Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The In Between Time
We saw amazing flutes and drums. We watched stage performers we'd only heard about. I read programs that told the credentials and bios of performers. Our eyes were filled with the most wondrous things, handmade instruments from flutes and whistles to didgeridoos. Drums and udus in all shapes and colors. I was drawn to the drums within the first five minutes from walking in the door. The makers of the drums were still setting up their table. I couldn't resist the drum made from a little propane tank, with the tuning to the key of D. Sounds like beautifully tuned wind chimes. Oh, I know this drum will be the favorite of my grandchildren! Funny, each of the four Massie Creek Flute Circle brought one home! And two of my other friends bought one too!
Our ears were filled with flute music everywhere. The vendor area always had flutes being played. Everyone testing this flute or that flute, many had to find a quiet place outside the hall just to hear themselves play the flute of interest. I resisted flutes for a long time, but felt myself drawn to a couple in particular, one I played off and on all weekend. It's tuning was unlike the classic 6 hole pentatonic, it has seven holes and has the sound of a gypsy flute. I could easily imagine the gypsy wagons, the colorful skirts and scarves and all the while flute music was being played around an evening campfire. It has a soulful sadness or a happy dancing song. As yet the song it lets me play is the sad mournful song. I've heard the maker play a dance or two on it and know it is possible, fingering for me is still slow and less nimble. Now that the flute has joined my collection, I know I will also find the joyful dance it has to offer. The other flute is also unlike my other flutes, it is a warbler flute. This flute is made from PVC with a wooden mouth piece. I do have a warbler flute made of wood, it is a special flute that I don't always travel with, because of it's story and history. This new flute can go anywhere with ease. I am also attracted to a clay flute, although, the one I am interested in did not come to the event. This flute is unique in color due to it's firing and I am awaiting pictures. After talking with the maker, I know it is one I have been waiting on for some time. I had contacted him over a year ago about this particular color. After playing his wonderful flutes, I'm sure I'll love the one he didn't bring to the event.
The workshops were a wonderful treat. Performers presented instructions about different topics regarding improvisation, the art of performance, therapeutic music, ceremony, history, breathing and even a flute making workshop. Talk about sensory overload! So much to share, so much to learn..... it was amazing!
Then there were the concerts......... every afternoon we heard three entertainers perform their music. Each evening there were at least four different performance's, sometimes with several musicians sharing the stage together improvising as they went along. Music filled the air, stories were told and heritage was shared. Giving all the people there a way to connect even more to the Native American Flute and the struggles of the people who kept the flute alive so that we might enjoy it today. The gifts of these men and women performing were outstanding, I'll remember their stories and their faces with my photos and the many Cd's I purchased.
It has been difficult to come back to reality after such an event. There were so many people there that I have come to know. They have strong, warm hugs to share. They have become a part of a tribe... my friends..... my family. I have come to know many of them from other events such as this, but they are also Facebook friends that now have a voice I recognize. We all share a common interest that connects us to the love of music, flutes and drums. It is hard to leave at the end of such an event, even though we are emotionally drained and exhausted.
What is AMAZING to me about this flute journey..... I have only been involved with the Native American Flute for four and a half years. Yet it seems so familiar and somewhat natural. I try to think back to the time before flutes, it seems long ago. How does that happen? My perception of time is lost, it feels like forever ago that I got the first note from the humble wooden flute. It is much like my art on gourds, was there a time before gourds and art? To be totally immersed in something is truly a blessing.
And now, here I am, coping with the In Between Time. It is much like the time between dream and waking, the time just before the sun rises or the moment before the sun sets. It is a time to pause, where you hold your breath, wanting to keep the moment close a while longer and yet there is no way to hold it forever, waking up happens, the sun rises and the sun sets. For me the convention is now over, I am recovering the only way I know how, a nap helps and my cell phone. I have already called several of my tribe, to be sure they arrived home safely. The computer has been the other salvation for me, looking at photos, sharing comments, it seems we are all holding on just a little longer, just a little longer................
Photo: Massie Creek Flute Circle members: Serena and Dave, Linda, me and the other Dave.