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

Monday, August 27, 2007

NAF Playing Tip #28: Guitar Chords to accompany the NAF

I've gotten many inquiries/requests from guitar players who would like to accompany a flute player or create music for the NAF. This is a difficult question to answer, since it really depends on the skill of the NAF player and the goals which you are trying to accomplish.

First of all, if your objective as a guitarist is to set the stage for a improvisational jam at a flute circle where you may be playing with a range of experience in the flute players, then it's best to keep the song structure to a mode (Mode 1) which enables the flute player to stay in the simple fingering of the NAF.

Here's a great link on Clint Goss's site which highlights some chord progressions for the Guitarist and the corresponding key for the flute player. Print this out and keep it in your guitar case or flute bag. Link:

However, this shouldn't stifle your creativity as there are many scales on the NAF. Writing a song and melody line in something other than a minor pentatonic scale will require additional skill on the part of the flute player, but it's also a great way for a flute player to stretch their skills.

In my opinion, one of the best NAF/guitar groups out there today is Elysium Calling. With Kenneth on flute and Garth on Guitar, these guys have a magic that I have yet to see duplicated in another NAF/Guitar duo. Yet, you won't hear a stream of minor pentatonic music from these guys. Garth is a master guitar player and writes music that speaks to his heart. Together with Kenneth, they work out a melody line that fits the groove of the guitar part, regardless of whether it's minor pentatonic, major diatonic or something else. Or visa versa, Kenneth will discover a nice melody line that Garth fills in with an appropriate chord line. While I have bragged about Elysium Calling as a NAF/Guitar duo, there are many other artists out there who have composed music first on the guitar and added the Native American Flute as the spice. This list includes Mary Youngblood, Mark Holland, Douglas Spotted Eagle and others.

If you want to understand the basic pentatonic scale on the guitar, check out an earlier post in which I describe the basic pentatonic scale on the Native American Flute.

The bottom line for all of you guitar players out there is to download Clint's guitar chords, practice 'em a bit, make up a few basic simple songs and then hop over to a flute circle near you!! You are invited to attend any scheduled NCFC Flute Circle, you might want to contact the flute circle leader prior to the event so that they can make time for some open jam time.

Creative Commons License

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Weekend Event Calendar: Aug 24-26

This is a new blog feature which I am going to publish every week on Thursdays, highlighting events in Northern California coming up on the weekend. 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!

If you are a musician or group and would like to have your event or concert published here, the deadline is the Wednesday evening prior to the weekend for that weeks events (you can always send it earlier).

I will publish all Northern California Flute Circle events, plus Pow Wow's and other Native gatherings, art exhibits, events which are of interest to members of the NCFC. Any music event which includes Native American style flute playing or frame drumming, or world music is fair game. I want to keep each item to a line or two, and include a URL or link whenever possible for more information.

Friday, August 24th

  • Nothing... (that I am aware of)

Saturday, August 25th

Sunday, August 26th

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Northwest Flute Quest, Aug 24-26

Next weekend is the Northwest Flute Quest, it's happening in Bothell Washington (which is right across the lake from Seattle).
Performers include:

And headlining the event will be two of my favorite performers: Gary Stroutsos and David Lanz

There are workshops all weekend, including several flute making workshops, and workshops for all levels of players.

For more information check out the website:

Oklahoma Flute Fest 2007 coming up

Just a reminder that the Oklahoma Flute Fest is coming up on October 5-7, 2007. It's hosted by the Tahlequah Native American Flute Circle. The line up looks awesome, so if you can afford to make it to Oklahoma for this inagural event, it'll be memorable. Mark Holland and Autumn's Child will be headlining the event on Saturday night. There also looks like there will be an awesome attendance by some of the best flutemakers in the business.

For compete details check out the Flute Fest Website:

TNAFC Festival mail to:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Julie Surba, Pyrography Artist

I have to admit that I stumbled into Julie Surba's site and I was amazed to browse her pyrography work. She has taken the art of wood burning (pyrography) to new places. Her artwork is inspired by the almost forgotten culture of Ancient Kuzhebar (Siberia), that is why her objects often represent the unique world-picture of aboriginal inhabitants of Ancient Kuzhebar. I find her artwork fascinating.

Her work is more relief carving than the traditional woodburning artwork I have seen done prior. She essentually uses the woodburning tool to remove material by burning it away. The results are simply amazing.

She has done several instruments, including frame drums. But I can only wonder what this would look like on a Native American flute? Unfortunately she lives in Europe, so it not likely that we're going to see a Native American Flute with her artwork on it anytime soon.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Bear encounter at Bucks Lake Campground

This is a short video that i uploaded to YouTube. It's of a brown bear that we encountered while camping at Buck's Lake (near Oreville California). This guy came by our campground every afternoon (and after dark) looking for food. You really had to be diligent about putting your food away.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Native American Music Awards Voting now open

Don't forget that voting is now open for the Ninth Annual Native American Music Awards. The show is taking place on Saturday, October 6th, 2007 at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, NY. Special guests at this years event include Native American flute players: Mary Youngblood, Michael Searching Bear and Jeff Ball.

On the site you can listen to clips of music which have been nominated for awards. Or you can click here to popup the standalone music player in your browser

Of course our very own Mary Youngblood has been nominated this year for Artist of the Year and Record of the Year with "Dance with the Wind". Dance with the Wind is Mary's best work to date and I think that it should easily take Record of the Year awards. Mary continues to push herself to new places and this record illustrates her musical ability, both as a composer and a musician.

For flutist of the year I would highly recommend Evren Ozan or Robert Tree Cody.

For Best New Age Recording I would recommend either “AnaneahArvel Bird, William Eaton, Mary Redhouse, Will Clipman or “Heart of the Wind” Robert Tree Cody & Will Clipman
And for Best Male Vocalist and/or Best Pop Recording, you have to listen to Michael Jacobs. I just love his songwriting and composition.

To vote, goto the
NAMMY Voting Site you don't need to log-in, you can simply vote, but only once on any given computer. Once you complete the voting for a category, you'll be able to see the results immediately.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Valley Clan Flute Circle, 8/26

The next Valley Clan Flute Circle will be held on Sunday, August 26, from 3-5 PM. The Valley Clan is switching to Sundays for the next couple of months.

Check the NCFC Calendar for exact details:

Mary Youngblood at Fairytown - Tonight!

Mary Youngblood and Sisters of the Earth will be playing at the Fairytale Town Twilight Concert Series in Sacramento this evening.

When: Wednesday August 15
Time: 6PM - 8PM
Cost: Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 3-12 and Free for children 2 and under.

Fairytale Town
Phone: (916) 264-7462
3901 Land Park Drive Sacramento California

Seating is first come first serve, so pack a blanket and get a great spot on the lawn. Come relax in the shade after a long day in the sun and get some extended playtime in, too! The Dish and Spoon Cafe will be serving delicious food, and beer and wine will be available for purchase as well. Tickets will be available for at the door the night of the performance. Doors open at 5:30pm.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Some excellent examples of learning to play Guitar or Banjo

I discovered the following links to some online books about learning to play the Guitar and the Banjo. As a music instructor, I found them very interesting in both how they are structured as well as the marketing of the books with Creative Commons licensing.

If you've always wanted to learn how to play that guitar (or banjo) that's been sitting in the corner gathering dust, check this out:

The How and Tao of Folk Guitar:

If you've always wanted to learn how to play the banjo, here's another link:

The How and Tao of Old Time Banjo:

Monday, August 13, 2007

NAF Playing Tip #27: Online Flute Lessons from Odell Borg

I recently discovered that Odell Borg (High Spirits Flutes) has posted a 6 part flute series of introductory Native American Flute playing videos on You Tube. I believe that this is simply a series of clips from his introductory DVD. But the best part is that it's FREE! So if you're just starting out and want to learn some of the basics, check this out:

Creative Commons License

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


Friday, August 10, 2007

Panart Hang instrument for bid on Ebay

I know that many of you have been fortunate to play or hear Frankie's Hang instument at one of the NCFC flute circle gatherings. If you're like me, and have fallen in love with this instrument then you know that they are extremely rare and difficult to purchase (more on my journey to purchase my own Hang in a future blog entry). Anyhow, I noticed that there is one for bid on Ebay if you're interested, the last bid was over $2300, but considering that they cost at least $1800 AND you have to travel to Switzerland to purchase one, this is still a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I don't have an extra couple of grand laying around at the moment, so this one isn't destined to be mine... but maybe it's in your future!

Ann Licater in Concert, Aug 18th

Ann Licater is performing at the Center for Spiritual Living on Saturday August 18th. This is great opportunity to hear Ann's music. The event includes special guests Troy Arnett on piano and Dave DiLullo on percussion.

Where: Center for Spiritual Living
When: Saturday, August 18
Time: 7:30 PM (arrive early to get a seat)
Tickets: $15 advance and $20 at the door

For more information:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Native American Flute Fest, 07

The Central Coast Flute Circle is hosting the first Annual Native American Flute Fest 07, featuring a concert by recording artists: Scott August and our very own Ann Licater. Scott will be playing live to his multimedia performance of images from the southwest. This is the same performance which those fortunately enough to see Scott perform at the NCFC Spring Festival experienced. It'll be a great event, I am sure.
In addition, there will a premiere screening of the documentary: "Journey to Zion", highlighting the Zion flute festival this year.
When: September 29, 2007,
Time: 2:00 p.m
Where: Royal Theater in Guadalupe, Gateway to the Dunes.
Cost: List Price: $15.00 Sale Price: $12.00
For more details and to purchase tickets goto the website: