in 1984 and quickly crossed the water to Vancouver.

“I first started gigging in Vancouver after high school. In the early 80’s there were not many jazz programs. Jazz education has blossomed since that time,” says Nordine, who now teaches at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

Nordine attended Vancouver Community College and studied saxophone with David Branter. “In Vancouver I met great musicians, started having jam sessions and working with amazing musicians.”

She eventually completed a Masters Degree at McGill University, worked with a variety of jazz musicians and began composing her own music.

“It was an exciting time, there were incredible players, active energy and late-night sessions. We’d go to (Gastown’s) Classical Joint at all hours and just play.”

Returning to Salt Spring in 2000, she organized and is the artistic director of the Salt Spring Jazz Festival. Nordine moved to Saanich in 2013 and along with teaching at the conservatory runs the Victoria Jazz Orchestra and recently formed a jazz trio with pianist Brent Jarvis, and bassist Bruce Meikle. The Monik Nordine Trio performs at Hermann’s Jazz Club, 753 View St., on May 24 at 7:30pm.

There will, however, be no accordion.

“I still have one. I pull it out and try to play jazz standards on it and my family hates it. It’s hard to play certain chords, you have to make all these contortions – it’s hilarious. I don’t play in public though,” she laughs.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Lantzville singer Raymond Salgado will sing ‘O Canada’ before the Vancouver Canucks’ upcoming game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 17. (Photo submitted)
Lantzville singer to perform ‘O Canada’ at Vancouver Canucks game

Raymond Salgado scheduled to sing the anthem at Rogers Arena later this month

Nanaimo children’s entertainer Steve Romanik, represented by his character Mountain Dweller, is giving away his songs and stories to help raise money for children’s causes. (Photo courtesy Steve Romanik)
Nanaimo children’s entertainer ‘Mountain Dweller’ helping raise money for kids’ causes

Steve Romanik partnering with Nanaimo Child Development Centre, B.C. Children’s Hospital

“Racing Classics” by John Horton depicts sailboats near Trial Island off the coast of Oak Bay. The painting will be featured in his <em>Maritime Impressions</em> exhibit at the Winchester Gallery until April 14.
Greater Victoria galleries beckon spring with vibrant, whimsical nature scenes

At The Galleries: look at what’s on display this month

‘We Are All Beautiful’ by Elise Cole and ‘The Modern Thrall’ by Enigye (Happy) Amarkah (from left) are two of the pieces featured in VIU’s Anti-Racism Arts Festival. (Images courtesy the artists)
Vancouver Island University holds first Anti-Racism Arts Festival

Three-day online event to feature visual arts, performance, film and poetry

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Most Read