Lionel Reekie was born in Rotorua, New Zealand. He commenced accordion lessons at the age of 9, and very quickly started to combine these skills with his love of singing. As an accordion entertainer, Lionel performed extensively around New Zealand from an early age, eventually being selected as a player in the Air New Zealand Accordion Orchestra for six of their international concert tours through Europe, USA and Asia. On these concert tours, Lionel was also a vocalist, performing a repertoire ranging from Light Opera to Rock and Roll. Lionel continues to perform regularly on accordion, as well as conducting accordion orchestras and teaching accordion at one of New Zealand’s largest music schools - the Music Education Centre.
The Auckland Symphony Orchestra asked Lionel to appear as a solo vocalist for their “Last Night of the Proms” and this inspired Lionel to record an album of songs from Stage and Screen with an orchestra. After having travelled to Novosibirsk, Russia, with his family on several occasions, Lionel was so impressed by the excellent quality of Siberian musicians, that he chose to record his CD “From Russia With Love” in Novosibirsk in 2011. Released throughout New Zealand, and on iTunes, Lionel has been interviewed and featured on radio throughout the length of the country.
Lionel's most recent trips to Russia were to perform in concert to a full house at the prestigious Novosibirsk Philharmonia in January 2013 and in September 2017 to feature in the opening concert of the World Accordion Championships in Rostov on Don. In August 2013, Lionel also performed as an invited soloist the American Accordionists Association 75th Anniversary celebration in New York City and then singing with the World Accordion Orchestra at the world championships being held in Victoria, B.C. Canada. Closer to home, his appearance at the Vector Arena for the Silver Scrolls also received a great deal of media publicity. After appearing in the USA at the American Accordionists Association Festival in Washington DC in July 2018, he also was selected as an adjudicator for the Harbin International Accordion Art Week in China. Lionel was invited as a guest performer and conductor for the National Accordion Association (USA) festival in Dallas last year, and also performed as part of the World Music Festival in Innsbruck Austria with the Southern Cross Accordion Ensemble.
“Lionel's repertoire was well chosen and appealed to everyone present. His expertise on the accordion is stunning and his voice quite amazing. His easy stage personality with a touch of polite humour really captivated our club members and guests and brought a standing ovation. At the end of our evening function, many favourable comments were passed on to me and today, with less than 24 hours passing since the event, I have received several more messages remarking on Lionel's performance, one person suggesting he was the best entertainer the club has engaged in its 30 years.”- President, Whangarei Probus Club “More than satisfied, he was great.” - Poynton Residents Committee Retirement Village event
“It was wonderful and Lionel was an absolute delight.”- Bupa New Zealand Glenburn Village
“Lionel was a star hit at the party. He performed with skill, confidence and flair. Our guests responded with spontaneous applause on many occasions. He was also unfailingly professional, well dressed and punctual. We would recommend him to anyone.” - Catherine Buchanan
“Lionel was awesome - highlight of our day”. - Fruhlingsfest event
“He did an exemplary job. Lionel was a true professional. He took up a difficult job on the night (warming up an otherwise sober crowd) and performed brilliantly. Several people commented to me personally on the night how good he was in setting the atmosphere we were after. I would happily book Lionel again or recommend him to others without hesitation.” - Mina.
“He was, as he always is, fantastic. He was the perfect fit for what we wanted. Upbeat enough to make dancing possible and encourage everyone, quiet when he needed to be, soulful when he needed to be and really engaged the crowd.” - Helen Vlasich