Sunday, June 29, 2008

Making Flutes with Antonio

Traditional flute arts at the Art Hop (Pat Murkland Photo)

At the Art Hop in Banning, Antonio Flores was AGAIN mobbed by people of all ages and races who wanted to learn  how to make and play a traditional American Indian flute.

Antonio has that effect on people when he teaches how to make and play the Pomo-style flutes from elderberry wood. He has traveled several times from Oakland to Banning to help Dorothy Ramon Learning Center share the joys of traditional flutes. Each time, a crowd quickly gathers, and soon, everyone is exploring the excitement.

I listened in while he explained to a flute-maker how to measure and make the flute holes:
"I call it Hand Mathematics," he said.
"The length of the flute is measured by your hand. 
Then you use the hand and your fingers to decide where to put the holes.
It's how you'll play the flute.
If you keep your holes off center, you can have two different instruments."
At that point he picked up a flute and played it, then turned it upside down, and played it again.
"See? That will give you two voices on that one flute."

Antonio Flores plays one of his elderberry flutes. (Pat Murkland Photo)

We thank Antonio for sharing the wonders of flute music with everyone! — P.M.

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