Tag: Native American flute

Simplicity Celebrates Native Flute Complexity

Simplicity, the sixth in the WindPoem ~ Native American Flute Meditations album series by C.S. Fuqua, has been released and is being distributed to everywhere good music’s available. BandCamp has the digital download for $7 and includes unlimited streaming.

Better yet, sign up for the BandCamp WindPoem subscription for $30 and get ALL SIX WindPoem albums, the Sinner’s Suite World Fusion EP, and other bonus materials for immediate download. The annual subscription also includes immediate download of all new WindPoem music released during the subscription period. 

WindPoem music has been praised for its meditative, relaxing quality and is utilized to create a soothing, healing environment for yoga practice, meditation, cancer treatment, hospice care, and more. 

Available now at most online music stores, including Bandcamp, Amazon.com, iTunes, GooglePlay, and more, in CD and/or digital download formats. Stream the WindPoem series at Pandora, Spotify, Youtube Music, and other streaming services.

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Native American Flute ~ A Comprehensive Guide Published

When Native American flute popularity exploded in the 1980s and ’90s, the public latched onto the “love flute” myth as a history-based tale, that Native Americans had used the flute strictly as a courting tool. Other myths associated with the flute — that it was a gift from the Great Spirit to set trapped souls free, that it was a gift from Woodpecker to help a lost boy find his way home — were ignored, forgotten, and the instrument was promoted distinctly as a man’s instrument.

It isn’t. It’s much more.

The flute’s documented, celebrated history is detailed in the new book Native American Flute: A Comprehensive Guide ~ History & Craft, the result of nearly three decades of researching, playing, and crafting the native flute. Native American Flute updates and combines into one volume my previous two books on the Native American flute, The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft and Native American Flute Craft, to present a comprehensive history of and crafting guide to the native flute. Native American Flute explores the documented history and mythology of the Native American flute, debunking the popular belief that the flute is only a man’s instrument.

As a freelance journalist, author, and musician, I learned to play and craft the native flute in the early 1990s, discovering its history to be extremely rich and diverse. With gender equality a way of life in native cultures before Europeans arrived in the Americas, the popular belief the flute was strictly a man’s instrument just didn’t ring true.

Early accounts of Europeans who came to North America attested the flute played a diverse, intricate role in native life, from entertainment to fertility rituals to travel, even to courting. It had never been an instrument limited to men. instead played by all for varied purposes, but the courting aspect caught the romantic fancy of European readers.

Thanks to people like explorer Carcilaso de la Vega in 1592, Europeans focused on the flute’s courting aspect. According to de la Vega, “…[T]hey did not know how to harmonize measured verse, and were mostly concerned with the passions of love … One might say that he talked with his flute. Late one night, a Spaniard came upon an Indian girl he knew in Cuzco and asked her to return to his lodging, but she said: ‘Let me go my ways, sir. The flute you hear from that hill calls me with such tender passion that I must go toward it. Leave me, for heaven’s sake, for I cannot but go where love draws me, and I shall be his wife and he my husband.’”

As flute popularity has grown, women musicians have had to overcome discrimination and prejudice regarding their playing. Even award-winning flautists like Mary Youngblood have encountered male flautists who refuse to play on the same stage, shamans who refuse to bless a flute before an event, and venues that cancel performances by women when male performers complain. 

Native American Flute sets the record straight, updating and combining the information from Fuqua’s first two books on the flute—The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft and Native American Flute Craft—into one volume to present a comprehensive, documented exploration of the native flute’s history and a fully illustrated, step-by-step crafting guide for making both the ancient and modern versions of the Native American flute, an instrument truly for all people.

Native American Flute is a available through most bookstores.

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New Album Takes Native Flute in Different Direction

Mention the Native American flute, and the first thing that comes to mind is a beautifully carved piece of artwork that produces soulful sounds. No screaming guitars. No banjos. No brass section. Just that single instrument and its haunting melody that serves as soundtrack to countless Youtube meditation videos. 

But the native flute is far more than that.

Las Cruces-based musician C.S. Fuqua’s first six WindPoem ~ Native American Flute Meditations albums fully celebrate the traditional sounds of the native flute, but Fuqua’s native flute music has taken a new turn in his seventh album, Different Direction, blending the flute’s soulful, meditative traditions into diverse compositions of world music influenced by bluegrass, rock, and jazz that combine into a refreshing sound that is at once both familiar and yet new. 

Fuqua is not the first to broaden the native flute’s range and use in music. The Rippingtons jazz group featured Robert Tree Cody on two cuts on their 1999 album Topaz. Twenty-one years later, that album remains one of the group’s most popular.

Classically-trained musician R. Carlos Nakai is best known for his traditional native flute work, but he has also broadened the flute’s use in other music genres, collaborating with guitarist William Eaton on new age productions, composers James DeMars and Phillip Glass on classical compositions, the Japanese group the Wind Travelin’ Band, and Tibetan flautist and vocalist Nawang Khechog. Yet, despite these beautiful excursions into other genres, the music that sustains Nakai’s popularity, and that of most native flute musicians, remains rooted in the traditional Native American sound.

Not only is the native flute’s use so grounded in traditional sound, it’s also still fighting the invented belief that it’s a male-only instrument, a false narrative created by European invaders whose sole purpose was to romanticize aspects of native life, even though the flute was played and enjoyed by both genders and all ages. Times are changing, though, thanks to award-winning flautists like Mary Youngblood who have blazed a path of acceptance and expansion that others now follow.

Fuqua’s Different Direction contains twelve world jazz cuts, with native flute featured as primary instrument in more than half of the instrumentals. As more artists produce albums featuring the native flute in modern music, the instrument will continue to expand its range, securing its deserved place in bands of all genres, holding its own with the loudest guitars and most strident brass sections to create a multi-cultural celebration for the ears.

Fuqua’s Different Direction is available for streaming and/or purchase on most major music platforms, including Pandora, Deezer, Amazon, iTunes, and Fuqua’s Bandcamp music website.

Fuqua has researched and published extensively on the history, mythology, and crafting of the Native American flute, including A Comprehensive Guide ~ The Native American Flute ~ History & Craft. His first WindPoem album was released in 2014.

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