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Musical instruments from gourds.

COUNTRYSIDE: I started a new business this year which is a not for profit organization: Singing Mouse, Shamanic Learning Center. I received the verification of my status in April of this year. The center is focused around a four-phase format. Two of the formats are concerned with alternative healing which includes a fund to help people who have little or no insurance get the medical aid and attention that they desperately need. The other formats are about the teaching of Shamanic principals and techniques, and classes held on how to make "reproduction" Native American items. This is not a religious facility nor do we prostalize the "religion" of shamanism as shamanism is not a religion. Although you can follow it religiously. Ok, enough of the commercials.

In the July/August 2007 issue it is stated that the next issue, September/October issue, is having something on growing and using gourds. I also use gourds in my craft work. I make such items as bowls and cups, incense holders and the infamous "bird houses." I have also made, for decoration only, bowls and beaded handle spoons. As I said, these are for decoration only, as I wouldn't want to eat my favorite soup with these.

I am of American Indian descent and I also make ceremonial rattles and water dippers from the "dipper"-type gourds for use in the Native American Sweat Ceremony. These dippers are decorated with "wood burned" motifs of my Native American heritage. A lot of these have been gifted and some I sell as a business finance recoup.

The other items that I make are a bit special as these are sold for upwards of $150 each. Many of my ancestors have made these for use as prayer items and in the beautiful art of courting. I am talking about the Native American Love Flute. The large dipper gourds are the perfect subject for this type of expression and art, as they dry quite hollow and with a bit of scraping and sanding on the inside, they work perfectly. This flute has a lovely and sometimes haunting voice and can be/are a meditative influence to many peoples. You will also see a couple of flutes that I made from one gourd neck.

These flutes are split to clean out the "gunk," but if done properly the splitting is not necessary. The small "Tooters" are of the ocarina style and are made from some small decorative gourds. These were gifted to a friend's boys who took them to school to show their music teacher. I also make NA Flutes from other items such as basswood, bamboo and what I call "mystery wood," but that is another item for further writings.--Leo Muller "White Bear"
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Author:Muller, Leo
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Words:457
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