1.29.2012

Native American Flutes - La Fonda Indian Shop

H A U N T I N G L Y .  B E A U T I F U L

Photos by C. Whitney-Ward

If I had to compare the sound of a Native American flute with nature, I'd say it
is like hearing a loon's solitary call - mysterious and haunting.
.
So it was a treat to capture photos of some beautiful flutes at the
INDIAN SHOP & GALLERY at La Fonda on the Plaza.
This wonderful shop is filled with Southwest treasures, but their offering of Native American Lakota-style flutes is truly worth a visit.


 Kyle Smith, a professional flute player and son of the shops owner, is a
font of knowledge when it comes to these handsome hand-made flutes. And, while
I snapped away, he played music. It was lovely...


The flutes that they carry are made from a melange of wood - eastern red cedar, Alaskan yellow cedar, walnut, and gorgeous burl woods - the most expensive and hardest to work with.



The designs are simple, functional and beautiful. And each has a distinctive fetish that sits on the flute's block wrapped with a strip of deer hide.






"Building Native American flutes is pure physics," says Smith, explaining that
the 'key' of each flute is determined by several design factors. The flute is not just one long chamber, - it has two - and the breath  blown into the flute is forced into a flue (see opening below shown when ornamental fetish/block is slid back). That air then hits the far side of the hole and is split in two which causes it to vibrate. 


These two vibrating currents enter a second section called the
sound chamber. The player's fingers then cover or uncover the finger
holes which change the length of the tube and the pitch.  And, says
Smith, the diameter of the flute opening and the thickness of the walls
 can determine the sound as well.










I N D I A N   S H O P   &   G A L L E R Y

La Fonda on the Plaza

100 East San Francisco Street Santa Fe, NM (505) 988-2488

Listen to R. Carlos Nakai

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