Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mark Holland Concert Updates

Mark Holland will be visiting the Bay Clan and the Joaquin Clan next month on a quick tour through Northern California. These events are sponsored by the Northern California Flute Circle and hosted by the local clans.

If you haven't had the chance to see or hear Mark Holland live, then you are in for a treat. This is a must see event and one which you won't long forget.

Mark loves to do the smaller house concerts because it provides him with the chance to interact with the audience on a more personal level. For each of these events, Mark will invite flute circle members to join him on stage for an open mic session, so be sure to bring one of your favorite flutes (in a common key: A, G, F#)

Bay Area Concert
Saturday, April 14th, 2007
8 PM
Mountain View, CA
For details, click here

Modesto Concert
Sunday, April 15th, 2007
2 PM
Modesto, CA
For details, click here

Friday, March 23, 2007

Kevin Locke Interview to Download

I downloaded and listened to a interesting interview with Kevin Locke on my MP3 player during my flight back from the east coast yesterday. Kevin was interviewed for a program called the Jefferson Hour on public radio in which an actor plays the role of Thomas Jefferson. There is no flute content on this interview, but Kevin tells many interesting stories about the Lakota tradition and the interaction of Lewis and Clark Expedition (this was the historical aspect of the program as it involved the personality of Thomas Jefferson).

Kevin tells the story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman, and shares many wonderful explanations of the Lakota language and explanation of Lakota words. In the banter with 'Thomas Jefferson', Kevin discusses religion, the existence of God/Great Spirit and the Lakota culture at the beginning of the 1800's.

This show is produced by Makoche Recording Company which produces records for artists such as Bryan Akipa, Keith Bear, Joseph Fire Crow, Sissy Goodhouse, Annie Humphrey, Kevin Locke, Gary Stroutsos, Lakota Thunder and Andrew Vasquez.

Here's a link to the website and MP3 download:



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ann Licater CD Release Party March 31

Ann Licater is having a party and you're invited!!
She's finally wrapped all of the recording, mixing and mastering of her first solo Native American Flute CD. So it's time to release it to the world.

Way to go Ann!

Many of you know Ann Licater from her work at the San Jose Center for Spiritual Living. She performs there often during services / meditation. She has also presented many Beginning Flute Workshops over the last couple of years, getting the 'hook' into many of you. I am blessed to know Ann and I am thankful for all of the positive ways that she influences the South Bay flute world. I encourage all of you to come and support and celebrate this event with Ann.

When: Saturday, March 31st at 7:30 p.m.

Where: East West Bookstore, Downtown Mountain View, CA
Tickets for the event are priced at $10 if you order now or $15 at the door.
Please click on the link to get all the information. The venue only holds 120 people so you may want to reserve tickets ahead: http://www.eastwest.com/march_events.html#31a

Here's a link to Ann's website:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Flyer for Zion Flute Festival now online

Click on the following Image to download a printable (PDF) version of the Zion Flute Festival.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No Flute Class on 2/20

Unfortunately I need to be out of town on business this next week and I am unable to teach class in Palo Alto this week. Class will resume with the sixth class of the series with the subject: "Composing your own music on the NAF"

The Nest by Laughing Mallard

Laughing Mallard flute cases and the Oregon Flute Store (actually one in the same...) have created a new flute case called "The Nest" designed to make your 'flute event' travels that much easier.

This flute case features a more backpack like design and it looks like it will serve you well in helping to carry not only your flutes, but the other stuff that you want to bring along on your flute adventure. Kudo's to Jeff and Joanne Calavan for designing a really innovative new flute case.

The flute case features a pocket for your water bottle (nice!), padded shoulder straps and a security pocket for your wallet (necessary for holding the cash which you'll be bringing to buy flutes from flutemakers at the upcoming NCFC Spring Festival).

I don't own one yet, but I am definitely looking at this with interest.

Cost is $200, available exclusively from the Oregon Flute Store

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New Flute Arrives!

I know that if you have the same disease that I have (chronic flute fever) then I can only imagine what the image above is doing to you at the moment. I apologize for this Pavlov's dog teaser, but I wanted to you experience the same anticipation that I had as I came home two weeks ago to this beautiful triagular shaped package on my doorstep...

First a little history…

As many of you know, I have been enthralled with discovering all of the other scales which are present on the Native American Flute. In 1999, while on a trip to Monterey CA, I stopped by the farmers market and I saw and heard a fife made from hemlock root stock made by flutemaker and street vendor, Bo Bixler. Here's a picture of one of Bo's wonderful painted fifes:

Note, that I don't own the flute shown above, but I do own one of Bo's other fife's, and it’s a very cool flute. Not a Native American Flute, but a wonder flute none-the-less. The reason that I bring this story up is that Bo also had in his inventory a flute with a scale which he called “Spanish Gypsy Scale”. I was enthralled with the Spanish Gypsy scale, but chose to purchase a diatonically tuned flute instead that day. The Spanish Gypsy Scale, however had sparked my subconscious. The Spanish Gypsy scale is the sound of gypsy’s, of the middle eastern traditional music.

Anyhow, when I got home I became obsessed with the Spanish Gypsy Scale, I had to look up the Spanish gypsy scale on the web and the only sites where I found this scalte were on guitar scale sites. This suited me fine since I am guitar player, and I sat down to translate the Spanish Gypsy Scale from the guitar scale format to the Native American Flute. Unfortunately, I’ve lost contact with Bo. If anyone knows how to contact him, I’d love to find him again. He was a bit of nomad, living in the bay area on his boat.

You can click here to read my earlier NAF playing tip blog entry highlighting the Spanish Gypsy Scale for a typical, modern tuned NAF.

The Present

Fast forward to the INAFA convention last August. I ran into Leonard McGann and he had a few Native American Style flutes tuned with a straight Spanish Gypsy Scale fingering (no cross fingering required). I would have bought one of these flutes from Leonard, but I was out of cash and all he had left at the end of the event was a ‘regular fingered’ flute. I still have one of Leonard's Spanish Gypsy tuned flutes on my wish list.

The latest design from Stephen DeRuby…

Fast forward to last month. I was browsing the Zion Flute Festival and saw an ad flash up for Stephen DeRuby and his new “Gypsy Flute”. I was immediately hooked. Stephen is good friend of mine and one of my favorite flute makers, so I called him up and ordered one of his new “Gypsy flutes”.

Here’s the details on my new flute which arrived in the box pictured at the top of the blog entry, I have had two weeks to play around with it now and I really love the sound and the scale of this flute. The key difference in this flute (along with Leonards tuning as well) from the cross-fingered version which you can play on any modern-tuned NAF, is that the first note fo the Spanish Gypsy scale has been put into these flutes. The first interval of the true Spanish Gypsy Scale is a half step, and unfortunately this interval is not avialable on a modern pentatonic NAF, where the interval between the root/fundamental note and the first hole is one and half steps. (OK, before you flute techies send me nasty email, it IS possible to make a half step note if you 'quarter hole' the first hole of the flute, but I don't think that this is practical for most folks and it's really difficult to play fast...). The picture below shows the unique fingering of the Gypsy Flute design. Note that there are 7 finger holes on this flute:

Note that there are only two holes for the bottom hand (index and pinky) and there are five holes for the upper hand (all four fingers plus a thumb hole on the bottom):

I’ll admit that this flute fingering takes a little while to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, it works pretty well. On your bottom hand, you keep your thumb and middle and ring finger on the barrel of the flute and this provides the stability to remove all of the fingers and thumb of your top hand when you play the octave note.

Note also that the mouthpiece for this flute is designed like a recorder/whistle, rather than the traditional Native American Flute fipple design. I asked Stephen about this design change and he described the sound quality as much brighter and more stable for this scale than with a the NAF fipple design. I was skeptical, until I received the flute. I’ll admit now, that this is a very bright flute, and I’ve already played it with my Middle Eastern drum circle. I was able to play above the drumming with out amplification.

The only negative that I have found with this flute is that it tends to water out faster than any other flute I have in my collection. I am not sure why that is, but I attribute it to the different fipple design for now.

The wood on this flute is spalted maple, and it has a beautiful vein running through it (I don’t think that the pictures show it’s complete beauty). If you’re interested in owning one of these, contact Stephen directly or check them out at the upcoming NCFC/NoNahme Spring Festival on April 21, 2007. Stephen will be a vendor at this event. This flute is only available in the key of D.
I'll post an MP3 of this flute later, once I get a chance to get into my studio for some recording time.
UPDATE: 3/17/07 - Stephen emailed me to inform me that he is also producing this in the key of A now. He'll have a few with him at the NCFC Spring Festival...

For more information:

Love Flutes
Stephen Deruby

Lone Crow Flutes
Leonard McGann
(540) 297-6077
email: caveratlc AT aol DOT net

Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 16, 2007

FAITA Award announced

I am passing on the news that the First Americans In The Arts (FAITA) has voted for Mary Youngblood for an Outstanding Musical Achievement award this year. Mary will receive her award at the awards event on April 14th, 2007 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

"First Americans in the Arts is a non-profit organization created to recognize, honor and promote American Indian participation in the powerful arena of the entertainment industry. Incorporating areas of film, television, music and theater. FAITA presents an annual award ceremony recognizing outstanding achievement, performances and contributions by and to the Native American Indian entertainment community
Here's a couple of articles highlighting the last two years' events: 2006, 2005.

We might all have to chip in and buy Mary a bigger mantle to hold all of the music awards she has received lately! We at the NCFC are all proud of Mary's career and where she taken her art.

Cama'i my sister!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

November/December Native Peoples Magazine

The November/December 2006 issue of Native Peoples Magazine features an article on the Native American flute. This article highlights the work of flutemakers: Bryan Akipa (Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux), Alex Maldonado (Pascua Yaqui), Daniel Bigay (Echota Cherokee), Charles Littleleaf (Warm Springs/Piegan Blackfeet) and Sonny Nevaquaya (Comanche).

I just ordered my copy, and I can't wait to read the article.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Workshops Featured for Upcoming NCFC/NoNahme Spring Festival

We have posted information on the workshops being offered at the upcoming NCFC/NoNahme Spring Festival. These classes/workshops will be offered during the day on Saturday, April 21, 2007. Note that we haven't scheduled the exact start times for the classes yet, but I wanted to at least let you know about the workshop topics:

"Beginning Native American Flute" Workshop with Mike Oitzman. This introductory workshop will teach you the basics of playing the Native American Flute. You'll learn basic breathing techniques, the basic scale and how to care for your Native American Flute. Length: 2 hours. Cost: $20 includes book: "A Users Guide to the Native American Flute" by Mike Oitzman, includes demostration CD. No prerequisites. Start time: TBD

"Playing from the heart" flute workshop with Scott August. This workshop features recording artist Scott August presenting a topic which he know well. While Scott is an accomplished composer, he also spends a lot of his time playing "in the moment". This is a great opportunity to learn how to improvize on the Native American Flute. Length: 2 hours. Cost: $40 . Prequisite: basic knowledge of the basic scale on the Native American Flute. Start time: TBD

"Flute Makers Forum" with Lew Paxton Price This workshop features two of the most experienced flutemakers in the business. Lew will describe the basics of flutemakers and be avialable to answer any and all questions you may have about the skills and craftsmanship of making these wonderful instruments.Length: TBD Cost: TBD Prequisite: Basic woodworking skills.

"Introduction to the Didgeridoo" Workshop with David Blonski. This workshop will introduce you to the basics of playing the Australian Didgeridoo.Length: 1 hour. Cost: TBD. No prerequisites.Start time: TBD

"Introduction to Native American Drumming" workshop with the Feather River Singers. The Feather River Singers will host this unique workshop outlining the basics of Native American Drumming. This workshops includes drumming tradition and etiquette. Length: TBD. Cost: TBD. No prerequisites. Start time: TBD

More workshop details will be provided once we get the complete day organized.
To RSVP for a workshop, contact Lew Paxton Price at: lewprice AT softcom DOT net

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tickets on Sale now for NCFC/NoNahme Flute Festival Concert

Tickets are on sale now for the evening concert at the NCFC/NoNahme Spring Festival.

Here's a list of the performers:
  • David Blonski with special guest Stephen DeRuby
  • Feather River Singers
  • Scott August
To order tickets, send a check for the total numbers of tickets ($10 each). Make the check payable to KFOK-FM Radio (not NCFC). The last date to purchase presale tickets via mail is April 15, 2007. After April 15, you will be able to purchase any remaining tickets from the NCFC booth on the day of the event.

Send your check to:

Marion Cole, 6275 Garden Park Drive, Garden Valley, CA 95633

Presale tickets will be available for will call at the NCFC Table/Booth at the Flute Circle on Saturday the 21st from 8 AM until 6 PM, or at the NCFC Table at the concert in the evening until 7 PM.

Mark Holland NCFC Concert Schedule

We're excited to announce that Mark Holland will be in Northern California in April for a couple of concerts. Details are still evolving, but here's the concert dates:

Saturday, April 14th, Bay Area, Location TBA, Time TBA

Sunday, April 15th, Modesto, Location TBA, Time TBA

Note that Mark Holland recently updated his website. Mark was here in August 2006 and played at the INAFA convention. If you were fortunate to see him there, then you know how wonderful his music is. I hope that you all are able to here Mark play live

REVIEW: Ancient Light DVD by Scott August

"This is one music DVD sure to mesmerize the listener with its stunning visuals of the southwest and extraordinary soundtrack." - Mike Oitzman, March 2007

Scott August sent me an early copy of his new DVD: Ancient Light to review last week. I have watched it several times and each time I find myself lost in all of the great images. This DVD combines Scott’s music and his collection of images from the southwest into a stunning multimedia experience.

I have loved Scott’s music since the release of his first album, Distant Spirits. In my view, Scott August is the consummate composer, and his CD’s always take me on a musical journey. I’ve known Scott for many years now and I’ve am excited to see one more imaginative and finely produced product come out of Cedar Mesa Music.

The one talent which I didn’t realize that Scott had, until now, is that of photographer. This disc shows this talent in spectacular detail. Although I imagine that it’s hard to take a bad picture of the many of scenes included in the visuals in this disc, Scott finds a way to make every image amazing. I know that he has taken many, many photo’s of the southwest (check out this link or this link for more pictures by Scott), and I would imagine that the hardest part of this project was editing the pictures down to the one’s included in the final version of the disc.

Probably the best recommendation for this DVD comes from my six year old son who sat down and watched the DVD with me for the first viewing. He was immediately drawn to the music and the visuals and sat on my lap mesmerized while the video played. You’ll find this a great DVD to play in the background for a party, flute circle or any event where you want to enhance the music experience beyond just listening to the CD. I see something new in the pictures every time that I’ve watched it.

If you don’t own any of Scott’s music, this is a great compilation of music from his previously recorded CD’s.

About the Music

The DVD features some of Scott's best music from his previously released CD's:
Here's a list of the song titles:

The DVD also includes the following special features:

Southwest Destinations, Commentary by Scott August - in this special feature, Scott shows some of his favorite pictures from the DVD and talks about the things which he likes about the different areas, parks and features of the Southwest. I was especially interested in this part of the DVD since we're planning our trip to Utah this summer.

Animal Dreams, Wildlife of the Southwest - in this special feature, scott includes some of his favorite pictures of animals he has encountered during his travels in the southwest. Each animal picture is accompanied by sound recordings of the animals.

About Scott August - this special feature provides some additional detail about Scott August and his recording career.

You can order your own copy now, by clicking here.

Monday, March 12, 2007

News Flash for the NCFC Spring Gathering

The NoNahme Clan continues to work hard on all of the details for the upcoming NCFC Spring Gathering on April 21, 2007. You can download a flyer for this event by clicking here.

We're proud to announce that Scott August will be joining us to headline the evening concert.

You can purchase tickets now by calling Marion Cole at 530-621-3227 or Mignon Geli at 530-333-0299. Cost is $10 pre-sale, concert tickets will be $12 on the day of the event.

Scott August will also be presenting a 2 hour, "Playing from the Heart" workshop during the day on Saturday. Cost for this workshop will be $40. To signup for this workshop, email ncfc AT naflute DOT com

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reminder: Flute Class next week in Palo Alto

I wanted to post a reminder that the latest series of beginner flute classes continues in Palo Alto. We're nearing the end of this series of classes. Next week, the topic is "Improvization and playing from the heart". This topic is one which anyone can benefit, regardless of your experience, so I invite you to drop in for this class. I will be introducing ideas and exercises for improvization. The only prerequisite is that you are comfortable with the basic scale on the flute.
The class after that will focus on songwriting and techniques for constructing songs, building on the ideas of improvising and discovery. Again, any one is welcome to drop in on this class.

Tuesday March 6th, 5:30PM - 7 PM, Topic:"Improvization and Playing from the Heart on the Native American Flute"
Drop in fee: $15

Tuesday March 20th, 5:30PM - 7 PM, Topic: "Song Writing and techniques for song construction on the Native American Flute"
Drop in fee: $15

All classes held at the Marhatis Elightenment Center, Palo Alto
Directions & details: http://www.naflute.com/MIkeclass2.html

New Flutes from Spirit of the Woods

Ed Hrebec just posted pics of some new flutes for sale. Many in this release are reasonably priced. There are a couple of nice looking dual chamber flutes. Ed makes awesome flutes, you won't go wrong with a Spirit of the Woods flute.

Flutemakers: Add me you to your email list if you want me to post your latest creations here.