A &E, Uncategorized

Spirit Music of the Native People

Spirit Music 2

12 years ago, Dock Green Silverhawk wanted to find a place for his Native Flute circle to have a barbeque. He ended up creating the annual Silverhawk Native American Flute Gathering in Withlacoochee State Park. This year, the gathering ran from Oct. 17-18 and featured Native music players and Native art, jewelry, and food vendors.

Silverhawk thought his barbeque would just be a low-key event in his backyard, but people outside of his small flute circle wanted to come. The first year there was a hurricane, the second year the food vendor did not show up.

“Every year it has just blossomed, it’s just gotten bigger and bigger,” said Silverhawk.

He plans the whole event by himself every year so that it’s exactly how he wants it to be.

“I do this for the people. This is a gift for my friends,” said Silverhawk. “I want people to be totally relaxed.”

Charlie Cox has been the emcee for two years now. He has been playing the Native style flute for fourteen years. He went to a powwow once and met a man selling flutes who taught him how to play on the spot. After playing for a few weeks, he went to Silverhawk’s flute circle, then a flute circle in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“I play what comes from my heart. I close my eyes and draw from what’s around me,” said Cox. “I listen, I feel, and that’s what comes out of me.”

Cox has traveled across the country to teach people how to play the Native flute. According to him, the basics can be taught in 15 minutes.

Mark McGourley has been playing the Native Flute for over 20 years, and has been performing professionally for five years. He and fellow musician Johnny Kee have played this festival for five years.

Chris Berger, who goes by her Native name Circling Eagle, is a member of the Chippewa tribe from Minnesota. She has been making drums for about five years, and has been coming to the Silverhawk Festival for several years.

“The drum is very sacred to us because it’s the heartbeat of the mother,” said Circling Eaare made of apple snail shells from the Everglades. She puts pebbles in the shell and covers the hole with rawhide.

Charlie Baumgartner and his uncle have a business called Uncanef flutes. Baumgartner is a cabinet builder by trade, so he uses wood that would otherwise be thrown away to make flutes. He has been making flutes for almost two years.

Besides drums, she also makes rawhide rattles and snail shell rattles. The snail rattles are made of apple snail shells from the Everglades. She puts pebbles in the shell and covers the hole with rawhide.

Charlie Baumgartner and his uncle have a business called Uncanef flutes. Baumgartner is a cabinet builder by trade, so he uses wood that would otherwise be thrown away to make flutes. He has been making flutes for almost two years.

“I came to the festival last year as my debut, and a lot of the awesome flute makers helped steer me in the right direction, and I’ve shown a lot of improvement since then,” said Baumgartner.

The Silverhawk Native American Flute Gathering always falls on the third weekend of October.

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