About SAFRA

Welcome to the South African Free Reed Association! This association is a public non-profit organisation that is dedicated to the development of the accordion, bandoneon, diatonic accordion and other free reed instruments. 

Our Goals:

  • The promotion of the accordion, bandoneon, diatonic accordion and other free reed instruments at teaching institutions and on local and international level.
  • The creation of a platform through which qualified musicians could interact and collaborate on a cultural and technical level.
  • The development through the progress of the musicians, improvement of the level of performance and the perfection of teaching methods
  • The development of the art of music in word and deed in every way possible and especially through the promotion of the accordion and other free reed instruments.

Please contact us if you have any further questions. To register then register here

Message from the President

Welcome and thank you for visiting our website. 

We are excited to announce the launch of the South African Free Reed Association (SAFRA), the home of the accordion, bandoneon, concertina, diatonic accordions, and other free reed instruments. Our extremely talented executive committee and representatives of SAFRA are working hard to ensure the success of this newly founded association.

We invite all of you as musicians, teachers, and all of you that are interested in accordions, bandoneons, diatonic accordions and other free reed instruments. Be a part of this amazing journey we are undertaking and become a member at no cost.

Explore our website. See news, competitions, upcoming events, our associates, and teachers in your area.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Claudio Alho

Executive and Founding Members

Claudio Alho - President

Claudio was born on 9th December 1997. He was a part of a traditional folklore group and at the age of 4 he fell in love with the accordion. He got his first 8 bass accordion at 4 years old and ever since, his love for the instrument grew.

In the later years Claudio wanted to play more than just traditional music and that is when he came across the world of classical accordions and then studied the classical way of the instrument.

Claudio strives to promote the accordion and to see the accordion as an instrument grow in South Africa. He has caught a loving in the world of digital accordions and using it to try appeal to the younger generation in South Africa. His passion grows stronger day by day with his business Accordion Clinic SA where he repairs accordions and by being one of the founding members of SAFRA.

Loren Ehlers - Vice President

Born the 23rd October 2003, Loren discovered music at the age of 6 learning to play the violin. When he was 8 he was first introduced to the accordion when his Italian grandmother brought home a small, bright pink Horner from Italy. Loren began taking lessons with Sergio Zampolli that same year and continues with Sergio as his teacher to this day.

Loren’s passion and admiration for the instrument continues to grow as the versatility of the instrument has no limit in sight. The accordion can play anything from simple folk tunes to grand classical works and exploring this variety is one of Loren’s greatest pleasures.

Under Sergio’s teachings, Loren has participated in various accordion competitions placing 7th in the 18 & Under V/J/WM category of the Trophèe Mondial Del’Accordèon International Open Trophy in 2020, achieving a Bronze Award in the Junior Variety category of the BCA International Anniversary  Festival in 2021 and achieving a Gold Medal and placing 3rd in the Student Junior Virtuoso  Accordion Category of the 12 °Italia Award world accordion contest in 2021. Loren aims to promote the growth of the accordion community and will continue his musical education while promoting this wonderful instrument.

Jessica Davis - Facebook Promotions

My name is Jessica Hobbs Davis and I am a representative member of SAFRA. I was born on the 10th of August 2005. I started playing the piano when I was 8 years old and two years from then I started playing the accordion. At first I was not very fond of the feeling of playing an instrument blindly, but it was a challenge and I’m not one to easily turn down a challenge. Every time  I pick up the instrument I learn something new and in conclusion there is never a dull moment. I would like to help the accordion grow in South Africa and give more South Africans the opportunity to find their true love in this instrument. Although I still have lots to learn, I would never exchange anything in the world for my accordion.

Ilza Strydom - CMA Delegate (Diatonic Accordion and Concertina)

Ilza was born on 14 December 1994. She grew up with ‘ Boeremusiek’ otherwise known as traditional folk music. In 2018 she found her way to her passion for Boeremusiek and the concertina instrument when she was invited by older of age friends to go to a function. Many young people consider this music genre as for old people only and it is not popular with the youth. But look at her she is currently the youngest female and enthusiast for the concertina instrument and she promotes boeremusiek and the concertina. Her passion and dedication is an inspiration to many old and young people as she continues to carry forth this music tradition. She started at the age of 24 with concertina lessons and her mentor borrowed her his concertina to give her time to figure out how the instrument works and if she wants to pursue this passion. She bought her first concertina in 2020 and has since then been playing the instrument with various local musicians especially ‘boeremusikante’

She is currently a committee member of the Tradisionele Boeremusiekklub van Suid-Afrika and she recently became a National Delegate for the CMA

She aims to promote and expand the boeremusiek culture and the concertina instrument amongst youth and older people who want to learn more about the concertina

Sergio Zampolli - CMA Delegate South Africa

Started playing the accordion at the age of nine in Italy and carried on in SA when my family immigrated in 1955. It was just a hobby nothing else but that.

Entered various National competition with then The South African Accordion Association where I reached top awards in the classical category.

When I left the competitive world of competition I joined a band were I played for many years commercial music, still as a hobby.

I eventually joined the Airline Industry were I made a career for 25 years subsequently the manufacturing world in the mining/electro-electronic market as Sales Marketing Manager.

Accordion is still a serious hobby for me, now I am busy teaching via our school of music new generation of accordion players and help them to achieve their dreams as musicians or just enjoying playing this versatile instrument the Accordion.

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