By MICHAEL GRANBERRY / The Dallas Morning News
Published: January 9, 2013 6:16 PM
Radoslav Lorkovic is an amazing musician. He plays a mean piano, as anyone who has seen him with Jimmy LaFave’s band at Poor David’s Pub will attest. But he also plays a mean accordion, and you know those accordion players: They get extremely attached to the instruments they play. They don’t like hearing the old joke about the guy who left his accordion in an unlocked car, and when he returned, what did he have? Two accordions.
Lorkovic loves his accordion, so it was especially upsetting to the Croatian-born musician (whom I profiled in this 2010 piece for Arts & Life) to have his accordion stolen or at the very least disappear during a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in Tulsa, Okla., during 2012. By the time Lorkovic sang Guthrie’s “The Jolly Banker” during the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Okla., Guthrie’s hometown, last July, during the centennial of Guthrie’s birth, he had a new accordion. He was also playing a new accordion when he played with LaFave during the opening weekend of Klyde Warren Park. The new accordion was nice, but it just wasn’t the same.
Fast forward to Christmas morning 2012, when Natasha Taylor was unwrapping a gift from her husband at their Tulsa home.
“The accordion was gorgeous,” she told Channel 6 in Tulsa. “It’s beautiful, red and just totally shiny. Looked like it was in perfect condition.”
Her husband works at a Tulsa hotel where he found the accordion in Lost & Found, where no one had claimed it. He got approval to take it home. Lorkovic told the TV station that he was given the accordion on a tour of Italy 21 years ago. He had even called the hotel to ask if they’d seen it, to no avail.
“I took my eyes away from the accordion for maybe 10 seconds, I look back, it was gone, it was gone,” Lorkovic told Channel 6 in Tulsa.
His beloved red accordion lived in a case decorated with 20 years’ worth of festival stickers, each one of which carries a story of its own, Lorkovic says.
“I saw all the stickers on it and thought, ‘Wow this is clearly traveled and obviously really special to somebody,’ so I wondered why nobody had come back for it,” Taylor told the TV station.
She found a name on one of the stickers that led to a Google search and a phone number, which led to Lorkovic.
“I guess it was bittersweet, because it was a beautiful accordion, but it wasn’t my accordion,” Taylor told Channel 6 in Tulsa.
“We were having a wonderful Christmas at my mom’s in Connecticut, and get the phone and see the 918 and think this could be one of my friend’s from Tulsa, who knows?” Lorkovic told the TV station.
As the station reported: “Instead, on the other end of the line, [it was] a complete stranger, Natasha back in Tulsa, with the greatest gift Lorkovic could ever get. ‘It’s my baby of 21 years,’ he said. And Natasha was able to give it back.”
Said Natasha in the Channel 6 interview:
“It was truly like a Christmas miracle, because I’d wanted an accordion, but being able to return it him, just to hear his voice, he was so excited and he said, ‘I’m gonna be dancing around here all day,’ ” she said. “He was just totally moved and for me it was like the coolest gift I could give to somebody.”
As the station reported, Natasha sent it back, expecting nothing in return, but as the Tulsa report noted: “Lorkovic said he already has plans in motion to send his thanks to Taylor. ‘Well, I tell you, she says she doesn’t really want anything, but I’m gonna keep an eye out and I’ll see if I can find a nice little accordion,’ Lorkovic said. He thinks someone may have turned his accordion in to the hotel sometime after seeing the first story that aired on News On 6. He also has plans to play in the Tulsa area again in July.”