Bordeira is considered to be the land of a very traditional music instrument and performing art: the accordion. Widely accepted in the Algarve due to the richness of its melody and artistic expression, the accordion has only one interpreter who can produce the songs that cheer the people. Since the beginning of the last century, the accordion quickly became an imperative presence in traditional dance events, such as the Charolas and the portuguese popular marches (Marchas Populares).

Its invention is located in the 1820’s, in Germany and Austria, originated from another instrument – the typoton –  a metallic reed tuner that was played with human breath, to which new reeds were added, and blown simultaneously, giving then a perfect chord. However, this was still a long way from the current instrument (Sardinha, 2000). In order to achieve the formulation of what we know today as the (chromatic) accordion, many other technical developments were necessary over several decades. The first instruments began to be produced and exported throughout Europe. They were diatonic, that is, they only gave the seven notes of the diatonic scale, as they had only one row of buttons. The system was bi-sound, as each button gave two notes, depending on whether the bellows was pressed outwards or inwards. Later, another row of buttons was added to them, with a different key, which, although also diatonic, already allowed greater musical amplitude. The bi-sound system was maintained. Portuguese people called this instrument the two-track harmonica, later the concertina – vide. Finally, the improvement of the instrument gave rise to the increase of buttons and the introduction of the uni-vocal system (each button gives only one note, whether the bellows are opened or closed), all of which causes the volume of the instrument to increase and allow the introduction of the chromatic scale.

Photography ceded by João Barra Bexiga, featuring a group of men playing Acordeão da Bordeira

Moreover, in addition to the performers and composers, there are also accordion builders and tuners, passing down, from generation to generation, the art of traditional music making and instrument creation. This art is also acknowledged through national and international awards, valuing with each year, the fundamental role of Portuguese folk music, its instruments and the cultural identity of the Algarve region. The municipality of Faro explains that “[…] since the beginning of the 20th century, the accordion has played a central role in the Portuguese popular music scene. It has become an ever-present and essential element at parties and other popular and traditional events. It transformed his chords into a musical identity with unprecedented acceptance and in which great national names had influence, some of whom were linked to Bordeira” (Sul Informação, 2016).

Algarve Imaterial. (2022). Acordeão da Bordeira. Accessed on 17th February, 2022. URL:

Sardinha, J. A., & Lopes-Graça, F. (2000). Tradições musicais da Estremadura. Tradisom.

Sul Informação. (2016). A Tradição do Acordeão em Bordeira” mostra-se no Museu Regional do Algarve. Accessed on 17th February, 2022. URL:

Terra Mater. (2022). Acordeão. Accessed on 17th February, 2022. URL: