His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.
–Genesis 4:21

As we continue to slide into the economic abyss…….I want to take this opportunity to clarify a couple of things, that have nothing whatsoever to do with the economy. The Dept of the Interior/ Indian Arts and Crafts Board, drew up a rather long, convoluted policy statement, I think sometime before I was born, specifically addressing and protecting the creative efforts of registered American Indians. As such, the short version states that non Native Americans cannot peddle their crafts, by creating the illusion that they are in fact native made. To do so is fraud. Not unlike many non-native flute makers, I reference my work as Native American STYLE flutes, since there is more than a passing resemblance to those crafted by Native Americans. Now I’m Scottish. That does not mean I plan to run out and start building bagpipes, since I’m content building Native American Style Flutes. The problem with my effort at clarification rests solely on the shoulders of the search engine robots that scour the internet for active data, and throw it all together, to assist you when you do a “Google” search or whatever. These robots act just like robots. They don’t care about anybody’s efforts to distance themselves and their craft from those of registered Native Americans, and more often than not, don’t bother to read the word “style”. As a result, I may show up on the internet as a builder of Native American flutes, whether I like it or not. A couple of years ago, in discussing this issue with a few builders and enthusiasts, I thought of changing everything on my website and correspondence to indicate I was a builder of NORTH AMERICAN FLUTES. I thought about this plan for perhaps……a minute, and I’ll tell you why. Today I googled “North American Flutes”, and the number of builders that popped up with that strict parameter…..was none. Those that were referenced, had the word “Native” plugged in as a descriptor, by either the builder, or one of the robots. So I will continue to do what I do, until I’m contacted by the flute police. The alternative is to give my work a name nobody will ever be able to find via Google, including me.

I made my annual rock purchasing safari to Quartzsite Az this month, as evidenced by the photo of my three new best friends. Opal prospectors from Australia, they proudly showcase this year’s crop of raw Andamooka Mine Australian opal. I made a number of purchases, and although I’m not entirely happy about it, I plan to start cutting and polishing my own opal and ammolite, as pre-cut and polished pieces are now running into hundreds of dollars each, and I have a problem putting a $400.00 stone in a $300.00 flute. Plus, I can cut the stones to fit the flutes…maybe. The other photo is the festive dining patio of a Mexican restaurant down the road. I just couldn’t help myself. Actually, after a couple of their margaritas, this patio becomes quite lively and colorful.

From the Gizmo department here at Querencia, … I tune flutes with analog, digital, and now strobe tuners, simultaneously. For those at all interested, a half step, say Fm to F#m, is divided into 100 “cents”. The analog and digital tuners will tell me how far off from dead on a note is, in terms of +/- one cent. The strobe will tell me to a factor of a tenth of a cent. Does that mean my flutes are going to be 10 times more accurate? Probably not. I’m mostly fascinated by the way the lights spin around. There are too many variables, like the velocity of YOUR breath, as well as the humidity and temperature where you play the instrument. Some of you folks are playing my flutes in the Alps. I’m surprised you’re getting notes that are even in the alphabet.

On one last note, I wanted to dwell for a moment, on the collective power of human stupidity. Since the Dollar is hovering around the same value as the Peso, …my flute sales to Europe have been brisk. I recently sold two flutes to a client in Austria. Oddly, both the most expensive flute, and the least expensive flute currently for sale on my website. Both shipped Global Priority the same day. My client received his least expensive flute in about 10-12 days. The expensive flute however……….is in AUSTRALIA. Not only is it in Australia, currently headed for Melbourne by truck……actually moving further away from Austria, at about 50 mph … but it cleared customs in Australia as well. I’m figuring so far, at least TEN people have handled my package, and NO ONE has noticed it’s addressed to a small town outside of Salzburg Austria. I’m guessing the guy who finally figures out my flute is on the wrong side of the planet, will be the mailman walking down some street with it, trying to deliver it to somebody in Southern Australia. Gotta love Civil Service.

I posted five new flutes to my website today. If you are unemployed, or plan to be, do not buy a flute. Just fiddle around with the sound files. If you are employed, donate some cash to your local food bank first, …then buy a flute. In the meantime, try and put some joy in your life. Rich