History of the FluteThe flute (pipe or whistle) is the third most ancient musical instrument known to mankind after the drum and the rattle. Bone wind instruments dating from 40,000 years ago have been found in Europe.
In the Americas, which were first populated around 15,000 years ago (new finds suggest as long ago as 30,000 years ago), bone whistles were found in Arizona dated at 300BC. In New Mexico, four end blown flutes made of box elder were discovered dating from 625 AD.
European accounts of flutes or pipes date from the 1500’s and instruments intrinsically identical to modern plains style Native American flutes, were photographed from 1850 as played by the Ute tribe in Utah.
The flute was widespread among the Native American tribes and had many different uses. Traditionally, flutes were made by the men of the tribe; each flute was unique and constructed to ‘fit’ its owner. Northwest Coast tribes used it for dances and to summon spirit, the Hopi used them for prayer and ceremony and the Lakota for love songs and courtship. It is this tradition that has led to the instrument being known as the ‘Love Flute’
The Native American ‘Love Flute’
A young man would use his flute to aid in wooing his chosen woman. He could be near her, just out of sight, and play his flute. The woman would then know that she had an admirer. Once the man had gained confidence (and courage!), he would leave his flute outside the woman’s lodge in the evening. If the woman liked his song she would bring the flute inside, and the man would know he could attain his dream. If the flute were left outside, he would need a new dream!
Nightstar flutes are based on those made by the indigenous peoples of America. Whilst honouring and up-holding the Native American tradition, I am trying to capture something of the mysticism and spirituality of these Celtic lands.
Whenever possible I source native woods to make the flutes and some of the imagery burned on them is based on the crop circles that appear in our fields. Other imagery, such as that of the green man and lunar symbols hark back to our pagan past. Each flute is as individual as you are, a thing of beauty that will give you years of joy and sweet music.