Native Rhythms 2012

Yesterday I traveled to Melbourne FL to attend the Native Rhythms Native American Flute Festival. Since I taught the class in flute making this summer I thought it would be great to see the best flute makers and players around. I had been to Musical Echoes, another Native Flute Festival in Fort Walton Beach a number of years ago and was thrilled to find that there was another festival closer to home.

One thing I was particularly interested in was meeting Michael Graham Allen, also known as Coyote Oldman. Hearing his music for the first time back in the ‘80’s was what got me interested in flutes in the first place.

Shortly after I arrived Dock Green Silverhawk opened the festival with a ceremony honoring the four winds of the The Great Turtle.

Dock Green Silverhawk giving blessing to start the festival

After this the program started with Sydney Mitchell, who was soon followed by Ed WindDancer. I had met Ed at Musical Echoes and wanted to see his performance. He not only plays the flute, but is also a great dancer.

Ed WindDancer

I then walked around the vendor area and found Michael Graham Allen in his booth and had a chance to talk to him.

Michael Graham Allen – Coyote Oldman

We discussed his new CD that he did with David Lanz and Gary Stroutsos. I’m looking forward to listening to is soon. One thing Michael has done in recent years is to focus on historical rim blown flutes rather than the more typical Native American flutes. Rim blown flutes are more difficult to play and have a distinctly different voice than regular flutes.

Rimblown and traditional flutes

I’ll have to try to make one of the rim blown flutes, especially Anasazi type flutes. I have made South American queena flutes, which are also rim blown, but has a very different embouchure than his flutes. It was great to meet him. I just wish I could afford one of his flutes.

I headed back to the stage just as Randy Granger was getting ready to play. I had also seen Randy Granger at Musical Echoes and he had really fascinated me by playing a Hang drum. The instrument was new to me then and I thought it was an amazing instrument. It has a sound similar to a steel drum and kind of looks like a flying saucer, but in the hands of a master, it is truly beautiful. I’ve listened to a number of Hang drum players since Musical Echoes and always found them very special. Randy played flute and other instruments as well.

Randy Granger plating Hang drum

Here a little video I took of Randy.

There were a number of other well known players, but as the sun started to go down Michael Graham Allen came on.

Coyote Oldman and a traditional flute

He started with some solos playing both traditional and rim blown flutes and then did some duets, ending with several songs with Randy.

Michael and Randy duet

Randy played several instruments, but I captured my favorite with flute and Hang drum in this video.

Even though there were more great players coming up, I had to start the three hour drive home. Maybe next year.

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