Monday, December 31, 2007

Lakota Nation secedes from the United States

This story occurred on Dec 17, 2007, but I haven't heard about it from any mainstream news organization. I am posting it here, in the hopes that someone will provide some additional information (in the comments) about the truth of the story.

According to the story, several 'representatives' of the Lakota Nation declared that they are seceding from all treaties with the United States and Canada. Upon further research on the web, I learned that the group making the statement is called Lakota Freedom and the leader of this group is Russell Means. There seems to be some discussion about the representation of Russell and Lakota Freedom for the larger Lakota Nation.

It's also interesting, I tried to goto this link today:
But I got a message in my browser saying that "HTTP: Bad Request"... Seems like the site has been pulled down for some reason.

I'd like to learn more about this story. It's an interesting idea, seceding from the United States. One which I think the indigenous nations are entitled to if their treaties are bogus, but something that is likely to garner a interesting response from the president and the nation if indeed it's true.

Related links:

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays

NCFC Central wants to send everyone out there in flute land a very happy holiday. Enjoy your family and friends this holiday season. Play the flute, and make everyone's day better...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

50th Annual Grammy Awards Announced

And the nominees are (envelope please...):

Best Native American Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Oklahoma Style
    Walter Ahhaitty & Friends

  • Watch This Dancer!
    Black Lodge
    [Canyon Records]

  • The Ballad Of Old Times
    Davis Mitchell

  • Reconnections
    R. Carlos Nakai, Cliff Sarde, William Eaton & Randy Wood
    [Canyon Records]

  • Totemic Flute Chants
    Johnny Whitehorse
    [Silver Wave Records]

Best New Age Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

  • Faces Of The Sun
    Peter Kater
    [Silver Wave Records]

  • Sacred Journey Of Ku -Kai, Volume 3
    [Domo Records, Inc]

  • One Guitar
    Ottmar Liebert
    [Spiral Subwave Records]

  • Southwest
    Eric Tingstad
    [Cheshire Records]

  • Crestone
    Paul Winter Consort
    [Living Music]

For a complete listing:

Friday, December 14, 2007

INAFA Convention 2008 Announced

Here is an update concerning the 2008 International Native American Flute Association convention to be held at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on July 9-13, 2008.

The evening performers list is as follows, thus far ... (each evening features three performers):

  • R. Carlos Nakai
  • Kevin Locke Joseph Fire Crow
  • Sonny Nevaquaya
  • Michael Graham Allen (Coyote Oldman)
  • Xavier Quijas Yxayotl
  • Ash Dargan
  • Autumn's Child
  • The Peter Phippen Quartet
  • Rafael Bejarano
  • FIFTH WORLD: The New World Music of Will Clipman, Ash Dargan, and Andrew Begay

So it looks like there will be several group performances at the next INAFA convention. This should be a very entertaining event.

INAFA welcomes performance, presentation, and workshop proposals on a variety of subjects dealing with world music, world flutes, Native American music, Native American culture, Native American flutes, and anything that is of interest to their membership and the convention participants.

For further information, please visit the INAFA Web site at:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Special Thanks to Loping Wolf

Wow. I can't believe that the week is half over and I haven't had a chance yet to post a HUGE THANK YOU to Dan, Sheree and the rest of the Loping Wolf crew for pulling together such a wonderful event last weekend!

The day started early and slow with folks starting to trickle into the event starting with vendors before 9 AM. There were lot's things to look at. Fairyring Mushroom, Brian Revheim and Lew Price all had flutes for sale. Robin and Ricardo had some wonderful jewelry and handmade arrows and Dave the Drum maker had a selection of Ashikos and Djembes.

Mike and Alex set up the sound system early and a few brave souls serenaded the early arrivals. Things kicked off a little after 10 am with Ricardo presenting an opening blessing. This was followed by Doc who danced and told us some wonderful stories. Food was served around 11 AM and following this there were some wonderful open mic performances until the workshops started a little after noon.

I presented an "Absolute Beginners Workshop" to a wonderful group of 17 newbies, who all tried every exercise I asked them to and exceeded my expectation (Great Job!).

Dan R presented the next workshop along with his recording partner Pat who played the piano keyboard. The focus of this workshop was on playing with other instruments. Dan and Par have just completed the recording of a new CD with piano music which is designed to easily play along with on your pentatonic tuned flutes. Dad demonstrated several songs and Pat played live while the students all had the chance to experiment with the song. The students all left with a copy of the CD.

Finally Mary Youngblood presented a workshop on Ornamentation to an excited group of folks. Lots of wonderful sounds came from the workshop room during this workshop. Mary was there all day selling CD's, songbooks and generally greeting everyone who wanted to chat.

We were amazed with the view of a wonderful sunset from the Lake of the Pines clubhouse with the lake in the background and the colors of the sunset painting the water a memorable hue.

Once again a fun event all around. Thank you Loping Wolf!

Weekend Events: Dec 14 - 17

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Friday, Dec 14

  • Remember Hawk Littlejohn - Please take a moment at sunrise or sunset to play a song in rembrance of Hawk Littlejohn. Hawk's influence is a part of almost every flute makers path whether they knew him personally or not. As result we need to all be thankful for the wonderful spirit that Hawk preserved this this instrument that we all love so much...
    If you never had the opportunity to meet Hawk, purchase or borrow the "Songkeepers" video and you'll be able to understand how Hawk was able to influence the path of so many people.

Saturday, Dec 15

Monday, Dec 17

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mark Holland: The Greatest Gift

I've spent the morning listening to Mark Hollands' new holiday CD: The Greatest Gift.

WOW! 'Tis the season, and I've had my Christmas music playing on my iPod for the last 3 weeks while I work. I've anxiously awaited the arrival of Marks' new CD as the latest holiday CD in my collection. Mark Holland is an inspired composer and arranger, pushing the pentatonic Native American Flute to new places. It's especially challenging on many of these classic tunes since many of the notes require cross-fingering to get the right note. But Mark does it masterfully.

As for the orchestration and arrangement, I love the variety of instruments and musicians that Mark brings together for this album. Autumns Child has always been a loose collection of musicians built around a semi-perminant core of folks. There are many names on the liner notes for this album as Mark pulled in skilled players of a variety of instruments, including cello, setar, hang, hammered dulcimer, piano, harp, guitar and a variety of percussion.

I'll have copies for sale at the Loping Wolf Winter Gathering on Sunday. Otherwise you can sample the songs and order directly from Mark at his website: or from CDBaby:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sale for Stellar Flutes: Dec 9

On December 9th, Stellar Flutes will have a sale from 9 am to 2 pm. Tom Stellar makes wonderful sounding (and looking flutes). I had the pleasure of meeting Tom at INAFA Convention 2006 in Belmont. It sounds like there be discounts up to $50 offer regular prices. Prices range from $90 to $375. Looks like a great opportunity.

T0 get the discount, make sure that you tell you are a Northern California Flute Circle member and heard about it here...

Weekend Events: Dec 7 - 9

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, Dec 8

Saturday, Dec 9

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

New Music Book from Jessica Walsh

I discovered a wonderful new songbook for anyone who's looking for new music to play on the Native American Flute. It's called "Music for Native American Flute, Volume One", by Jessica Walsh. The publisher sent me a review copy and I fell in love with it.

First of all, this book has been around for a while (2005), it just hasn't been very well advertised until now. The book has the sheetmusic (Nakai Tab + flute pictographs) for 40 songs. There is a companion CD included on which Jessica plays all of the songs on a variety of flutes.

What I really love about this book is the variety of world music included. Jessica
a has songs from around the world, including folk tunes from Scotland, Ecuador, France, Walsh, Ireland, Japan, Greece, Israel, Palestine, Canada plus a few classical tunes. No where else have I seen a such a refreshing collection of tunes all transcribed for the modern-tuned (pentatonic 6-hole) Native American Flute. There are nine tunes written entirely in the basic pentatonic scale and will be easy for beginners to start with (no cross-fingering). Beyond that the rest of the songs will keep any advanced beginner to intermediate flute player challenged for a while.

Here's my favorite quote from the book:

"Flutes are like horses; they act as mirrors of the spirit"

This book is listed as "Volume One". I sure hope that Jessica is successful enough with this publication that she continues to deliver more high quality and unique songbooks like this one.

If you're interested in purchasing this book, I will have it for sale at the Loping Wolf Winter Gathering this weekend (Dec 9, 2007). Otherwise you can contact me directly for purchase.

New Pandora Music Service

Clint Goss posted this on the flute email list, and it's a great way to create your own custom online music radio. It's called Pandora. If you like to listen to music at work (or home), then you simply create a new "radio station" by telling it what artists you like. It will then start streaming music to your computer. As the music plays, you can give each song a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" to tell it that you like or don't like the song playing. A thumbs up will keep the song in rotation and help the service locate other songs/music like the one you liked. A thumbs down removes the song from rotation and discourages the service from playing similar songs. Two thumbs down to the same artist and they are 'banned' from your 'radio station'.

I've created a couple sample radio stations to test it. Here's the Radio Stations which I created and the behavior of the selected tunes. Note that selecting an artist doesn't necessarily play all of the songs from their album(s). The first song it plays is from the selected artist, then it begins to play related music.

For example: I started with "Mary Youngblood" and it played the first song from her album: "Feed the Fire". The following songs it chose to play were from a more folk, vocal, guitar genre, not Native American Music. Not exactly what I wanted.
The second example I chose was R. Carlos Nakai. This choice seemed to produce a station with Native American Flute music in the likes of Robert Tree Cody
Choosing "Peter Kater" created a station of new age piano music including David Lanz, Jim Brickman, etc.
If you want to try a different path, you can select from their Genre list for a different variety of music.

Here's the link:

I haven't been listening long, but I already like it. You are required to create an account after a short period of listening, but it's free. You do have to provide your birth year, zip code and gender when registering, but this is used to target the advertising which plays at the bottom of the website (I clipped it from my screenshot above, I didn't want to advertise for them....)

Looks like you can also pay a $36 per year fee to get it without the advertising.

For more information:

If you discover some interesting radio station, post a comment with the artist(s) which you selected.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Fun : Papercraft Fish

I love papercraft, and I found these papercraft fish especially wonderful. Check out the link below for some easy-to-assemble projects. Create one for your favorite fisherman for the holidays.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

REMINDER: NCFC Winder Gathering sponsored by Loping Wolf

Just a reminder that the Loping Wolf Clan is sponsoring the Winter Gathering on December 9th. If you are planning on attending, you need to RSVP NOW to Dan DiCicco, to reserve your spot. This will be a really fun event. There will be several workshops, including an improvization workshop by Dan Ricketts, anWorkshop with Mary Youngblood and a Beginners Workshop with Mike Oitman. There will be plenty of open mic time. And there will be a couple flute vendors, just in time to buy a flute for that special someone on your list (even if that someone is you...)

Complete details are on the Loping Wolf website.

I hope to see everyone of you there!

What: 2007 NCFC/Loping Wolf Winter Gathering
When: Sunday, December 9th
Time: 9 AM - 7 PM
COST: $15 prepaid
Where: Lake of the Pines Clubhouse (the big one this year!)

NCFC Weekend Events: Nov 30 - Dec 1

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, Dec 1

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Moaning Cavern - Pictures of the cavern itself...

Although Mary Youngblood was the "human star"of the Moaning Cavern event, even she'll admit that the real star for the evening was the cavern itself. If you've never had the opportunity to visit Moaning Caverns, it's a real treat. In the first photo above, you see the "Draperies", which form on the walls of cavern. They look soft, but they're "hard as a rock"...

This photo is a wonderful stalagmite on floor of the cavern. It looks small but its more than 20 feet tall from top to bottom. There are no stalagmites or stalagtites in Moaning Cavern which have reached from the floor to the ceiling. The cavern is too young and too tall. If my memory serves me right, the stalagmite above took over 200,000 years to form...

This is a photo of the "Chocolate Waterfall". It's a flow which reaches down the entire side of the cavern from the landing above the stairs. It's brown color comes from the iron which is present in the ground water seeping through the cavern.
Thanks to Norma Swain for sending me these photos

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mary Youngblood - More Moaning Caverns Pictures

A special thanks to Norma Swain for sending me these pictures from the Moaning Cavern event with Mary Youngblood last month. In the first picture, you see Mary playing from the audience's perspective (rather than the perspective of those of use in the musician's "cage").

Here are several folks from the Loping Wolf clan warming up prior to heading down to the cavern (LtoR: Alex, Dan, Francesca, Mike, Mary, Mike)

Here's a picture of Mary relaxing before the event. (Doesn't she look relaxed!). It was a fun afternoon with Mary prior to the adventure into the cavern. We all had a chance to relax, eat and play flutes together and with Mary as we prepared for the evenings' event.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 15, 2007

NCFC Weekend Events: Nov 17-20

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Friday, Nov 16
Saturday, Nov 17

More Photos from Moaning Caverns

Rocky took some great photos during Mary Youngbloods event at Moaning Caverns. He was running around taking photos from some different perspectives during the event and he has posted some of these photos on his Flickr site:

Thanks Rocky!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

10,000 Page view milestone

Thank you to everyone of you who visit the blog each week! We passed the 10,000 page view milestone this week (since I installed the page view counter)!
I appreciate your support and interest this blog.

- Mike

Friday, November 09, 2007

Native American Flute How-To Articles

I made a change to the blog template this week. All of the "How-To" article archives are now linked on the left side nav bar (just below the subscription section) so that they are easily accessible without searching for them in the blog history. As I publish new articles in the future, they will immediately be added to this "How-To" archives link list.

If you're a beginner, start with article #1 and work your way up the list as you master each lesson.
If you're more advanced, browse the list for interesting article which are relevant to your skills.

If you have a question that you'd like to have answered here in a "How-To" article, send your question in an email to:

mike DOT oitzman AT gmail DOT com

Scott August new release: Lost Canyons

[Updated Nov 9]

Scott August has a new release called Lost Canyons. I have my been listening to my copy the last couple weeks and it's yet another great release from Scott. I have to give kudos to Scott for his well executed composition and recording. It still amazes me that he records this stuff in his closet (although Scott's "closet" is something to envy if you desire to own a project studio). Scott has built his recording career from the ground up and orchestrates and records the majority of the backing instrumentation himself. I am not sure that you'll find a harder working musician in the business.

In this release, Lost Canyons, Scott introduces the Anasazi flute to his recording repertoire. The Anasazi flute is an rim blown or end blown flute, and it's not simple to play at all. Scott has been practicing and learning to play this flute the last couple years, before he attempted to record with it. Scott has posted several articles on his webpage about the Anasazi flute, there's good information on his flute history page and also on a blog entry he created. The Anasazi flute is making something of a come back now, and Coyote Oldman is one of the few flute makers who is producing this style flute now. You can check out Coyote Oldman's website if you're interested in buying one.

The first song on the album, Morning Star, is pure Anasazi flute. It's a wonderful melody that transports you to another place and time. It's a great opening track for the album.

The second song, Raven Dance, is one of my favorites on the album. It's a rich texture of flute, Udu, Kalimba, percussion, keyboards and guitar. If you close your eyes on this song, you can picture the Ravens dancing across the sky. I would say that this song is pure Scott August, it's everything he's evolved his music to be: lush, rhythmic and well balanced.

Desert Skies is the third song and this song is a richly textured soundscape. This song has an ambient feel to it without any flutes, but it moves you nicely.

On the song, Where Spirits Dwell, Scott again employs the Anasazi flute on top of a moving soundscape rich with percussion. Scott again demonstrates his mastery of this instrument.

Swallows and Nighthawks is pure Native American style flute, nothing else. It's nice break on this album from all of the other textures. The flute is bright and stands alone nicely.

The next song, Thunder on the Mesa, has a unique opening percussion on the Udu. On the first couple plays, I found it an odd beat to open the song with. But now, this song is also one of my favorites on the album. I also have to admit that I've heard this song develop over the last year during Scott's live performances. This song is unmistakably Scott August with his trademark kalimba and rhythm breaks.

Scott takes us in several new directions with this album. Textures is a song that dares to run it's ambient course but is masterfully overlaid with the Anasazi flute. The flute on this song dances around the textures as it swirls from speaker to speaker. Huukyanga is another track on the album which was inspired by similar ambient underpinnings and the Anasazi flute over top. On Huukyanga, Scott plays the Anasazi flute with a speed and technical ability that I've never heard before.

The namesake track for the album, Lost Canyons is the longest piece on the album at over 8 minutes. But it keeps you engrossed for the whole time. It also is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

On Chasing the Sun, a fast paced and highly articulated song, I have the feeling of racing down a desert highway with the scenery racing past my window. Scott plays a triple flute on this song while the instrumentation in the background carries you along. This is fun piece to listen to.

To close the album, Scott slows things down with Twilight Canyon and Evening Star. The bass flute on Twilight Star and crickets in the background remind me of evening at the campfire. Reflecting on the days adventure...

Evening Star is the last piece on the album and for it, Scott returns to the Anasazi flute one last time. It's sweet little melody that demonstrates the range of tones which the Anasazi flute is capable of.

Lost Canyons is yet another masterful release by Scott August. Having known Scott now for many years, I know the dedication and time that he spends on his composition and recording. Once again Lost Canyons won't disappoint and I especially recommend it if you want to explore the possibilities with the Anasazi flute. I am sure that this isn't the last time we'll hear the Anasazi flute on Scott's albums.

The only downside that I can find in this new album is the dang small font that Scott used to describe the instruments on each track! I guess it's time for me to buy some reading glasses for these 40 something eyes.

If you want to listen to excerpts from the tracks from the new album, click below:

If you are interested in purchasing this album here's the link to Scott website:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

NCFC Weekend Events: Nov 9-11

So what do you think about the new Weekend Events Banner?
You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, Nov 10

Sunday, Nov 11

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Maui Xaphoon

Now for something completely different. I discovered this cool new pocket sax online. I know that many of the readers will be interested in this little musical invention. I haven't purchased one yet, but you can buy them online for $85-$200 or purchase the Pocket Xaphoon at Lark in the Morning store in San Francisco. Here's the link:

Monday, November 05, 2007

Mary Youngblood in Concert: Nov 6th

Just a reminder that Mary Youngblood is playing at Cultural Awareness Center at Sacramento City College tomorrow evening:

What: Mary Youngblood in Concert
When: 7 PM, November 6th, 2007
Cost: Free

Autumns Child Christmas Album: The Greatest Gift Now Available

Mark Holland and Autumns Child have released their Christmas album. It's filled with your favorite Christmas tunes, as interpreted by Autumns Child. Mark plays the Native American Flute masterfully and has orchestrated the rest of the instruments for a perfect blend. Here is a listing of some of the instruments used on various tracks on this recording: Native American Flutes, Guitars, Cello, Harp, Bass, Piano, Pedal Steel Guitar, Hammered Dulcimer, Gourd Water Drum, Hang Drum, Udu, Darbukka, Doumbek, Duduk, Daf, Setar.

You can listen to samples on the Autumns Child website.

Here's a list of the songs on the album:

Friday, November 02, 2007

Release your Stress

I wanted to pass along this opportunity to participate in a stress reduction program which has been set up by Eliana Gilad, founder of the Voices of Eden. Eliana is a musician, teacher and peace activist living in the Middle East. She plays and teaches the frame drum.

This program emails you one email message for 5 days, each day with a new and unique method to relax. I have been participating for two days now and I like where she it going with this program so I thought that I would pass it along.

You can subscribe to the 5 day stress reduction program by either going to her website or by sending an email (blank email is fine, it's an autoresponse program) to:

musicpeace-222483 AT autocontactor DOT com

The Voice of Eden website address is:

Problems with NCFC Flickr Pool

I noticed that there is some problem with the publication of pictures to the NCFC Flickr Pool that I set up. I am trying to resolve this with Flickr support. BUT - I did realize that the photos which I have published on my personal Flickr site can be seen by non-Flickr members.

Here's the link to my Flickr photos:

I will continue to add historical NCFC photos from my digital archives in the coming months.

We'll get things resolved the NCFC site, as I am working to set this up so that all of the NCFC Flute Circle Leaders can publish Flute Circle photos in one place.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New NCFC Flickr Photo Pool

I created a Flickr Photo Pool for the Northern California Flute Circle. This is your photo pool, so please feel free to join the Flickr group and upload your favorite photos from past NCFC-related flute circles, concerts or events.

Here's the link:

If you have photos from Mary Youngblood concert at Moaning Cavern last weekend, I have created a set of photos from this event. Please add your photos to this set.

More Moaning Caverns Photos

Thanks to everyone who took pictures at the Moaning Caverns event this last weekend. I just received notice from Rocky that he is posting some of his photos online. You can check out his awesome photos here:

NOTE: Rocky is using a photo service called Flickr, I am planning to setup an NCFC Flicker Pool for everyone to post their photos from NCFC events. I hope to get that online in the next couple days.

NCFC Weekend Calendar: Nov 2 - 4

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, Nov 3

Monday, October 29, 2007

Memories from Moaning Caverns with Mary Youngblood

Wow, what a wonderful day we had on Saturday with Mary Youngblood and the Northern California Flute Circle. The event took place at Moaning Caverns in central California, near Angels Camp. The NCFC members who were playing with Mary that night, arrived early in the afternoon, to practice, eat and have some fun before the event.

Here's a picture of Mary practicing and warming up on her guitar before the event:

During the flute circle before hand several foks jammed and warmed up. Here's a picture of (RtoL) Alex, Dan and Francesca.

The trip down into the cavern was pretty treacherous for the first 90 steps, especially when you were carrying an armful of instruments. Here's some NCFC members entering the cavern.

It was an amazing event (from my perspective). We started the show by turning out all of the lights and playing in the pitch black at the bottom of the cavern. Folks were sitting on the floor of the cavern, on the stairs and at the landing at the top of the cavern. For the first song (in the pitch black), David Blonski started with the didj (wow!), then the rest of the NCFC member came in with percussion, followed by the flutes. I've played my flute in the dark many times but this was the first time that I have played and improvized with other folks in the dark. It was a spiritual experience for me to listen and play without my vision. The experience is still difficult to describe. But we all sensed the end of the song intuitively and ended beautifully. The rest of the concert featured Mary on flute and guitar. We backed her up on percussion and a few folks played either with Mary or on their own.

At the end, Mary played a happy birthday rendition for folks celebrating their birthdays that night. Here's a photo of Mary serenading the birthday folks:

I am posting all of the pictures on the NCFC website here:

Check the website and blog often this week as I'll post more pictures as I receive them. If you have some pictures to be featured, please send them my way: mike DOT oitzman AT gmail DOT com

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Moaning Caverns: TODAY!

I am looking forward to seeing many of you today at Mary Youngbloods concert at Moaning Caverns. We're meeting at 3 PM in the parking lot of Moaning Caverns for a pre-flute circle and practice. Bring your A and G flutes plus shakers.
NOTE: don't bring your drum unless it has a synthetic skin head - it won't survive the humidity of the cavern and will be unplayable underground...

Friday, October 26, 2007

NCFC Weekend Calendar: Oct 26 -28

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, October 21

Sunday, October 21

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

SkinSongs: Women on the Drum

Here's an interesting drumming event happening next weekend in San Francisco.

What: SkinSongs: Women on the Drum
When: Sat., Oct. 27 8pm and Sun., Oct 28 at 2 and 6 pm
Where: Dance Mission Theater 3316 24th Street, San Francisco CA 94110
Ticket prices: $18 in advance, $20 at the door
For reservations: 415-273-4633 or to buy on line

Who: Carolyn Brandy & OJALÁ, Dance Brigade, Afia Walking Tree and Spirit Drumz, Ong Dance Company, Grrrl Brigade, Susu Pampanin, Dawn RichardsonDance Brigade presents 3 shows with women drummers representing different musical cultures of the world. The number of women redefining percussion traditions and drumming for art, spirituality and healing grows every year, especially in the Bay Area, as more women are rediscover their ancient birthright that traces women as the earliest known shamans whose religions revolved around the beating of the drum. This showcase of local talent will inspire, delight and invigorate. There will be a Healing Circle with Vicki Noble after Sunday evening show. For complete program information please see

Mary Youngblood Performance for Save Ourselves

Mary Youngblood will perform at the 3rd annual Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner and Auction at the Croatian Cultural Center in Sacramento. There will be dinner, a silent and live auction, and Mary will perform a set of her music. All in for the purpose of raising awareness and money for breast cancer.

What: 3rd annual Breast Cancer Awareness Dinner and Auction
When: Wednesday, Oct 24, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Where: 3730 Auburn Blvd., Sacramento

For more details click here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall NCFC Voice of the Circle Newsletter Online

The Fall 2007 NCFC Voice of the Circle newsletter was published and mailed to all NCFC members this morning. It's also available online if you can wait for the paper copy:

Note: Your membership number and membership expiration date is printed on the label for your mailing, this will help you know when your membership is set to expire.

If you are a new member and waiting for your membership card, your membership card was printed, laminated and included with your newsletter. If you are still waiting for your membership card (and don't receive it with the Fall Newsletter) please contact me at: ncfc AT naflute dot com

Friday, October 19, 2007

Reminder: Moaning Caverns with Mary Youngblood

Just a reminder that the trip to Moaning Caverns is coming up in little over a week (Oct 27), and tickets are going fast!!! If you want to attend the event as a spectator, you need to buy your tickets now.

Here's the link for tickets:

Also, Mary has invited a limited number of NCFC members to play with her during the concert. You must be a current NCFC member and RSVP (and space is limited) for this event.
To RSVP send an email to Dan Dicicco: flutecircle AT lopingwolf DOT com

NCFC Weekend Calendar: Oct 19 - 21

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, October 20

Sunday, October 21

Monday, October 15, 2007

Memories from a weekend with Xavier

Figure 1 - Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

Story by Antonio Silva, October 10, 2007

First let me start by telling you how I came to knowing about Xavier Quijas Yxayotl. I started playing the NAF (self taught) over a year ago and I was searching the internet for different ways on playing the NAF.

I came across the link to Robert "Tree" Cody and follow another link to his video performance of "Cross Roads". In this performance he was doing a duet with Xavier Quijas Yxayotl.

I took a look at Xavier flutes and said WOW! I got to have one of those. So I inquired with my internet friend "Google" searched and found Xavier's web page.

I did some more inquiring and got some information on the Clay Flute Making Workshop and registered for the workshop.

Now the day came for the workshop and being a “wood carver” I went into that day thinking I could make a triple flute right off the bat. Slow down..... I found out I had a hard time making my first ocarina.

So after my 5th ocarina, which making them became easier, I start my first flute. Rolling out the clay and placing it around the "template" was simple enough but when it came to making the mouth piece and tuning the flute, Xavier is a Master and was there to help everyone in class.

There were a few things that impressed me about Xavier during the workshop. First, he always started his workshop with a ceremony thanking everyone for being there and wishing everyone a great day. (see figure 2 below)

Figure 2 - Xavier during the opening ceremony.

When making our flutes and ocarina's Xavier was always going back to his roots and recalling the history and tradition of Mayan/Aztecan Flute Making.

Last but not least, we all hear news stories about these professional singers or band members and the bad ways they treat their fans. Well Xavier is NOT like them. Xavier is gracias, knowledgeable and overall a very nice man.

All in all, I made 5 ocarinas and 3 flutes. And yes, one of the flutes was a triple flute. (See figure 3 for a picture of all of the flutes made during the weekend workshop).

I'm looking forward to taking his next workshop.

Figure 3 - Xavier with all of the students creations from the weekend.

Xavier thank you for your time and patience.

I also want to give thanks to David Loo for organizing the workshop and for Nancy P. for allowing us to use her home for the workshop.

-Antonio S.

NOTE FROM MIKE: As Antonio wrote in his story, Xavier truly is a unique and wonderful spirit. We always welcome him with open arms when he visits Northern California. I hope that many of you will enroll in his flute making workshop the next time that we're able bring Xavier up for a visit. Thanks to Antonio for submitting this story about his experience at the recent clay flute making workshop with Xavier Quijax Xyxototl.

To read some past blog entries about Xavier, click here:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Women's Drumming Class - Palo Alto


WHEN: October 8-29, November 5,19, 26 December 10-17

TIME: Beginning class: 6:30-7:50 PM

Intermediate class 8:00- 9:30 PM--(if not yet entered into
this class, please speak to me.)

WHERE: St Andrew's Methodist Church, 4111 Alma St, Palo Alto, CA
COST: $135 for each series***Drop-in $20 per class No drop in for


WHEN: October 11-25,November 1,15,29 December 6-20

TIME: Beginning class: 6:30-7:50 PM

Intermediate class 8:00- 9:30 PM--(if not yet entered into
this class, please speak to me.)

WHERE: Unity of Palo Alto, 3391 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto.

Cost: $135 for each series***Drop-in $20 per class. No drop in for

Extra drums are available.

For more info contact: zorina AT villageheartbeat DOT com

Thursday, October 11, 2007

NCFC Weekend Calendar: Oct 12-14

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, October 13

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Historical Northern California Flute music?

I wanted to open up a question to all of the blog readers out there. I've been engaged in an email conversation with some friends to try and determine if there is any historical evidence for a flute or flageolet style instrument in the tribes of Northern California. Alternatively, does anyone know of any recording artist from a Northern California tribe, who has recorded either flute music or other traditional music (singing, drumming or other)?

To my limited knowledge, I have not heard of the existence of any flute music tradition in the tribes of Northern California. But someone out there may know more about the musical traditions of the Northern California tribes, so I am asking you...

You can respond in the comments, or send me an email and I'll post your comments (anonymously if you choose) in a future blog entry. Thanks!

email: ncfc AT naflute DOT com

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mike Oitzman and Friends in Concert, Sept 28th

I wanted to let everyone know that we're planning a small Native American Flute recital this Friday, prior the Fourth Friday Lecture series presented by the Placer Nature Center, in Auburn. I'll be joined by Dan & Sheree DiCicco and a few other Loping Wolf Clan members on stage for the event. If you come, please get there early, as we're going to start at 7 PM sharp and we only get 40 minutes before the lecture starts. The lecture also sounds to be very interesting this month. I hope that you'll come out and support us.

Here the details:

WHEN : Friday the 28th, 7:30 p.m.
WHAT: Placer Nature Center 4th Friday Lecture Series Ethno Botany: Ancient Wisdom for the Earth (Ecological Medicine) featuring Sage La Pena, Nomtipom – Wintu Cultural Educator, ethno botanist, author, herbalist and historian will share the indigenous perspective for personal and global healing and health. Native American flute recital opens lecture.
WHERE: Unity of Auburn, 1212 High St., Auburn.
COST (for the lecture): $12 ($10 members, $8 students) Discount available for full series.
CONTACT: Placer Nature Center, (530) 878-6053 or for info or tickets.

Check out Nash's website

I talk to Nash this afternoon, he now has a website where you can view his flutes. Nash lives in Southern California and occasionally makes it up to Northern California for Pow Wow's. Nash makes an impressive array of wooden flutes, bamboo flutes and a variety of clay vessel flutes & whistles. Nash is probably most famous for his Death Whistle (pictured above).

Here's Nash's website:

I posted an earlier blog entry about Nash:

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ancient Music for a New Generation - Xavier Quijas Yxayotl

Most of you in the Bay Clan know that Xavier is playing in the bay area this Friday night (Sept 28th). If you haven't seen Xavier before, and are curious if you'd like his music, here's a chance to sample his music before the event this Friday (view the YouTube video below). Xavier is the consumate showman, in my opinion. He'll make you laugh and you'll learn a little history along the wayl.

Xavier is also presenting a clay flute making workshop this weekend (Saturday and Sunday).

You find complete details on Northern California Flute Circle Calendar.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Save the Date: Oct 27th, Moaning Caverns with Mary Youngblood

Once again we're planning a trip to Moaning Caverns with Mary Youngblood. This event is turning into an annual pilgrammage with Mary to visit and play at the Moaning Caverns. This is the site where Mary recorded her first album: The Offering. If you listen closely to the songs on The Offering you can hear the water dripping in the background, and since it was such a part of the experience recording there, Mary left the sounds in the recordings rather than edit them out... If you want to see pictures from last years event click here:

It's a special place for Mary and you're invited to join her to hear her play and to experience playing yourself. Once again, Dan, Sheree and the Loping Wolf Clan are helping to coordinate this event. To attend, you'll need to RSVP to reserve your spot.

WHEN: OCT 27, 2007
WHERE: Moaning Caverns
RSVP: send an email to: flutecircle AT lopingwolf DOT com

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Weekend Event Calendar: Sept 21 -23

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

Saturday, September 15

Sunday, September 16

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NCFC Central in Europe this week

I am in Paris this week on business, so I am not publishing too much. But I have a story I will tell you later in the week (if I can upload some pictures) about my visit to instrument collection of the Musee du Quay Branly. It was absolutely incredible... They have a collection of close to 9,000 instruments and it is one of the largest in Europe.

Here is a link to search their collection of instruments:

Note that this user interface is in French, (and I couldn't find a way to save a search or select an English interface for the search), but if you select the button next to the words: "Instruments de musique" and then type your search (e.g. "flute" without quotes) into the box with the words: "Saisir la recherche" and press the return key, you should get a results list of a pictures of all of the instruments in their collection matching your search.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sacred Washoe Site: Cave Rock preserved

The US Appeals court upheld the Forest Service's ban on climbing at Cave Rock on Lake Tahoe. This is bad news if you're a rock climber in the Tahoe area, but good news if you support Indigenous Peoples Rights to sacred areas.

The interesting aspect of this story is that highway 50 is drilled right though the rock in question. If you've ever driven around the east side of Lake Tahoe, you have passed through the tunnel(s) which go through Cave Rock.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Weekend Event Calendar: Sept 14 - 16

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

NOTE: If I missed an event for the weekend, please add a comment with event info so that other can know!

There are no NCFC sponsored Flute Circles this weekend. But I hope that you get out and enjoy some nature!

Saturday, September 15

Sunday, September 16

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Indigenous Peoples Day, Oct 5 - Oct 8, Nevada City

There is a really exciting, local event coming up in early October: Indigenous Peoples Day.

It is 4 days of events taking place in the Nevada City, Grass Valley area. The event starts on Friday night, Oct 5 with an opening cermony by the local Maidu tribe. At sunrise the next morning there will be a calling back the salmon ceremony at sunrise at Bridgeport, on the Yuba river. Then the event continues with events on Sunday and Monday, with events at the Tsi-Akim Maidu Cultural Center in Grass Valley and the Miners Foundry in Nevada City.

Note: There used to be a celebration on October 8th for some lost explorer, but I think that this should be a much more exciting event!

Local radio station, KVMR will be on the air live on Sunday and Monday. If you're not close enough to catch the radio waves on 89.5, you can listen live on their internet radio feed from

For more information visit their websites at: or

For a printable poster of the event go here:

Or call 530-265-0711

Monday, September 03, 2007

Jonny Lipford on YouTube

Here's a video of Jonny Lipford on YouTube. Jonny has been the moderator for Mary Youngblood's Yahoo Listserv, and he just released his first album.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Album Review: Michael Jacobs

A few days ago, I posted a article about the Nammy awards. In that article I briefly mentioned a new Native American artist, Michael Jacobs that I discovered after listening to all of the nominated artists for the Nammys. Well, I subsequently downloaded several of Michael Jacobs songs from iTunes and I've been listening to them for the last couple of days. I have to say that I am really hooked on his music.

He has a sort of Don Henley-isk feel to his singing and music, and his songs have a real spirituality to them. I would highly recommend his music if you like this sort of folksy, rock genre.

There are several tracks with Native American Flute on them, but since I didn't purchase the CD I don't have the liner notes, so I don't know who played the flute for these tracks. I am not sure if Michael is a flute player or not.

Here's a few of my favorite tracks:

  • Tsiquaya - excellent flute track

  • Stronger - An awesome love ballad. You have to listen for yourself to determine who the story is about.

  • The Sacred Way - A great song about living your live in a sacred way

  • Inside of you - A catchy tune with acoustic guitar and flute. About growing up.

  • Heal the land - Michael sounds most like Don Henley on this song. The song is about the title.

  • Sky Woman - a nice ballad about the myth of Sky Woman

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Weekend Event Calendar: Aug 30 - Sep 3

You can alway check out the Northern California Flute Circle Calendar to see what's happening further out, but I encourage you to login every week to review what's coming up for the weekend events!

There are no NCFC sponsored Flute Circles this Labor Day weekend. But I hope that you get out and enjoy some nature!

Friday, August 31th

Saturday, September 1st

Sunday, August 26th