How did I become enchanted by Native American Style Flutes?
It began in South Korea.

The early days of my life in South Korea had many challenges, with very few friends to talk to, a new language to grapple with, and a sketchy job as an English language teacher, I often felt lost and isolated.

One day a new friend of mine, Tim Sorenson, introduced me to the album The Indian Road: The Best of Native American Flute Music. I felt an instant absorption into the music. With the soft haunting tones and melodies, my emotional woes were quelled for a time.

Through the Seoul Subway I’d roam, listening to the sounds of Mary Youngblood and Laurence Laughing. I was captivated by the sound and I found a sanctuary in this new music.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I bought my first Native American Flute over the internet. The package arrived and I went straight to the echoes of my bathroom to play.

And I’ve never stopped. That flute traveled with me through Japan and India, and its sounds instilled in me a new way of being.

In time I began to wonder how I could learn the craft of the flute. I needed a teacher, so I searched for Native American Flute Makers….

About the time I was pondering how to learn the craft of Native American Flute-making, Matt Shooting Star was traveling to N.Z. I invited him to come to stay with my family in Christchurch. I told him my desire to become a flute maker someday, and to my surprise, Matt mentioned he was looking for an apprentice and that he would be pleased to consider me as a candidate.

I let Matt’s offer sink in.

A few months later I was living in his spare room and spending my days in his workshop in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Matt welcomed me with complete respect, love, and openness. He was willing to work with a guy who had never used a power tool before!

Over the months Matt continued to work alongside me, sharing all he could of his skills with tools and wood and helping me to create my own style and feel in flute craftsmanship.

Matt’s generosity and enthusiasm allowed me to realize my dream as he set me on the ever-unfolding road of the flute-maker.

After Australia I traveled to California to meet Guillermo Martinez, one of the master craftspeople in Native American Style Flute-making.

Guillermo is of the Tarascan people, of Michoacan state in central Mexico and has dedicated more than 20 years to the craft of woodwork and musical instruments. He studied under true masters of flute craft, learning both traditional clay flute forms and modern NASF craft, of which he has been an important innovator.

I remembered Guillermo saying on the phone when I asked if he was interested in taking on an apprentice;

“Ok come by and stay for a week, we’ll see how it goes”. That week raced by and continued for another five months.

Guillermo opened his life, home, family, craft, and adventures to me. I will be forever grateful for this.

During my stay in the USA, I was lucky enough to meet two of the inspirational musicians that I listened to on that album many years ago, The Indian Road. On my way to meet Guillermo, I attended the Georgetown Nature Festival, as Mary Youngblood was in the performers’ line up. The day after her concert, I scheduled a time to meet her, and we shared stories, played together, and she even helped me find my lost car keys (they were locked in the boot)! Mary Youngblood is a seminal figure in the Native American Style Flute community, it was an honor and inspiration to meet with her along my flute journey.

The Georgetown vortex of synchronicities grew, and shortly after, I connected with Lawrence Laughing, one of the other musicians who featured on that fated album from my time in South Korea. How he and I came to meet is not something I will ever understand…destinies collided again in Georgetown, as we played on the radio together and he sang my favourite song for me, “Eagle come pray for me”.

For the rest of my time in the USA, I maintained my connection with Georgetown, and still have strong ties to that small country town. My seven months in the USA brought me close to people and places that inspired me on a spiritual and practical level, and these connections have fostered the growth I’m experiencing now with Southern Cross Flutes.