Category: Flute Blog

All the latest flute stuff coming out of the Southern Cross Flutes HQ!

Steve Mazabow crafts a Native American Style Flute

Steven Mazabow came to the Southern Cross Flutes workshop for a weekend for craft his own Native American Style Flute. I never expected him to make what he did…

I’d known Steve for a while, and knew that his great sense of humor and character would make him a great fit with the gentle flow of a craft that requires great attention to detail.

Steve was able to choose the wood from my collection (he choose one of the finest pieces of Black Maire I have!). He learned about preparing wood for the boring/hollowing process, crafting the sound mechinism, shaping the flute on the lathe, and tuning the flute. His particular attention to creating a well sanded and shaped flute, as well as one that is impeccibly tuned, helped him finish with a superb playing instrument.

It was a true pleasure having Steve come and stay with us at the Southern Cross Flutes Bed & Breakfast Flute-Maker’s Retreat.

Find out more about Flute Making Workshops

Auckland Flute Circle – June 2016

Auckland got soulfully musical during the Auckland Flute Circle, a gathering of beginning and developing players of the Native American Style Flute. We had 16 participants come to Kawaipurapura for the afternoon, where we learned how to play the flute together, instrumentally in duets, as a group with percussion, as well as solo.

What a superb time and we look forward to more! Chewy will be ogranising more Flute Circles for those wanting to learn in Auckland. He will also stock a range of Native American Flutes by Southern Cross Flutes.

Facilitated by Todd Chaplin from Southern Cross Flutes. Find out more about Flute Circles and instruments by visiting:
www.southerncrossflutes.com

Learn more about the NZ Flute Community here:
http://www.southerncrossflutes.com/new-zealand-flute-community/

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New Flute ** F# Black Walnut Forest Flute **

Excited to announce the unveiling of the F# minor Black Walnut Forest Flute! This little beauty has a soaring song that comes through crystal clear and sprightly.

This Native American Style Flute, crafted from American Black Walnut, with Turquoise stones, comes complete with instructional guide and protective felt case. Free postage within NZ.

Check out our video below of this stunning flute!

Artist in Residency – D-Day @ Lochmara Lodge

D-Day, Sunday. Departing Lochmara Lodge comes with a sweat tingle of satisfaction, a job well done. Spending two weeks in this sanctuary mainly alone helped remind me of what sanity feels like! That is, prior to coming here I’d been a bit rushed off my feet, so many opportunities and products to craft and little time to sit back and smell the roses.

Smelling the roses isn’t exactly what I’ve been doing here though. The recording of my first album, Lochmara’s Voice, has been my main focus. The recording process has been entirely rewarding, and the finished 14 tracks are beautiful – ones that I’m proud to have spontaneously created and recorded. Solo flute is a challenge as the song wants to be interesting for the listener, as well as the player, and striking this point certainly is something I hope I’ve done. The songs feel great, and the feedback so far has been amazing. So….

Where to next? Home, first. Catch up with things and start on the number of flute commissions that I have to attend to. At the same time, I’ll kick off my first ever…

Pledgeme Campaign to raise $2000 for the production (mixing, mastering, pressing) of the album. Very exciting. I’d love your support on this journey, and you’ll see there are some great rewards for your contribution.

Have a listen to a snippet of one of my favourite songs on the album:

A few shots from my last few days.

 

Artist in Residency – Day 10 @ Lochmara Lodge

Day 10, Thursday. Welcome Aly to Lochmara! So cool to have you and our little bubs to join me here in this vast sanctuary. We’ve spent the days walking and exploring, as well enjoying yummy glutenous food and the eventful bloated and stodgy bellies afterwards. Gluten. No fun at all.

With only three days left here I’m beginning to narrow my focus down on collection more audio samples of the natural wildlife and environment. These will be layered into some of my flute improvisations. Additionally, I’ve got some artwork to do for the CD packaging – and I love this part – playing with photos and design 🙂 Some examples in a few days…

Here’s what I’ve been experiencing with some songs….

Naming a song is always a tricky process. Often, I don’t feel the need to attach a name for an improvisation, as there hasn’t been a need to communicate the message or the format of the song. Naming the piece creates, for me, more pressure than the actual creation of the improvisation. And so, I asked myself, how can I improvise a name for the flute piece?

Does it take feeling? Great use of words? A clever vocabulary? I’m sure it takes them all. Naming things however is not a strong point of mine.

On this occasion, the melody was sending out a message of expectation or desire, and as the song progressed I could hear a change in mood, or fulfillment of that earlier desire. The title came, “Mum I’m Coming Home”.

I’ve left the country plenty of times only to return after some years, and the feeling of return has often been mixed, as has been the outcome. My final return, in 2011, was joyous and exciting, and that experience came out in this song, in my re-connection with my family and my music.

Played on an E minor Love Flute.

Great to have Aly join me at Lochmara!

Artist in Residency – Day 8 & 9 @ Lochmara Lodge

Day 8 & 9. Monday/Tuesday. I skipped a day of blogging…scandalous. It got too social! Thanks to Matt, Steve and Brian who visited Lochmara and stayed, ate, walked and talked with me while here – grateful to have friends visit. Now the amazing Aly has arrived and it feels great to reconnect with her and our little unborn baby.

The rain started coming down heavily yesterday, which put a slight pause to some recordings, and offered a time to re-listen to the current 11 improvisations that will be part of my new album release. While the quality sounds great and I’m pleased with the improvs, what’s been more notable is how the quality of playing has increased as I continue to focus on recording. Notes are held longer, stronger and kept in tune, and more distinct melodies are being created. Today I’ll be working on one or two more improvs, as well as some artwork for the album!

Here’s a bit about a recent recording, Harmonic Journeys.

The intensity of creation that one touches into with the Mayan Temple Flute is like none other. While single chambered flutes and drone flutes have their beauty, there is an enormous uplift of energy, of spiraling harmonies and resonance with the Mayan Temple Flute.

Starting gently and becoming sensitively aware of the notes on the flute, as well as being ready to accept and go with the flow of the creation, often lead the improvisation into a special realm. Harmonic Journeys is one such improvisation, and with a great set of speakers or headphones, you’ll be able to join me on this sound journey.

Have a listen

Played on an E/B Mayan Temple Flute by Southern Cross Flutes, in New Zealand.

Photos from Day 7 & 8. Aly arrived and we booked into the bathhouse for a relaxing rainy day scrub. 

Artist in Residency – Day 7 @ Lochmara Lodge

Chickens, Tui, pigs….I can hear them all from the studio where I’ll be staying for the next two weeks at Lochmara Lodge. I can also see the ocean, the beautiful Marlborough Sounds with its soft misty mornings, clam waters, and green hills. Every morning before I start flute-work, I’ll be writing about my day ahead, and the day past, as well as sharing photos.

Got questions? Facebook me.

Day 7, Monday.  I’m at the halfway point in my stay here at Lochmara Lodge. This peaceful place has reminded me of the time I spent traveling, moving around without expectation or plan, calmly going with the flow of things. Although I have had flute work to do while here, it’s been cushioned by the natural setting and ease at which that has moved me. Looking ahead I still wish to complete more recordings as well as feel into which directions Southern Cross Flutes will take this year. More of the same, or create some new and unique opportunities for myself and others?

“The monkey is holding on to the tree, fascinated with the moon, and he touches the pond and the moon suddenly goes away. He can’t understand it, what happened to the moon? But he won’t let go of the tree. He does it again, and again, and finally he gets so fascinated the he forgets what he’s doing and he falls from the tree into the pond. And then he comes up, looks and there’s the moon.” Zen poem.

Once you improvise, you feel how wonderful it is to let go,and see what is created when there is no expectation. Nothingness.

When I heard this scale being played by Jessica Walsh, in Moravian Song, I felt it fitted with the Lochmara-ness of Lochmara. Moravia is an Eastern Europe country, quite far away…indeed, however I imagined some similar aspect to the rolling hills and water here in the Marlborough Sounds.

The bird life throughout the song is from recordings made here at Lochmara, near the beehive (can you hear the humming??).

Have a listen

Some flash boats in the bay today – admittedly many more boats turned up later in the day but the camera was away.

Artist in Residency – Day 6 @ Lochmara Lodge

Chickens, Tui, pigs….I can hear them all from the studio where I’ll be staying for the next two weeks at Lochmara Lodge. I can also see the ocean, the beautiful Marlborough Sounds with its soft misty mornings, clam waters, and green hills. Every morning before I start flute-work, I’ll be writing about my day ahead, and the day past, as well as sharing photos.

Got questions? Facebook me.

Day 6, Sunday. Yup…still Easter…and loads of little rabbits are running around, none covered in chocolate. In fact there’s nothing Cadbury in sight! Thank Jesus.

The ‘stillness’ and silence from yesterday carries on into this wonderful calm morning. The lodge is expecting to be very busy, with people running around after the guests – for me, this is a great time to be in my studio listening and recording. Although I might need a break from all the flute stuff, I realize I don’t have much else to put my interest into…so…what shall be will be.

Oh, I also spent last night launching our simply flute guidebook, Enchanted Beginnings, onto Amazon.com This is a small yet excellent guide for those starting on the flute, and one will find it a great stepping stone into our comprehensive book, Enchanted Journeys. Check it out on Amazon.com 

Some thoughts from yesterday, Saturday. Finding inspiration for improvising new melodies can strike one at any moment. Here I was feeling frustrated by a lack of new ideas when this one gentle crept up on me. You know the feeling?

I opened a music book and found a song called Syrian Song. The title had a sadness to it, and after playing a short while I felt I had the notes for my next improvisation piece. Back to my bush hut I went…

Of course the sadness of the music begged for some backing sounds. Then it started raining. Perfect! And the creek outside provided more soft ambiance. And the chirping Fantail helped bring lightness to the song. The final recording takes me to many potential places. Where does it take you?

Played on this E minor Walnut Love Flute.

Artist in Residency – Day 5 @ Lochmara Lodge

Chickens, Tui, pigs….I can hear them all from the studio where I’ll be staying for the next two weeks at Lochmara Lodge. I can also see the ocean, the beautiful Marlborough Sounds with its soft misty mornings, clam waters, and green hills. Every morning before I start flute-work, I’ll be writing about my day ahead, and the day past, as well as sharing photos.

Got questions? Facebook me.

Day Five, Saturday. The staff at the lodge are getting prepared for a busy day. I’m not. Running around after other people thankfully is a thing of the past. I’m reminded of a recording I made the other day, soft, slow, and gentle. This is how I’ll approach today, let’s see what arises from it.

Lochmara Bay has a beautiful sandy beach, which sits infront of a lovely eco-resort. The sounds of the waves lapping on the beach were recorded, and flute was layered over top after.

The sound of the flute echos far into the harbour, as it bounces off the hillsides, encapsulating one in sound. This environment helps to draw out long emotionally tones from the flute, as well as fast direct movements. It feels like a combination of the slow deep movements of the earth with the quick and flighty movements of the living-beings on it.

When playing the flute I often find much excitement and joy comes from the simplest of sounds, drawn out notes and quick trills. Being able to create these melodies is what inspires me to keep playing.

What sounds inspire you?

Played on an F# Walnut Love Flute.

Yup…pigs were the highlight of my day. 

Artist in Residency – Day 3 @ Lochmara Lodge

Chickens, Tui, pigs….I can hear them all from the studio where I’ll be staying for the next two weeks at Lochmara Lodge. I can also see the ocean, the beautiful Marlborough Sounds with its soft misty mornings, clam waters, and green hills. Every morning before I start flute-work, I’ll be writing about my day ahead, and the day past, as well as sharing photos.

Got questions? Facebook me.

Day Three, Thursday. The stunning days continue, and so does the confrontation of ‘free-time’, that is, space to do whatever one wishes and how one handles that gracefully. The best observation so far is that I feel I have time to invest deeply in actions. This has been fruitful, with a lot of fun and enjoyment gained from recording flute. I have been sitting for several hours playing and recording, and loving the improvisations – their uniqueness, their imperfections, and the inspiration I get from listening to them.

Wednesday was another superb day for food too!! More nachos and coffee, more yummy salads and a chocolate brownie that has given me a pretty bad headache this morning! 🙁

What’s up today? More playing and recording in the studio. I will redo a few improvs and create a few new ones and see what themes come up. I’m using a variety of flutes, basically whatever one my hand falls onto I’ll play!  There’s a little bit of practicing for tomorrow’s performance as well, which I’m looking forward to – the location is stunning (overlooking the ocean from a forest garden).

A recording from Wednesday.

Here are some photos from yesterday, Tuesday.