Gee Rabe



Ms. Gigi "Gee" Rabe, also known as “L.A.’s Accordion Diva,” holds an M.A. degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a B.M. degree in Performance with an emphasis in Commercial Music from California State University (CSU) Long Beach. She has completed her Ph.D. course work in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. Her main research interests include accordion performance around the world, Americana music, subcultural music, music and religion, popular music and culture, youth and music, smooth jazz, world beat, tango, the international music industry, Balkan music, and Caribbean music, especially ska and steel band music. In 2002, her article “Aspects of Regional Difference and Performance Technique in Bulgarian Accordion Music” was published in the journal Musical Performance and she is presently working on a musical analysis of Balkan accordion performance. She has given papers at conferences, including the Society for Ethnomusicology and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology. Academic awards she has received include a UCLA University stipend; UCLA’s Thayer Special Collections Fellowship, and the UCLA Fine Arts Trust Award. She was also the recipient of a grant from UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures and the Center for African American Studies.

An accordionist since 1975, Ms. Rabe has won major awards for her performance, including the Accordion Federation of North America's virtuoso (Western classical) and virtuoso jazz competitions in 1984 and 1985 respectively. Her teachers have included Corry Reysbergen Smith, Glenn Stead and LaVoy Halle (Western classical); Frank Marocco (jazz); Pepe Motta (Argentinean tango); Milen Slavov, Petar Ralchev, and Ivan Milev (Bulgarian accordion); Sunny Sauceda and Otoño Lujan (Tex-Mex); and Marcel Loeffler (manouche). Ms. Rabe has a diverse knowledge of musical genres and performs with many bands in Los Angeles that need an accordionist, however, she regularly concertizes all over the world with Grammy-nominated Lisa Haley and the Zydekats (Cajun/Zydeco/Americana/Swamp Rock). Additionally, she performs with the Haberdashery Ensemble (chamber jazz/Gypsy jazz/tango/Balkan) and with the L.A.-based children’s country band the Hollow Trees. She has recorded for award-winning composers Jack Allocco and David Kurtz as well as Kristen Baum, Bruce Chianese, Bruno Coon, Henry Jackman, Alvaro Morello, Andrea Morricone, S.J. Petterson, John Powell, Dave Volpe, Frederik Wiedmann, Corey Wallace, and Edwin Wendler. She has also recorded for film producer Mary Sweeney and musician/actor Micky Dolenz. Her accordion playing can be heard in the animated film “Puss in Boots” and “Ice Age 4.” In the fall of 2010 she was featured in an episode of Craigslist TV called “Accordion Idol.” Other television appearances include the Jimmy Kimmel Show, the Young and the Restless, and KMEX-Univision Primera Edición. In 2008 she recorded accordion parts for the new Disney ride “Toy Story. ” In 2007 she was the accordionist in the Getty Villa production “Tug of War,” which received outstanding national reviews, was featured on a segment of the CBS News Sunday Morning, and was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the top ten productions in Los Angeles at that time.

As a steel pannist, Ms. Rabe has performed professionally since 1986 and has worked and studied with Trinidad’s famous Len “Boogsie” Sharpe and Robert Greenidge. She has also recorded for television, radio, and film.. She appeared on the last season of the television sitcom “Friends,” where she was cast in the role of “Marjorie,” Phoebe’s eccentric friend who plays the steel drum for her wedding. During the last season of the USA Network series “Monk,” she tutored actor Jason Gray-Stanford on steel drums. In addition to playing steel drums, Ms. Rabe has studied Latin percussion with master percussionist Francisco Aguabella.

When Ms. Rabe was a teaching associate in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology, she had taught discussion classes on the subjects of music of Mexico and the Caribbean, music of Europe and the Americas, the Cultural History of Rap, and South American music. She has been a lecturer at CSU Northridge since 1995, starting their steel band program, which is one of the largest steel band programs on the west coast. In addition, she has taught the first online music course at CSUN. She has also taught music classes at Santa Monica College.


Gigi & Her Atomic Hipsters