Ralph Tufo Keeps the Audiences Moving Their Feet

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Accordion player Ralph Tufo is one of six members of the Squeezebox Stompers

Accordion player Ralph Tufo is one of six members of the Squeezebox Stompers

It is more than difficult to sit still when listening to the zydeco and Cajun music stylings of the Squeezebox Stompers.

Accordion player Ralph Tufo, master of the squeezebox, lives in Winthrop with his family and he used to be a teacher at the Winthrop Middle School where he taught reading, English and social studies. He also taught English and study skills at North Shore Community College.

Years ago Tufo also wrote and played the “Katrina Roadhouse” at the Winthrop Center for the Performing Arts.

Everyday is Mardi Gras with the Squeezebox Stompers.

For the last 15 years the Squeezebox Stompers have been touring New England stopping at coffeehouses, festivals, clubs and special events. They recently held a CD-release party at the Larz-Anderson Museum for their CD “Stompin’ at the Crossroads”.

“We have a lot of originals,” Tufo said.

The CD, recorded live at the Crossroads Music Series in North Andover this past February, highlights some of their best music.

“We didn’t even know we were being recorded,” Tufo said. “They never mentioned it to the band. But then we heard it. What you hear is the energy of the music.”

The Stompers, made up of Steve Latanision, Mike Migliozzi, Larry Plitt, Andy Holberg, and Geoff Wadsworth will be performing in Salem at Cinema Salem on Dec. 15 for “Christmas on the Bayou.”

“There will be a lot of original cajun, zydeco music and a lot of dancing,” Tufo said. “Including a cajun version of ‘The Night Before Christmas’.”

Tufo picked up the accordion when he inherited it from his family. In high school he taught himself keyboards and played in an Irish band. While playing with the Gloucester Hornpipe and Clog Society Tufo learned about Clinton Chenier, the Zydego King.

Then came Tufo’s experience with cajun and bluegrass festivals in Rhode Island. After awhile the group Boogaloo Swami’s formed and his career took off playing on the streets around Harvard Square and finally into a concert at Harvard’s Memorial Chapel.

The group even won four Boston Music awards.

People can get a copy of “Stompin’ at the Crossroads” at Amazon.com, CDBaby, ITunes and the bands website at squeezebox stompers.com

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