Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kudos to Loping Wolf

It's been a week since the winter gathering hosted by the Loping Wolf Clan, and I finally have a moment to post a huge THANK YOU to Dan, Sheree, Dick, Sue, and all of the Loping Wolf member for their awesome spirit, generosity, planning and execution of their first Winter Gathering event. Be sure to check out the Loping Wolf webpage for pictures to be posted soon (well, as soon as Dan and Sheree get caught up on a little sleep...)

Look's like they may have set the standard for what I hope will become a quarterly event around the NCFC. At this event, the Nonahme Clan announced that they are going to host a Spring Gathering in Garden Valley, so stay tuned for that events (details coming as soon as they pick a date). I expect that we'll have other Gathering's hosted around the region as we finalize the 2007 NCFC calendar.

Anyhow, last weekend was a wonderful time. It was rainy and cold, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirit. There were several vendor's in attendence, including flutemakers Jim Pappas and John Lundren. The food was awesome. But the highlight of the day was an improvization workshop presented by Mary Youngblood. I think that everyone who attended the workshop came away with some great tips from Mary.

I was very excited to have Mary Youngblood play "Happy Birthday" to me on the flute. It was a great day all around.

Drop in Flute Class this week in Palo Alto

I wanted to post a reminder that I am holding the last flute class of the year this week.

When: Tuesday, Dec 19th
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM.
Where: Palo Alto, CA
Cost: $15
RSVP: ncfc AT naflute DOT com

I will be starting a new set of classes starting in January, BUT this month I wanted to offer folks a chance to drop in and work on what ever skills you'd like to brush up on or learn new. If you're having trouble with anything and want a little extra input, or if you just want to get a jump start on the classes starting next month, this is a great week to attend class.

Here's a link with details on the NCFC website:

Please RSVP if you are planning to make it this week so that I know we'll have enough for a class.

Also, I encourage you to stay after class for the "Gentle Jam" session which starts at 7 PM. It's a great opportunity to unwind with a little improvizational drumming during the holiday seasons. There is always the opportunity to play flutes along with the drumming. Bring your favorite percussion toys to this session.

I'll post details about the January class later this week.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Survival Tips

With all of the news lately about folks getting lost in the wilderness and having to survive. I was reminded of an awesome online resource that I found a while back about basic survival skills. This is apparently based on the basic survival course taught by the US Army.

New Wind Vessels from Ron Kendall

I had the opportunity to play a song dedicated to Hawk Littlejohn with Mary Youngblood at the Winter Gathering hosted by the Loping Wolf clan this last weekend. For the song, I played drum while Mary played my Woodsong Flute. I ended the song by the playing the “sound of the wind” from the wind vessel that I bought from Rod Kendall at the INAFA convention this last fall. Mary was impressed with the wind vessel and asked where she could get one, so I wrote Rod an email earlier this week to ask him about his website (still under construction…). Dan Ricketts also mentioned at the winter gathering that he was buying a newer style wind vessel from Rod, so I asked Rod about that as well.

Below is a picture of the style of wind vessel which I own. It’s about 2.5 inches in diameter and about 5 inches long:

The newer style of wind vessel now includes a rotating “resonating chamber” which makes the instrument capable of changing the sound it produces, by rotating the lever. Here are a couple of pictures which Rod sent me to help you understand how this works:

Notice the little copper lever on the side this is used to rotate the ball-like inner resonating chamber. According to Rod:

“The decorative surface treatment is called saggar firing, kelp, little bits of copper wire, and oyster shells are placed around the bisqued piece and fired in a gas kiln. The random fuming gives each piece a patina that reminds me of an ancient artifact! They are all priced individually and range from $85 for a basic model to $150 for the deluxe professional model. The professional series is brand new and consists of an adjustable resonator, some are clay and some are hand made copper. You turn a little lever and it turns the hollow ball inside. This gives you a wider range of wind sounds, all the way from raging storm to a whistling breeze!

To contact Rod Kendall: rodkendall AT msn DOT com

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Anniversary of Hawk Littlejohn's passing

I wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow (January 14th) will be the 6th anniversary of Hawk Littlejohn's passing. I would encourage everyone to find a quiet moment tomorrow and to play a song dedicated to Hawk's spirit.

When I think about Hawk Littejohn, I think about the only time that I was able to meet him in 1999 (early 2000?), about a year before he passed. Lee Johnson and Mac Lopez had invited Geri and Hawk to the west coast for a small tour. Bob Bellus and the NCFC organized a gathering in Northern California for them. This event was held on a rainy day in Calistoga, but we had over a 100 people show up to met Hawk and several other flutemakers. The performance that evening was memorable and Hawk told us a story about going to water with grandparents. Hawk told the story in Cherokee and Geri translated in English. I learned later that Hawk knew that he was already dying of cancer and this trip would be his last to the west coast.

If you have a favorite Hawk Littlejohn memory I would encourage you to add a comment to this story. I'd like to hear others stories about how Hawk touched your live's.

If you are not familiar with Hawk Littlejohn and his influence on the design of the modern Native American Flute, then it is worth a moment to recount his life's work. Hawk Littlejohn was a 5th generation Cherokee flutemaker. He can be counted as one of the handful of folks responsible for the renaissance of the Native American flute. He and others are memorialized in the video "Songkeepers". If you haven't seen this video, it is a must see for all flute players, especially if you don't have a sense of the path of the flute and its historical context over the last 200 or so years. You can find this video for sale at several online vendors. Hawk and Geri Littlejohn were the duo behind Woodsong flutes.

Here are a few links which I found online:

Songkeepers Video:

Grammy Nominations Announced

Lot's of news this last week on the Grammy Award Nominations.

Here's the scoop: there are really only two categories where I found any relative interest in the artists that I know and love relative to New Age and world music.

We have a lot to be proud of in Northern California, with two of our local artists nominated for Grammy's:
Mary Youngblood and Gentle Thunder (GT)!! Congratulations!

The good news is that both Mary and GT are nominated in different categories, so it could be a NorCal sweep if the stars align!

There are so many good albums listed below that it will be a tough year and I don't envy the folks who have to choose! This is a good sign for the industry, that there are so many quality artists out there producing some great recordings.

Props also to Will Clipman for his double nominations on two other albums in both categories. Will is such a talented percussionist.

Category 44
Best New Age Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • A Posterior - Enigma [Virgin Records]
  • Amarantine - Enya [Reprise]
  • Beyond Words - Gentle Thunder With Will Clipman & AmoChip Dabney [Delvian Records / GT Productions]
  • Elements Series: Fire - Peter Kater [Real Music]
  • The Magical Journeys Of Andreas Vollenweider - Andreas Vollenweider [Kin Kou/SLG Records]
Category 69
Best Native American Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Voice Of The Drum - Black Eagle [Soar]
  • Heart Of The Wind - Robert Tree Cody & Will Clipman [Canyon Records]
  • American Indian Story - Jana [Soar]
  • Long Winter Nights - Northern Cree & Friends [Canyon Records]
  • Dance With The Wind - Mary Youngblood [Silver Wave Records]
For the full details check out:

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tomorrow Night: Mary Youngblood in Grass Valley

Just a reminder that Mary Youngblood is playing at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley tomorrow evening. Once again, it will be an evening to remember, you HAVE to be there. If you're not local, come on up and spend the night in the Gold Country, make a weekend out of it, but get here!
Don't forget to bring along a percussion instrument (i.e. rattle, hand drum) as Mary always includes an audience participation element to her live shows. Dan DiCicco and I will be there before hand and during intermission at the Loping Wolf / NCFC table, so stop by and introduce yourself.

What: Mary Youngblood and Sisters of the Earth

When: Dec 9th, 8PM

Cost: $20

REMINDER: Loping Wolf Winter Gathering, 12/10

The Loping Wolf Clan is hosting the First Annual Winter Gathering

When: Sunday December 10 2006

Time: 10:30 am to 6:00 pm
Where: Lake of the Pines Yacht Lounge

Special Guest: Grammy Winner
Mary Youngblood


The Loping Wolf Clan is putting together an event where flutes, drums, and art can come together. Come join this gathering to share some good music, tasty food and have a chance to do some of your holiday shopping.

We are asking $5 donation per person to attend and a $10 donation for vendors. Your donation will include a raffle ticket ~ a chance to win Kokopelli Bucks.

List of vendors currently includes:
  • John Lundgren, local flute maker, consented to bring his flutes
  • Mary Youngblood will be presenting a flute-related workshop

Mary Youngblood
Will be presenting a flute-related workshop
Registration is $35 Her Spring Gathering workshop was a GREAT time. Please RSVP by e-mail early for Mary's Workshop, and e-mail us a note stating you are interested in attending. So bring flutes, drums and other percussion instruments, and potluck items such as a side dish, appetizer or dessertVendors do not need to bring food, unless you want to, but we will feed you All donations will go toward paying for the Yacht Lounge rental & propane heater for the deck

Tentative Schedule of Events:

10:30 to 11:00 ~ Arrival and Setup
11:00 to 12:00 ~ Welcome, introductions, play & share all our instruments, and check out the vendors!
12:00 to 1:15 ~ Potluck - Beef Stew, popcorn and bottled water will be provided
1:30 to 3:00 ~ Mary Youngblood NAF Workshop (sign up early ~ these will go fast!)
3:00 to 5:30 ~ Raffle, Questions, break-out one-on-one instruction sessions, open mic, improvisations and jams, and a general sharing of everything we know
5:30 to 6:00 ~ Clean up

Please RSVP by e-mail early for Mary's Workshop, and e-mail Dan and Sheree a note stating you are interested in attending.
Bring flutes, drums and other percussion instruments, and potluck items such as a side dish, appetizer or dessert.
Vendors do not need to bring food, unless you want to, we will feed you.
All donations will go toward paying for the Yacht Lounge rental & propane heater for the deck

To RSVP: send an e-mail at flutecircle AT lopingwolf DOT com for LOP Gate Access & Directions. If you are a vendor, contact Dan and Sheree at the same email address to sign up.

Space for this Winter Gathering is limited, so PLEASE RSVP by e-mail soon.

This invitation is also on the Loping Wolf web page at Please check there for the latest information.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Join the 4th annual global network of Concerts for Peace

The Music for Peace Project is happening again this year. The dates are March 30 - April 1, 2007.

"The Music for Peace Project is a global effort to fill the world with music as a call for peace. By coordinating a vast number of concerts worldwide between March 30 - April 1, 2007, The Music for Peace Project will bring popular and media attention to international peace efforts while building a global community of active, socially conscious artists. Dedicated to cultivating peace as both a means and an end, The Music for Peace Project creates a global celebration of peace and provides a voice for the vibrant community that believes in peaceful solutions for the future.

So if you are planning a concert or would like to plan a concert on these dates, please think about linking it to this project.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New Music in the Flutetree Songbook

If you haven't visted Flutetree in a while, it's worth surfing over. Robert Gatliff has been busy adding a lot of new music to the songbook. This is the best place on the web to get sheetmusic you can play. Robert includes both the fingering and the musical staff to help you play the song.
Since it's the holiday season, you can find many holiday songs there.

Added Rich Halliburton's Blog to blog roll

I wanted to send prop's out to Rich Halliburton of Querencia Woodwinds Flutes for starting a blog. I promise to add all Native American Flute blog's to my blogroll, to spread the word about other folks leveraging the "blogosphere" to discuss Native American Flutes.
I don't know Rich (yet) but he lives in Southern California, so hopefully we'll get a chance to met sometime.

Review of "World of Drumming" Event

It's been a couple of days since the World of Drumming event which was held on Friday night (12/1) in Grass Valley, and I am still recovering from memories of the event. It turned out to be a wonderful evening with a completely sold out house. It exceeded everyone's expectations.
All of the performers were wonderful and included the following groups or individuals:
  • GARY GREENBERG Afro-Cuban Bata Group Ome Ache
The evening went off without a hitch and the finale was awesome, with over 70 musicians on stage, playing in sync. The amazing thing about the finale was that we only practiced twice prior to the event, so it speaks volumes about the skills of those involved that it came off as well as it did.

I enjoyed everyone's performance, beginning to end. Everyone had fifteen minutes to perform a set of 2-3 songs, and every performance left you wanting to hear more. It was a whirlwind tour of music traditions from around the planet.

I especially enjoyed the gals (form Da'Owaga, Awendes & Feather River Singers) singing and playing the mother drum. This was the first time that members of the various groups had come together to perform and it included folks from Tahoe to the Bay Area. They kicked off the performance with grace, and even though they we stressing back stage beforehand that the singing wouldn't be heard (since we didn't mic the singers), the performance was amazing.

It's hard for me to write about all of the other wonderful performers, as they were all awesome. I enjoyed each of the performances and I'll cherish the opportunity which we all had to experience the variety of music presented. I am thankful to Saul, Mitzi and Mel for letting be a part of this rare and wonderful experience. The bar was set high, but everyone involved had a great time, so I expect that this won't be the last time we present an event like this. BUT - make sure that you attend the next one!

You can still donate:

If you were unable to attend the evening, but would still like to donate to this cause you can find out more on this weblink: is the 501C3 Non Profit founded by Melanie Sullivan of Sierra Friends of Tibet. Sullivan will be traveling to a remote refugee camp in India in January-February to purchase computers and establish the Sierra Friends of Tibet Computer Learning Lab at the Jangchup Choeling nunnery. will eventually open web-portals between the camp (which is also home to the visiting monks) and Sierra Friends of Tibet, for telemedicine support, distance learning programs and an entire world of opportunity to move the camp towards sustainability. "Just last month we learned yet again, of another Tibetan nun and children who were shot trying to cross the Himalaya to freedom. Along with compassion, Technology is the weapon of choice in fighting these injustices and we are committed to bringing this project to fruition. "

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Free Takitina class in Bay Area

Come participate and share the joy of TaKeTiNa, the musical group process (whether or not you have experienced it before!). Bring a friend!
**Free to the public

No experience needed. Curiousity is helpful and a willingness to learn in a completely new way.
YOU are invited to an open TaKeTiNa set! with Zorina Wolf and Susan Sullivan.

WHEN: Friday December 8, 2006
TIME: 7-9:30 PM
WHERE: The Girls' Club of the Mid -Peninsula, 2400 Ralmar Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94303

For more information:please call 650-493-8046 or info AT villageheartbeat DOT com

**There is no fee for the evening, although donations for the Girls' club are welcome!

Native American Flute Binding: How-To

Clint Goss just posted an excellent article on how to do a binding wrap on a flute to help reduce the possibility of cracking. This is especially important for cane and bamboo flutes.
In my opinion, it's not really necessary on modern wood flutes (like cedar or walnut, etc) except as decoration. However, Clint does mention in the article that some wooden flutes may crack if the humidity is low enough. In Northern California, we have sufficient humidity (except maybe in the higher altitudes of the Sierra's). Anyhow, use your own judgement here. I have never had any my wooden flutes crack, while living in Northern California, in the 12 years that I have been playing.

You will find this a great step by step article, if you have never attempted this wrap before. I would suggest trying it on a scrap dowel a few times, until you get the technique down, before you attempt on a good flute.

Here's the article:

Monday, December 04, 2006

NoNahme Clan Flute Circle, Thurs 12/7

The NoNahme Clan is meeting this Thursday at Charlie and Norma's home in Garden Park, Garden Valley.

What: NoNahme Clan Flute Circle
When: Thursday, 12/7, 6:30 PM - ??
Details: Please RSVP Charlie or Norma at 333-2590.
If you have any questions, please call Marion Cole at 621-3227 or Mignon at 333-0299.

The NoNahme Clan is trying to meet on a weekly basis. Bring your flutes, drums, snacks, shakers, snacks, beverages or whatever. If you know others who are interested please forward this note and copy us so that we can add them to our distribution list.

Directions to Charlie & Norma's in Garden Park:

From Marshall Road. Right or Left- onto Garden Valley Road. Right - onto Garden Park Drive. Right - onto Hood Court. Right onto McKinley Court. Entrance is the first white gate on the right. Charlie's home is on the corner of Hood Ct. and McKinley Ct. He also has a gate entrance on Hood Ct. before you get to the corner of Mckinley. He has a sign on his Hood Ct. gate that says "WHOA". His phone number, again, is 333-2590. (Charlie Rosenau).

Flute Class for December

I wanted to remind folks that I offering flute class in Palo Alto on two evenings this month: Dec 5th (tomorrow) and Dec 19th. I am planning to start the beginning class over again starting in January (1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month). Stay tuned for more info on this.
So, if you would to come and brush up on some skills or work on something specific, all skills are invited to join us this month, I'll answer all questions (flute related...), and if there is time, we'll work on playing together (all skills can participate).

Where: 3433 Aston Ct. Palo Alto, CA
When: Tuesdays, 12/5 & 12/19, 5:40 PM - 7:00 PM
Cost: $15

Please RSVP to: ncfc AT naflute DOT com

I will have flutes, flute bags, song books, etc for sale.