When the Acadians came from Nova Scotia to Louisiana in 1764, they brought with them many beautiful ballads that told stories of bygone years. Many of these songs can be traced back to France. These ballads are not widely performed today, but were the basis of what is now accepted as Cajun music.
In the late 1800’s, affordable accordions entered the Louisiana market and were adopted by both Cajun and Creole musicians. Cajun and Creole musical styles at this time grew in parallel: mostly two-steps and waltzes meant for dancing, played by accordion and fiddle.
Some of the first accordions imported in the United States were "Lester", "Pine Tree" and "Bruno" brands, but they were bulky, cheaply made and hard to play. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that Buegeleisen & Jacobson of New York imported the "MONARCH", then the "STERLING", in the key of C and D, made by Dienst Co. of Leipzig Germany. The names of the almost identical Monarches and Sterlings reflect the company importing the accordions, rather than the factory producing them. They were "les tit noirs" (les petits noir), meaning "the little black ones". They were smaller than some of the older brands and were all black with pewter trim. They were the best at that time. The company which fabricated the Monarches and Sterlings went out of business in 1933. During World War II, Germany focused on building its war machine and closed down the accordion factories. The factories were bombed by the Allies during the war, effectively ending the production of these accordions. The majority of the factories producing the German button accordion imported into the US prior to WW II, were located in the Klingenthal region. After the war, this region was part of East Germany, which ended the importation of the instrument to the US.Today, they are collectibles.