Wednesday, August 23, 2006

First Nations Women Concert Tickets on sale now

Just a reminder that Mary Youngblood will be in concert with Rita Coolidge and Joanne Shenandoah on October 20th at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.

For more information or to order tickets go here:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Fun

While I was researching Ash Dargan's record label, I found a very cool, online music creation tool that let's you create various didj sounds through your computer. There is no direct link (that I can find) but here's how to get to this didj sound generator:

Here's the link for Indigenous Australia:

Click on "Cool Stuff" link from the navigation bar at the top of the website

Then, click "Virtual Corroboree"

Play around with the various button and have fun!! See if you can jam along with the flute.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

NAF Playing TIp #26: Jamming with the Blues

If you love the blues and and you love the Native American Flute, then this weeks playing tip is for you. Even if you've never played the blues, I hope that you find this weeks tip a fun challenge to expand your playing skills.

The good news is that the minor blues scale simply adds one more note to the basic pentatonic minor scale. This is the basic scale found on most modern Native American Flutes. The scale shown in the illustration below is the basic blues scale. The note in the middle of the illustration is the additional note which turns the basic pentatonic minor scale into the 'blues scale'.

Another great link for this scale is on Flutetree.

What is the 'blues scale' you might ask? Well if you've ever heard any blues music or even some modern rock or pop music, it's likely that you've heard the blues scale. It's simply the primary collection of notes used to create the melody lines in a blues song. The basic idea is that once you know this scale, you can mix these notes in any order and they'll all sound good together, and they'll sound like the blues.

Now if you are unfamiliar with basic blues progression, I found some MP3 music tracks online that you can download and play to hear the guitar, bass guitar and drums playing several blues progressions. Listen to these tracks a couple of times and then use the blues scale to try to play along with the backing instruments.Here are the MP3 files which you can download and play in as backing tracks:

Use an Em or Am flute for this song:
Blues Shuffle in Em

Use an Am or an Em flute for this song: Funky Blues in Am

Use a Gm flute for this song: Jazzy Blues in Gm

To view the webpage and related music for these tracks follow this link.

It gets even more fun if you can find a guitarist or piano player who can play some basic blues. If the other musician can tell what fundamental chord progression they are playing in, you should be able to select an appropriate flute. Or conversely, if you have a Gm flute, then ask the musicians to play a blues riff in Gm.

Experiment and have fun with this. Please post a comment if you found this fun, or if you happen to find other, similar free blues tracks on the internet.

Creative Commons License

This Playing Tip is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Memories of Dr Richard Payne

One of my favorite workshops/sessions at INAFA 2006 was the panel discussion about Dr Richard Payne and his flute collection. The panel for this workshop included the following folks (L to R in the first picture):

The awesome element to this workshop was that these 6 folks had a personal relationship with Dr. Richard Payne and they recounted some of their favorite memories about Doc Payne for those of us who didn't get the chance to met him while he was alive. If you're not familiar with Doc Payne and his contribution to the preservation of the Native American style flute, then I highly recommend that you get a copy of either "Songkeepers" or the "Toubat" video. The songkeepers video is a standard part of all of my Beginners Classes. Doc Payne had the most extensive collection of World flutes, including the largest collection of Native American style flutes. When he passed away, his collection was sold at auction and this is where our story starts:

Michael Graham Allen recounted his memories of Doc Payne and the painstaking measurements of which he took of some of Doc's historical flutes. Michael had a replica of the "Pima flute" in Doc's collection and he pulled it out to show the audience. It was then that our very own Frankie Sierra pulled out the orignal Pima flute which Frankie had purchased at the auction. Here's a picture of Michael playing the replica Pima flute:

Peter Phippen then got up and recounted his first meeting with Doc Payne and the relationship which he had with Doc over the following years. Peter told stories of Doc challenging Peter to play the different flutes in his collection and the gifting of a Anasazi flute from Doc to Peter. Peter was clearly emotional about remembering and retelling these stories, but we were all tounched by them.

Julia and Robert Gatliff then talked about some of their experiences at Doc's house. They were fortunate to live in the same town as Doc Payne, so they had one of the closest relationships to Doc. They told about the estate sale and how Robert rescued an important flute from the "pity pile" of inexpensive flutes. They were also present at the flute auction, and talked about how this brought closure for them on Doc's passing.

Finally, Jeff Calavan recounted his story of meeting Doc Payne for the first time and Jeff's filming of the Toubat video, which is a story of Doc life. Jeff says that a DVD version is coming out some with additional footage not on the original video.

Everyone recounted the colorful personality which was Doc Payne, his flutes and his influence on the Native American Flute today.

I hope that these folks and others will continue to have this panel discussion about Doc Payne at every future INAFA event. Doc's flutes are all over the world now, hopefully being played and passed around. I hope that we get to see many of them in the future.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

REMINDER: Mary Youngblood in Concert this Friday

Mary Youngblood and Sisters of the Earth, will present a concert this Friday evening, Aug 18th in Roseville, CA. Sisters of the Earth is Mary's 'all female' band.

Here are the details:

Timber Creek Ballroom
7050 Del Webb Blvd.
Roseville, CA
Contact- Dodie Robeck

It's posted on Mary's Website, the NCFC website and the Loping Wolf Website.

Monday, August 14, 2006

REMINDER: Beginner Class Starts tomorrow

Just a reminder that my beginner class in Palo Alto starts tomorrow evening, Tuesday August 15th. It's a drop-in class, so come when you can. Class starts promptly at 5:30 PM. For more details:

Xavier's Clay Flutes

I don't know about others who had the chance to attend INAFA, but I was entranced by Xavier Quijas Yxayotl's clay creations (BTW - his last name is pronounced "Icks-eye-oat-ill").

Xavier had his personal flutes on display at his vendor booth, and I took a moment to take some pictures of the 'faces' on his personal flute collection. In concert, Xavier stated that he put's a face on each of his flutes, to give them a voice and a personality. Each is indeed the face of the flute. Xavier is a wonderful showman, teacher, elder and a very humble guy.

Here's picture of Xavier's vendor table at INAFA. The (now) infamous fire flute is shown in the center of this picture:

Here's a picture of one of Xaviers statue or vessel flutes. It's like a ocarina, only deeper. You can see more examples on Xaviers website:

This face is from the fire flute:

Sunday, August 13, 2006

More INAFA posts to come...

I've taken a short break from blogging the last couple days, to get caught up in my sleep. But I plan to continue with more posts of memories from INAFA in the coming weeks. You haven't seen all my pictures yet, and I am waiting for a disk from Angel Cruz with some of his pictures. So stay tuned...

Also, I realized that I accidently removed the 8/3 post with all of the flute vendor shots. I edited it to correct a few things, but it's now back online.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More blogs...

I heard from Jon Norris, a flutemaker in Raleigh, NC.

He has a personal blog:
And he helps with the Nuese River Flute Circle:
These are both excellent examples of using blogging to get information to the flute circle membership. Check them out for inspiration in starting your own blog.

For NCFC members, Jon is also joining our NCFC Flutemaker discount program. So NCFC members can get a 10% discount on flutes from Jon.

Here's his info:

Village Flutes
Jon Norris

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Are you ready to blog?

I had many discussions this last week at INAFA about this whole concept of blogging. If you are flute circle leader, I want to encourage you to consider setting up your own blog about your local flute circle as a tool to communicate to your flute circle membership. It's way simplier than trying to maintain a website, it's free and it's easy.

You've found my blog, and you are familiar with the format, so why not setup one of your own? There are very few other folks currently blogging about the NAF, but I think that this is an excellent format. You can create entries from any web browser. I can blog from the road when I am traveling. However, I can not update the NCFC website when I am on the road since that software is on my PC at home.

If you set up a blog, please send me a link to your blog, I'll be sure to post it here so that others can find your blog.

I use, it's the Google-owned software. But there are other free blog sites out there. Here are a couple of links:

More info about blogging:
Google Blog Search:

Blog Tools

Yahoo 360:

Other NAF Blogs (that I know of, send me your link if you have one):

Scott August:
Geoffrey Ellis:
Choctaw Flutes:

Beginning Native American Flute Class starts a week from tonight

Just a reminder that I will be starting a Beginning Native American Flute class one week from tonight in Palo Alto. The class will be a drop-in format on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month from 5:30 PM to 7 PM.

Here's a link with more information:

Monday, August 07, 2006

Free Spirited Rafael

Rafael Bejarano was one of those free spirits who interacted with just about everyone at the INAFA Conference. Whether it was his impromptu didj playing or when he was relaxing folks with his clay instruments (the, he was a memorable part of this years event. Here's my favorite picture of the two of us, along with with Rafael's incredible didj with the Huichol beaded bell. You can find out more about Rafael on his website.

Rafael also has a new recording out titled: "The Journey":

Reminder: Loping Wolf Clan Moaning Cavern Trip next weekend

I just wanted to remind everyone that the Loping Wolf Clan is sponsoring a trip to Moaning Cavern with Mary Youngblood this coming Saturday, August 12th.
For more, up to the minute information, check out the
Loping Wolf Clan Website.

Bring your flute ("A" minor), drum, or rattles and get the tour and a spot for the fun for free as a musician.

If you want to camp overnight and do breakfast the next morning, contact Lynn at this email address: wrenchandcat AT dslextreme DOT com

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stay Tuned for more memories...

I have only posted a small portion of the pictures from the INAFA event this week. Over the coming weeks I will continue to post pictures and memories from the event. Please send me your favorite shots from the week and I'll post the best of them here.

This was a spectacular week of flutes, friends and fun. Many connections were made this week, and we'll continue to see the fruits of these connections in the coming years. There are a lot of exciting things happening the flute world - I learned about many interesting projects in the works, exciting things that will help you to enjoy this beautiful instrument even more.

I also made connections with many of the artists who performed on stage this week. There is a strong desire in many of them to come back and enjoy some more time on the west coast and in Northern California. I hope that we can have a exciting 2007 calendar of house concerts and workshops with these artists.

The NCFC Leadership Team

A special thanks to all of the volunteers and the NCFC Leadership team for all their hardwork coordinating and pulling together this event.

The NCFC Leadership Team (L to R): Bob DeMattei, Dan Ricketts, Bill Timothy, Frankie Sierra (kneeling), Lynn Peck, Mary Ann Myers, Mike Oitzman

Participant Recital - Sunday

This morning was the participants recital and the raffles. This provided the opportunity for any attendee to get up and play a song or tell a story. It was a wonderful showcase of the skills of all the players present. I really enjoyed this morning. Here's a few pictures of folks playing at the recital

Ruthie Neilen

Kathleen Joyce Grendahl

Our very own Scott Scheiman

Frankie and Rita Sierra accompany Lynn Peck

The Duke with Dr Michael DeMaria on drum

Bob Fratuzzi (I hope that I spelled that correctly...)

Jan Rice

More Pictures from the INAFA Concert - Saturday

Hovia Edwards (pronounced "who-via" not "How-via") was one of the best performers of the week. She was honored to be picked to represent her tribe as a flute player during the Salt Lake City Olympic opening ceremonies. She provided a welcome balance the list of performers this week (in my opinion). She is just getting back into performing after taking 2 years off of her recording and performance career, so look for great things from her in the future. (I love this picture, with the rattle caught in motion):

Here's a few shots of Jeff Ball on stage during his set:

Geoffrey Ellis shows off the signature flute which will be auctioned off on the 'soon to open' (check it out in a few week, I'll be blogging about it when it goes live):

R.Carlos Nakia headlined the evening with a variety of flutes:

R. Carlos Nakai plays a song on a nose flute flute:

R. Carlos Nakia on stage during his performance:

More INAFA Pictures to come

Today was a fun day. I got to enjoy the day since nearly all of my responsibilities were done for the week. I'll post more pictures in the days to come, but it's late and I'm exhausted.

INAFA "All Stars" in Concert

Tonight was another magical evening on stage. At the end of R. Carlos Nakai's set, he invited all of the perfomers on stage for the INAFA "All Star's" set.

Word also came that several of the performers had spent the day in the studio in Walnut Creek recording three tracks. There just may be an INAFA CD in the works.

Here's R. Carlos Nakai:

Here's (left to right) Jeff Ball, Ken Light and Mark Holland:

Here's Will Clipman playing a Rod Kendall Udu:

Here's (left to right) Peter Phippen, Gary Stroutsos, R. Carlos Nakai, Jeff Ball, Hovia Edwards, Mark Holland and Ken Light:

INAFA Happenings - Day 4

Elysium Calling played on the outdoor stage today:

Dan Ricketts (right) found a moment to chat with Tom Stewart (left) of Stellar Flutes.

Here's a close up of Xavier's "Death Flute"

I had the chance to get to know Leonard McGann (left):

Lee Johnson suprised us all with a visit, here's a reunion picture of (left to right) Dave Loo, Lee Johnson, Janet Phares and Mike Oitzman.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Personal pictures to be posted tomorrow

I promise to take a ton of pictures of the participants tomorrow and post many of them online. I apologize that I haven't taken many yet. But I've made many new friends and caught up with old ones and I want to remember the moments as well.

Xavier Fire Flute makes front page

The San Mateo Daily Journal reported today on the controversy concerning the fire marshall's rejection of allowing Xavier to play his famous fire flute on stage at INAFA. Hopefully this will get INAFA a little attention and get some folks to the concert tomorrow evening with R. Carlos Nakai. Xavier isn't going to be allowed to play his flute, even with press coverage, but it's nice to get a little attention.

Here's the full text to the story:

"Fire marshal: Extinguish flute
By Dana Yates
A world-renowned American Indian flautist with a gift for breathing fire through his flute was told he’d have to cool down his show this week at Notre Dame de Namur University.
And the decision has some people fuming.
Xavier Quijas Yxayotl, a Mexican national with a talent for indigenous flute, has performed his “fire song” at major events such as the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony and 2005 United Nations gala event in Spain. His melodic song is played with a hand-crafted flute that produces a flame at its end. The world-renowned performance got the cold shoulder from Belmont-San Carlos Fire Marshal Jim Palisi this week, who told organizers he could not use fire indoors.
“It’s not that something can catch the building on fire. It’s just fire safety ... it’s panic safety,” Palisi said.
Not only does Palisi not want to take the risk of having a fire incident inside the building lead to a panic situation that has people rushing for the doors, the law prevents him from doing it, he said.
Only a person certified with the state fire marshal or a pyrotechnician is allowed to use fire inside a building. Everyone else is free to perform with fire outside if they obtain the proper permits, Palisi said.
Organizers paid Palisi a visit Wednesday to personally ask for the permit. This is the first time in his long career that a venue has refused to allow Yxayotl to perform, according to an e-mail sent to the Daily Journal from a member of the Northern California Flute Circle.
“Belmont will be infamous now for not allowing Xavier to perform this song,” according to the letter.
No one from the Northern California Flute Circle was available for comment yesterday.
Yxayotl lit up the NDNU stage Wednesday without the use of flame during the first night of the International Native American Flute Association. The convention lasts through Sunday.

Here's the link to the website:

INAFA Happenings - Day 3

Wow. Another busy day at INAFA. I am lamenting that I haven't had as much time to play as I had hoped. I've got some more pictures of some of the bigger events. But I plan to get some more personal pictures over the next couple days, and I hope to jam more.

We started the day with a workshop by Dr Ron Warren on the vocabulary of the flute. He talked about the sounds of the flute and how to leverage them in creating your music.

The next workshop that I attended was by RuthiE Nielen and Jan Rice on "Living With Dying Expressively, Using the Flute in Hospice and in Hospitals". After my experience of last night, visiting the VA Hospice unit, this was a very touching presentation. I especially enjoyed RuthiE's energy and she related stories about her experience with playing music for hospice.

After lunch came one of the workshop that I had personally been waiting for, Ash Dargen presentation on the Didjeridoo. Ash is a great storyteller, a great showman and a great presenter. He entertained us with many stories and he demonstrated Didj technics:

Here's a picture of our very own Dawn King, as a Ash uses her to demonstrate a technique:

After the INAFA presentation, came the real fun as several of us had contacted Ash for a private Didj lesson:

Here's picture of me and Ash after the lesson, I am smiling because I can now circular breathe with the best of them...

INAFA Concert - Day 3

I was able to get some better pictures of from the concert tonight. Gary Stroutsos and Will Clipman (on percussion), started out the evening:

At the end of his set, Gary invited up Xavier Quijas Yxyaotl, Ash Dargan and RC Nakai to play an improvized song with him and Will. It was pure magic...

Next in the evening came Michael Graham Allen. He played several unique creations during his set, including a Papago flute re-creation and several Anasazi flutes:

Finally, Mark Holland and August Child finished up the evening with a wonderful set of music from various albums: