PRESS RELEASE 17.1.2011 Not to be published before 21 January 2011

The world record of accordion playing to Finland and to Guinness World Records

(The longest marathon playing accordion lasted 31 hours 25 minutes and was achieved by Anssi Laitinen (Finland) at Koljonvirta Camping Area, Iisalmi, Finland from 31 July to 1 August 2010.

Guinness World Records™ has accepted the duration accordion playing record by a Finnish musician Anssi K. Laitinen from Kuopio. Laitinen broke the previous record from 2007 by German Thomas Schmelzle, 29 hours 16 minutes.

At the turn of July and August 2010 at Koljonvirta Camping Area, Iisalmi, Finland, Anssi K. Laitinen played accordion continuously for 31 hours 25 minutes and 56 seconds. The total number of pieces played was 536 and a single piece of music was never heard twice. The repertoire included both Finnish and international music, mainly popular genre styles. The record was sealed with a Mengascini accordion owned by Savon Harmonikka Ky.

22 hours without break

In the beginning Laitinen played non-stop for 22 hours, probably a record of its own. According to the rules, the player was entitled to a 5 minute break after each played full hour.

Making a record is meticulously defined since the rules of Guinness are very strict. The record attempt in Iisalmi last summer required e.g. eighteen voluntary, independent official witnesses. They worked in pairs and the realization of the event was ensured by eight stewards.

The rules also required that the record attempt was continuously documented with two camcorders. As a rule, the witnesses and stewards worked in four-hour shifts. The event was organized by Iisalmen Seudun Toonika Ry, a local association established five years ago to promote popular music.

Physical and mental condition under test

The performance of Anssi K. Laitinen can be compared to to any sports achievement, because it requires tremendous physical and mental condition. The record was made possible by a four-member team prepared by Anssi K. Laitinen himself, taking care of his condition by providing small snacks and drinks, massage, etc. They also controlled that Anssi would not play again any pieces that were already played. According to Anssi K. Laitinen, the record attempt was a fight against time from the beginning to the end. Each played piece had to last at least two minutes and the pause between pieces was not allowed to exceed thirty seconds. From the start the maintenance team took measures for muscle and finger care. Without physical care the task would have failed. The player also had to adopt an unmitigated attitude for each piece of music and forget the previously played pieces, so the melodies would not get mixed up.

Without sheet music

Although the rules of Guinness allowed playing from sheet music, Laitinen wanted to play all pieces without notes. Anssi has memorized over 2000 pieces of music, from which he prepared a list of about one thousand pieces familiar to the audience.

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