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

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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.

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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