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A Traditional Flute
A short time ago, I was asked at a
Native American festival what the difference was between my flutes, and another
flute makers. My reply was, "About ten thousand years!" I did not make that
statement in a derogatory fashion. The flutes in question are some of the
finest replicas made in the United Stated. My flutes are made with tradition.
Sure, 'if we'd a' had 'em, we'd a' used 'em'. Some people would have used
power tools, and made their work easier, but, then, maybe not. There is much to
be said for tradition. My flutes are made by hand. I work the cane or wood by
hand. I polish the wood, I don’t put a lacquer, or finish on it. I use a
natural oil to protect it. The holes are burned in, not drilled. The smoke is
blown through the flute with a prayer for each of the seven holes, seven
directions, and the "Spirit holes". A lot of hard work, and "sweat" goes into
my flutes. This is not necessary to make a flute! It is only necessary to
make a traditional "Native American" flute! It is how I honor my ancestors, and
the man that taught me. I can do no less. It is my joy, and my pride!
What is a "Native American
A Native American Flute is a lot more
than a piece of cane or hollowed out wood with holes drilled in it!
Native American people observe tradition, and ritual in their everyday pursuits. It has been said that "All things are Sacred, and every day is a day of Thanksgiving"!.
With anything that has a tradition,
tradition must be honored. It is how we honor our Ancestors!
The flute has traditions that must be honored!
The flute goes back, in most Nations
tradition, to First Man, and First Woman; that’s pretty old!
The early flutes were made of
cane, or hollowed out wood, and tuned to hand and arm measurements of the flute
maker. Most of the flutes made today are electronically tuned to modern
chromatic scale. The old flutes were tuned by the body in a minor pentatonic
So what's the difference?
A "Native Tuned" flute, and a modern
replica are both hollowed out wood or cane. They are both tuned to a musical
scale. What is the difference?
The difference is tradition!
The early wood flutes were pieces of wood with the heart removed. When a man
removed the heart of the wood, he had better be prepared to replace it with his
own heart! That was the tradition. There has always been a strong connection
between the flute and the body, The Plains Nations played courting flutes made
of wood. They offered their songs to their intended wife as they offered their
body and soul! It was a part of them that could not be separated! Woodlands
people used the flutes as ceremonial instruments, and for healing. Remove the
mind - spirit - body connection, and you have a fine instrument. Just don't
call it an "Indian Flute"! These men, our Ancestors, put their energy, their
heart, and their soul into the instrument they created. It became a part of all
they were! It was their pride! You just can't teach a machine to do
You just can't teach a machine to do that!
How was it made?
In the past, and today, the flutes are made by hand, It is made
with loving care and attention. In the Native American way of thinking, what we
put our energy into; what we put our "blood, sweat, and tears" into, becomes a
part of us, and we become a part of it. I have no problem with “manufactured”
flutes. Many of the flute makers have gone to that style of flute. It's a lot
easier to make, takes a lot less time, and can be turned out in mass quantities,
every one of them sounding exactly alike. These flute makers strive for a high
quality instrument that can be played in a modern band. There are excellent
flutes made in this way. Just don’t call them an “Indian Flute”, even if it is
made by a Native American. It does not hold to tradition. Why make them
traditionally? We make the flutes traditionally to honor our Ancestors! Are
they better? No! It just depends on what is wanted; thousands of years of
tradition, or a replica. It is the buyers choice!
A hand made flute according to the traditions I have been taught.
A five hole,
minor pentatonic scale that is easy to play.
vibrant tone that calls out to the “indigenous” in all of us. Truly an
instrument of the heart. Each flute, like each human being, has it's own
character and voice. There are no two alike.
Each flute, like each human being, has it's own character and voice. There are no two alike.
heirloom for your grand children, and their grandchildren.
of years of tradition.
My energy, my joy, my pride. My chi, my life force!
Man Wolf sets his prices to allow more people to invest in the beauty of the Cherokee flute, and in a lifetime of enjoyment! Man Wolf, a musician in his own right, has three selections of Native American flute music available on CD. Listen to clips of Cherokee style flute music, browse the site at your leisure, and, please! Feel Welcome!
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questions or comments about this web site.