Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In honor of Stephen DeRuby

It is with a sad heart that I reach out to all of you and share the news of the passing of a great flutemaker and friend Stephen DeRuby. Stephen passed away on February 22, 2016 after 2 years of dealing with B cell lymphoma cancer. I first met Stephen at the De Anza Pow Wow in Cupertino California, back in 1998. Stephen was one of the first flutemakers to start selling his creations on the Pow Wow circuit in Northern California, back in the late 90’s. At that time, his flutes were inexpensive and well crafted. It’s no surprise that my flute collection today contains more of Stephen’s flutes than any other maker. Stephen was one of the early innovators in this market and took the historical Native design and evolved it into an easy-to-manufacture and finish product. All of his flutes were consistent in sound quality and manufacturing. As a engineer, I appreciated his craftsmanship.

Stephen and Mike at the INAFA Convention in San Mateo, CA 2006.

As a leader of the Northern California flute circle and a flute teacher, I soon developed a business relationship with Stephen to resell his flutes to the students in my beginning flute classes. His flutes were the right combination of quality and cost; and they were easy to play, especially for many of the older students in classes with small hands. Stephen was also one of the first modern flutemakers to market his flutes as “Native American Style” flutes rather than “Native American Flutes”, given that he wasn’t of Native American heritage. Stephen was deeply spiritual and had deep respect for the origins of this instrument. He also experimented with the introduction of different scales and styles of flutes to expand the market. I still cherish my “middle eastern” and “Easy Anasazi” scale flutes from Stephen. I also have spent countless hours jamming along with Stephen’s “Rhythms to accompany the Native American Flute CD”, and this is an activity that we frequently pursued at flute circle events.

Stephen, displays his flutes at Mary Youngbloods birthday party.

I was honored to help Rick & Linda Dunlop and Stephen promote and run the Yosemite Flute Festival during the years that it ran. Rick, Linda, Stephen and Kim are some of my favorite people, and it was a joy to support their venture in bringing folks to Oakhurst for this annual event. I was honored to join them on stage for the evening performance at one of the first events. I’ll always remember that.

Rick Dunlop and Stephen jamming in Stephen’s booth at the Yosemite Flute Festival.

While I will miss Stephen dearly, I am happy that I have a piece of him with me in the form of the many flutes that I acquired from him over the years. There’s is still time for you to keep a piece of Stephen’s legacy as well. Several flutes were left in his estate which are for sale, and his partner Kim is selling them now. Check out his website for more details and the latest on the inventory available. Stephen Deruby

Stephen: I considered you a brother. Thanks for all of the joy that you’ve brought into my life over the last 20 years. You made the world a better place with your presence and now the universe is sings with your spirit.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Mark Holland Concert May 2

Native American Flute (NAF) Concert 
Friday, May 2, 2014
$10 donation

Concert Venue: Michael Brown's house
30 Tierra Verde Ct.
Walnut Creek, CA

Snacks and local NAF talent from 6:30 to 8:00

Featured Artist Mark Holland at 8 PM
Award winning artist Mark Holland is considered by many authorities to be among the top Native American Flute players performing and recording today.  Leader and founder of Autumn’s Child, Mark Holland has been called, "the Jimi Hendrix of the Native American Flute" and is known for his unique soulful style of "playing from the heart".   For more details about his musical achievements and to hear some of his music  check out his website.

Please RSVP with name and number of attendees to: (925) 943-1147

The concert will be outdoors, so dress appropriately.
 If possible please bring folding or camp chairs.  

Free Online Creativity Class (Starts April 2nd)

Frankie Sierra (Bay Clan) just informed me about a new online class being offered by Stanford professor Tina Seelig which uses music as the basis for creativity. I was totally intrigued by this idea, so I have already joined the class, and I encourage you to join as well.
The class is free. You can participate and complete the assignments or you can audit the class (access the information, review the projects but not have to complete any work assignments).
I think that this is an interesting experiment in online/remote learning. If you're as curious as I am, then I encourage you to join the class as well.
Students will be encouraged to join teams to collaborate on projects.
If you join, please look me up in the course!

Class: Creativity: Music to my ears
When: Start Wed April 2, 2014
Duration: 6 weeks

For more details check out the class link at:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

7 reasons to come see Mark Holland and N Scott Robinson in Grass Valley tonight

Mark Holland and N. Scott Robinson will be performing in Grass Valley this evening.
Here's 7 reasons to come out and see them this evening:

  1. This is Mark and Scott's first visit to Grass Valley, come out and show them that Nevada County is a welcoming place to visit (so that we get them back next year)
  2. They just released their new album "The Beauty of it all" and will be playing new music from this album tonight.
  3. Their new album "The Beauty of it all" will be for sale at the show
  4. Mark Holland is an incredible composer and together with Scott, they make an really tight duo
  5. Scott plays a mean Riqq (middle eastern tambourine). You'll be amazed at the complex rhythms he can get from a such a simple instrument. Scott will also play other percussion instruments and rhythms from around the world.
  6. It's going to be a beautiful evening to be outside
  7. Check out the restoration process of the North Star house (Hint: we're going to be producing more shows here in the future)

Here's the event details:

Northern California Flute Circle presents -
Mark Holland and N Scott Robinson in concert:
When: Tuesday June 4, 2013
Time: 7 PM
Where: North Star House
Cost: $20 at door
Details: Mark and Scott will perform outside at the historic North Star House, the actively-being-restored main house of the North Star Mine in Grass Valley. The North Star Mine is located on "Old" Auburn Road which is approx 0.5 mile south of the Nevada County fairgrounds. (Follow the Farmers market signs)

For more information on Mark and Scott:

Mark Holland and Autumns Child
N Scott Robinson

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mark Holland and N. Scott Robinson Live in Concert, Grass Valley, June 4, 2013

Wind & Fire features Mark Holland, one of the USA's most innovative Native American & world flute performers, with world percussionist extraordinaire N. Scott Robinson. Together their masterful concert performances astound audiences across the USA. Both skilled musicians and effective teachers, they tour as a unique duo of flutes and world percussion giving concerts and a special workshop on and how to play flute & world percussion together. Their work has been featured on the Public Radio International show Echoes and its live Living Room Concerts, hosted by John Diliberto. Their music has also been featured on 2 previously released CDs by Autumn's Child entitled “In Performance” and “Progressive World”.  Their initial duo CD “Wind & Fire” was released in April 2009 for their annual tour of the USA.

Wind & Fire are currently on their 2013 West coast house concert tour, promoting their new CD titled: “Lost in The Beauty Of It All”. This second recording features Native American & world flute player Mark Holland (on Native American single & dual chamber flutes, Anasazi flute, bansuri, quena, bone flute, animal horn flute, vocals, & sound effects) and world percussionist N. Scott Robinson (on kanjira, lap style frame drum, freehand frame drum, tar, berimbau, mbira dza vadzimu in Dombatsoko & Dongonda tunings, sanza, kalimba, udus, hadgini, hang, caxixi, donso ngoni, Milltone metal slit drum, water percussion, woodpecker frame drums, cricket calls, starling call, idi/ideh & Togo seed rattles, foot maraca, Kimerism tongue gongs, nipple gong & water gong, Paiste tam-tam, Chinese Chau gong, spring drums, gourd scrape, gourd water drums, djembe with grass brushes, triangles, dan moi). The album also features guest musician: K.S. Resmi (iTanpura & Carnatic vocal).

Sonic Planet Productions and the Northern California Flute Circle are proud to host Mark and Scott, live in concert at the Historic North Star House on Tuesday evening at 7PM, June 4, 2013. Tickets are $20 at the door and CD’s will be available for purchase.

For more information about the show visit:
For more about Mark Holland, please visit:
For more about N. Scott Robinson, please see:

WHAT: Wind & Fire (Mark Holland/N Scott Robinson)
WHEN: 7 PM (seating at 6:30), Tuesday June 4
WHERE: North Star House, 12075 "Old" Auburn Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949
TICKETS: $20 at the door

INFO: 530-432-2716

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mary Youngblood at Yosemite Flute Festival 2012

I had the chance to call Mary Youngblood last week and chat about her upcoming performance at the Yosemite Flute Festival.  The festival starts on Friday, Sept 21 and runs through the weekend. Mary is excited to be coming back to the festival this year and she is especially thrilled because she is bringing her guitarist, Sana Christian, along with her to the festival this year. While Mary couldn't coordinate bringing the whole Sisters of the Earth band with her, Sana and Mary are sure to delight the crowd this year. Mary and Sana will perform Saturday night, Sept 22, the evening concert starts at 7 PM.

I chatted with Mary about what's going on in her music career right now, and she was beaming with excitement about the fact that she is busy composing songs for her next album. She has already been in the studio laying down the first couple of tracks and the rest of the tracks aren't far behind. This next album will be an independently produced album and she is working with talented local producer Eric Chun of Creative Music Services. The theme of the album will play around with the idea of "Coming Home" or "Going Home". But the most exciting idea, especially for all of the Native American Flute players out there, is that Mary is planning to include some bonus backing tracks on the CD which will include the backing music for some of her most popular songs, but with the flute track removed so that you can jam with the track, playing the flute part! Mary even hinted that we might get a chance to hear her perform an early version of one or two of the songs from the new album at the concert on Saturday night.

In addition to performing on Saturday evening, Mary and Sana will offer a workshop at the Yosemite Flute Festival titled "Fluting with Accompaniment" on Friday, September 21, from 3-5 PM. In this workshop, Mary Youngblood and Sana Christian share the dynamics of working with a partner. You can pick up tips on playing flute with guitar, adding vocals to your performance, and writings songs with a partner. Mary is also presenting a "Flute Embellishments" workshop on Sunday, Sept 23, where you can learn all of the secrets of how Mary makes those wonderful sounds on her flutes.

I hope to see all of you at the Yosemite Flute Festival this year. I'll be working sound for the open mic stage so please stop by and say hi.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Yosemite Flute Festival Sept 21-23, 2012

I wanted to remind everyone that the Yosemite Flute Festival starts in exactly three weeks!

What: Yosemite Flute Festival
When: Sept 21-23, 2012
Where: Oakhurst, CA

The lineup of musicians is familiar as they have all performed at one or more past events, but never in this configuration. Friday night's performance looks to include one of my dearest friends (and master flutemaker) Stephen Deruby. Stephen has been making flutes longer than just about any of the modern generation of flute makers and as good as he is a making flutes, he's also a talented musician. I expect to see a variety of instruments on stage with Stephen. Following Stephen on Friday night will be Rona Yellow Robe. This will be Rona's third year at the festival, and I've fallen in love with both her voice and and her flute playing. Along with her musical partner Bruce Witham, they have created some incredible songs and on stage they share one heart when it comes to performing. Filling out the bill on Friday evening is Joe Young. This will be the second year that Joe performs at the event and Joe brings a unique talent to the Native American flute with his many years of woodwind and brass experience. He is a gifted composer and musician and has supported the festival the last three years as sound engineer.

Saturday nights starts with Al Hollinger. Al creates all of the instruments which he uses on stage, including flutes and didjeridoo, so expect a unique sound experience. Following Al on stage will be Randy Granger, and if ever there was a modern day Kokopelli, Randy could quite possibly be the one. Randy's unique personality comes through in his music whether it's on the flute, hang drum or any combination of other percussion instruments. Expect to surprised with Randy's performance. Finally, rounding out the evening and headlining the festival on Saturday night will be Mary Youngblood, who of course needs little introduction. However, the lineup this year is going to deliver a super fun weekend of entertainment.

As for the rest of the festival, the workshops are already planned and signups are happening now. If you are interest in a workshop at the Yosemite Flute Festival, you need to reach out to Rick and Linda and get you're reservation in.. Here's a link to the Yosemite Flute Festival Workshops (PDF). I will be offering a playshop: Playing the Blues, and it's already half full, so if you're interested be sure to sign up early.

Finally, of course are all of the wonderful vendors at the Yosemite Flute Festival. Looks like there are currently over 25 vendors signed up to attend.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mary Youngbloods B-Day Bash this weekend

When: Saturday, June 23, 2012

Held at Mary’s home
Fair Oaks CA 
RSVP with Dan to get directions:

Food - Vendors - Workshops - Food 
10:00 am - 5:00 pm (Set-up at 9:00 am) 


The weather forecast is Partly Sunny high 73 degrees!!!!! 

Please bring some Potluck food to share. 
Mary has NO ROOM in her refrigerator - please bring your cold items in your cooler.
Water, juice, tea, or soda will be on you - no alcohol, please. 
Don't forget to bring your flutes, drumming stuff, and other instruments. 
A sound system will hopefully be available, as will some outlets. 
Remember sunscreen and bug spray. 
Please no 4-leggeds, as requested by Miss Olivia, the Queen Kitty. 
Please bring a lawn chair, a blanket or mat and a canopy. 
Mary's yard is not huge, but you can follow the shade around as the day progresses. 

VENDORS & WORKSHOPS- If you want to be a vendor or give a workshop, please let Mary know at (916) 536-1331.  Thank you. Vendors and Workshops info will be posted below as it is received and updated on this blog site. 

GIFTS & SENTIMENTS - Of course a gift is not required.  But if you'd like to gift Mary something, cash is the operative suggestion this year.  And yes, pennies, other coins, and paper with photos of Past Presidents are accepted.  LOPING WOLF will have a Donations jar on our table if you want to contribute.  Thank you. 

If you would like to offer Mary a sentiment (see ), there will be paper at the LOPING WOLF table, or you can bring something with you or e-mail one to Sheree at .  Thank you. 

CAKE - Jean is providing the "cake".  YEA Jean, thank you.   

9:00 am Quiet Arrival and set up for vendors 
10:00 Welcome and Opening 
10:30 Open Mic all day (sign-ups encouraged at LOPING WOLF table) 
NOON Food 
1:30 "The Song" & Cake 
2:00 pm Mary's workshop "Embellishments" - $45 or 2 for $80 (checks accepted) 
5:00 Wrap-up, clean-up and Close 

MARY'S "EMBELLISHMENTS" WORKSHOP - $45 per person, or 2 for $80 (checks accepted) 
In this special workshop conducted by the Birthday Girl herself, Mary will demonstrate basic Native American flute embellishments and techniques - such as how to pick out the right flute, breath control, and beginning embellishment exercises which will encourage new players to become familiar and comfortable with their flutes. 

Mary will also demonstrate more advanced embellishments and techniques such as playing with accompaniment, letting the notes 'fall', bending notes, tonguing, scales and vibrato.  Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to ask Mary questions and see up close and personal, the techniques that she uses in her performances and recordings.  Mary will further discuss how she uses visualization to obtain her musical goals. 

Workshop attendees will also have an opportunity to 'pick Mary's brain' about how to further advance their own flute journey.  Following the workshop Open Mic priority will be granted to Mary’s workshop attendees. 

DON SCHULTZ AND HIS DRUM-MAKING WORKSHOP – He’s back and ready to help you make a drum to take home with you. 
$130 for a 13 inch hand drum 
$230 for a 20 inch hand drum 
More info is pending and will be posted here as it is received….