Joaquin Diaz Ola

Hyperactive accordion-driven merengue music from Montreal via the Dominican Republic. Diaz is an extremely dextrous player and the music is saved from claustrophobia by minimal accompaniment from a bassist and three percussionists. The (oddly uncredited) recording engineer panned each side of Diaz's squeeze box into separate stereo channels, which makes the recording sound even more vivid - it sounds like he's playing right in front of your head, and you can feel Diaz's crazed expression from the cover photo staring right through you. (Festival)