Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yosemite Flute Festival 2009 Day 2

Saturday at the Yosemite Flute Festival.

There was lots of live music throughout the day. The open mic went non-stop (except for the drum circle time) throughout the day. It’s really fun to listen to all of the different ways that folks have to express their music through the Native American Flute. Here’s a picture of NCFC members Eric and Allie Ray (from Marysville) on stage. BTW, Eric has been nominated for a Nammy this year, you can vote for Eric here:

It looks like the drum circle was a huge hit again this year, and is now a permanent part of the tradition of the festival. David Ferrier was kind enough to let folks without a drum (like me) borrow a drum from his inventory to play during the drum circle. Bill Timothy (Central Coast Flute Circle) facilitated the drum circle and kept the music going.

The highlight of the afternoon was the ending of the silent auction. There were lots of great flutes and other raffle items to choose from. The bidding started heating up as the deadline approached. In the end everyone appeared to be satisfied with their purchase, including one gal who won three flutes. Here's some pic's of the winners:

Paul Thompson from Albuquerque NM showed up today, he was here to perform on stage with Gary Stroutsos at the concert. But Paul also brought some flutes to sell. It’s been 8 years since I’ve seen Paul Thompson, and at that time, I wasn’t completely familiar with place in the history of flutemakers in North America nor was I in a place on my path to buy one of his flutes, but I didn’t let that opportunity slip past me this time, as I bought one of Paul black bamboo flutes. Paul has been making flutes since the early seventies and has influenced many, many flutemakers and flute players since that time. His flute will have a special place in my collection. Here’s Tim Blueflint with a birdhead flute by Paul Thompson.

As I surveyed all of the flutes and other artwork for sale this weekend, one flute caught my eye. In Brent Haines booth, I saw a wonderful painting, and when I asked Brent who the artist was, he picked up a flute and showed me the work of Jeremy Johns. Jeremy is a 20 year old artist from Brent’s town. Brent saw another piece of his artwork and asked Jeremy if he’d be interested in painting a flute (or two) for Brent. From that collaboration came this beautiful dragonfly flute (see below). The detail is phenomenal (the picture doesn’t do it justice). You can expect to see more collaboration between Brent and Jeremy in the future.

Finally, the evening ended with a wonderful concert by a large cast of musicians including Stephan DeRuby, Kim, Rick and Linda Dunlop, Gary Stroutsos, Paul Thompson, William Hoshal and Vince Chafin.
I especially enjoyed Gary Strousos and William Hoshal tribute to Paul Horn.
The highlight of the evening was the final piece, a tribute to the Beatles, were all of the performers played a version of Within You Without You. Gary even donned spectacles (like George Harrison) for the final song.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another great day at Yosemite

So another day ends, and where did it go? I apologize to everyone, I
had good intentions of posting more often throughout the but it turns
out to be difficult to post from the small screen of the phone. I took
alot of pictures and I'll post my favorites tomorrrow.

Yosemite Flute Festival 2009 Day 1 – Recap

It’s Saturday morning here in Oakhurst. I am reminiscing about the wonderful day we had yesterday at the event. There’s a wonderful collection of vendors this year, everything from flutes (of course) to drums, to Native art and some great jewelry. I was lucky to find some time yesterday to met almost all of the vendors and survey all of the great art that they’ve brought to the show this year. I plan to get more pictures today of more flutes and flute makers.
Here's Linda Dunlop, setting up the latest creation called "Baby Moyo's".

Here’s this summer’s litter of new drums by David Ferrer. I spent a bit of time in Dave’s booth yesterday “trying out” all of his latest creations. It was hard to leave his tent…

I’ve enjoyed watching David mature in this craft over the last couple years, as he started first by selling his drums at the Loping Wolf winter gathering and now he’s making drums full time and enjoying every moment of it. David lives in the Sacramento area.

The concert was a fun evening. I didn’t get too many pic’s from the concert (other than the previous post of Michael Graham Allen). I did get a few pic’s before the show. Here’s a picture of myself, Kenneth Hooper and Dan Ricketts.

Garth Brooks and Kenneth Hooper took the stage first, in a much anticipated reunion of Elysium Calling. Unfortunately, they had to fight through some problems with the sound system for their first couple songs, but I thought that they handled it professionally, and Garth was able to make light humor of the situation. They entertained with a nice sampling of songs from their albums. I am sure that they made some new fans last night.

Michael Graham Allen, (AKA Coyote Oldman) took the stage next, and provided an incredible sampling of music and sound from a variety of his historical recreations. Michael is now building (and selling) an array of flutes based on his research into all of the different flutes and flute tradition from across North America. Michael has brought these sounds back to life, and it was mesmerizing to hear him play all of these flutes. Like I said in my earlier post, I really think that Michael Graham Allen may be a living “Kokopelli”, spreading the ancient sound of the flute traditions to a new generation. Michael invited Rick Dunlop on stage for a couple of pieces, including one where Rick played him Moyo drum in an Anasazi-tuning. It was one of those magical moments of the evening.
Here's a picture of Michael Graham Allen (l) and Rick Dunlop (r)

Scott August took the stage last, and he entertained us with a selection of many of his best songs. Like Michael Graham Allen, Scott has become one of the most proficient performing artists on the Anasazi flute. When Scott combines the Anasazi with all of the sound textures that Scott is able to coax out of his computer in the studio, it’s an incredible thing.

So now I am off to day 2 of the event. But one memory stands out from yesterday. Geri Littlejohn is in town, and it was fun to see her again. I think that I hardly saw her throughout the day when she wasn’t giving hugs to someone. Geri brought Zebb along for the trip, and I think that at eight, he’s already a great “flute salesman”. He challenged me to a game of “corn hole” (tossing the corn filled bags at a target), and he beat me 11-9. I’ll remember that game for a long time.

PS – Happy Birthday to Rick Dunlop (it was it birthday yesterday). Nothing like throwing yourself a big party, complete with 30+ flute vendors and a huge concert!!

Michael Graham Allen in Concert

Here's a picture of Michael Graham Allen (aka Coyote Oldman) from the
concert last night at the Yosemite
Flute Festival. The photo isn't great because it was taken with my
iPhone and no flash. But I thought that he kinda looked like Kokopelli
here, don't you think?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yosemite Flute Festival Concert

Sound check for the concert. Here's Garth Brooks tuning up for the
show. Tonight's gig includes Elysium Calling, Coyote Oldman and Scott

Informal jam

Dave Blonski, Stephan DeRuby, and Rick Dunlop in an informal jam in
preparation for tomorrow nights concert.

Yosemite flute festival 2009

Open mic has started. Here's John Kulias on stage. Lot's of others
coming up. It's warm here.

Yosemite Flute Festival 2009 Day 1

It's Friday morning. A crisp autumn morning in the Sierra's.
Last night, we had the volunteer and vendor BBQ. It was a fun event, and a great chance to chat with everyone in a real relaxed atmosphere. All of the flutemakers are here and most of the performers. I am looking forward to a great day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Live Blogging from Yosemite Flute Festival 2009

Stay tuned this weekend, as I'll be "live blogging" from the Yosemite Flute Festival.
I'll update the blog as often as I can with pictures, stories and hopefully a few interviews of flute makers and artists.

What: Yosemite Flute and Art Festival
Where: Oakhurst, CA

When: Friday Sept 25 - Sunday Sept 27, 2009




Descendants of Famous Native Americans Join Effort to Honor and Heal

For more information, contact the Tsi Akim Maidu Thrift Store, 530-477-0711

GRASS VALLEY, CA. Descendants of famous Native Americans, including Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse, will join members of the local Maidu tribe in a four day celebration October 9-12, 2009. The tenth annual Indigenous Peoples Days is expected to draw hundreds of native and non native supporters, including Mohawk musicians from the East Coast and Maori healers from New Zealand.

The gathering of descendants is a new addition to a local cultural event that has grown in ten years from a small candelight vigil on Broad Street to a four day gathering. The event opens Friday night in downtown Nevada City with a round dance in the street.

On Saturday traditional runners will carry a salmon seven miles from Parks Bar to Bridgeport State Park at the South Yuba River, to an ancient riverside Maidu gathering called “Calling Back the Salmon”. This year the town of Smartsville will honor the runners as they pass through the town.

On Sunday, descendants of famous natives will join Navajo flutists, Maori healers, Hawaiian dancers, and a women’s drum circle for a day of celebration at the site of a traditional Maidu village, now the Maidu Active Cultural Center, or MACC, just outside Nevada City.

Story telling, a round dance, and fry bread are part of the children’s celebration on Monday morning at Miners Foundry, in downtown Nevada City. A ‘mother drum’ will hold the stage during an afternoon of discussions. Descendants, elders, and others will talk about healing soul wounds and reviving the Maidu language. The four day celebration ends with the Richard Prout Memorial Dinner.

IPD is an effort by local Tsi Akim Maidu tribal members to honor ancestors and heal the wounds of a history of genocide that began long before the Gold Rush. “Indigenous Peoples Days is not just a celebration of American Indian culture, but every culture that has been oppressed by colonial power.” according to Michael Ben Ortiz, a Choctaw man and a primary organizer. “People gain a greater sense of their identity. We share a deeper sense of respect for each other and the land we live on.”

The all volunteer, drug and alcohol free event is free and open to the public. Contributions are requested, especially for food. Guests are asked to bring table ware and seating to the outdoor events. For more information, see or , or call the Tsi Akim Maidu Thrift Store, 530-477-0711.

Volunteer Requests: Click here for more volunteer needs.

Calling Back the Salmon Runner Information:
Please go to to learn more about running in the Calling Back the Salmon run, and to signup for the run.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Save the Date: Mary Youngblood at Moaning Caverns

It's that time of the year again. The geese have started their journey south for the winter, the days are getting shorter, the air is getting cooler in the mornings. Of course, I am talking about the annual NCFC pilgrammage with Mary Youngblood to Moaning Caverns.

Moaning Caverns is special place.

Not only because of the awesome beauty of the place, but it's also the site where Mary Youngblood recorded her first album: "The Offering". Every year, Mary returns to Moaning Caverns to rekindle the magic of that first album, and you're invited to join her.

What: Moaning Caverns with Mary Youngblood

When: Saturday, October 6, 2009

Time: 6 PM

Cost: Ticket prices vary

$24.95 bottom platform

$19.95 spiral staircase

$14.95 upper platform

Hurry, this event sells out every year. You can buy tickets here:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rideshare to Yosemite?

I have room in the car if anyone is going from Grass Valley/Nevada City/Sacramento area to Oakhurst on Thursday and coming back on Sunday. Drop me an email if you're interested.


Yosemite Flute Festival Sept 25 - 27, 2009

Just a quick reminders that the Yosemite Flute and Art Festival is happening next weekend, in Oakhurst CA. I hope to see many of you there, and I hope that you'll look me up and say hi!

For those who can't make it, stay tuned to this blog, as I'll be 'live blogging' from the event, posting pictures and stories of what's going on...

There's a lot happening, so I hope that you're planning to be there all three days. Lot's of great music, workshops, jam sessions and of course: some great instruments for sale!!

It's unfortunate that we won't have Mary Youngblood playing this year, but there are some other great musicians who will be performing this year, including a reunion of our very own: Elyium Calling on Friday night. That's right! Kenneth Hooper and Garth Brooks are back together, and I can't wait to see them perform. Please, if you can only make one night of music, be there to show your awesome NCFC support for Kenneth and Garth on Friday evening. They'll have CD's available, but if you want to listen to their music on the ride down to Yosemite, you can download their music from iTunes.
Also performing on Friday evening is a rare west coast appearance by Coyote Oldman (AKA Michael Graham Allen). And one of our longtime friends: Scott August, from Southern California.
Saturday evenings performance lineup includes: Gary Stroutsos (from Washington), Vince Chafin and "local boy" Stephen DeRuby. Both nights promise some great entertainment.

Click here for more info:

Don't forget to check out the great workshops:

And the lineup of awesome flute makers and other vendors:

Finally, I want to personally ask you to help out the event by volunteering a hour or more of your time. I am personally responsible for coordinating all of the volunteers for the event. And this year, if you dedicate 4 or more hours of time, you'll get a discount on your evening concert ticket prices.

To volunteer, go here: