World Music Features    Mary Youngblood    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music


World Music Features    Mary Youngblood    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music
nancymitchell

Search

WORLD MUSIC NEWS
WorldMusicFeatures
WORLD MUSIC Profiles
  Artist Features
  World Music Legends
  Reggae Legends
  African Legends
Live Music Events
  World Music Concerts
  World Music Festivals
  World Music Clubs
Global Lifestile
  Travel
  Food
  Film
reviews
  Books
  DVD
  Live Music
WorldMusicFeatures
WORLD MUSIC CD ReVIEW
  Africa
  Asia & Far East
  Australia & Oceania
  Celtic & Irish
  Electronica
  Europe
  Greater Latin America
  Jazz
  Middle East & North Africa
  New Age & Avant Garde
  North American
  Reggae & Caribbean
  South Asia
  World Fusion
WORLD MUSIC links
back issues
 

Deutsch
Franais
Espa ol
Italiano
Portuguese
Japanese
Chinese





World Music Features

Print Page
E-mail to Friend E-mail to Editor
Mary Youngblood
By Sule Greg Wilson

Published September 9, 2005
Style: Native American

When I asked Native American flutist Mary Youngblood if her growing-up  years in Tucson, Arizona, had affected her music, I was—unknowingly—invoking her own time of change and coming to personal power. Talking to me from her Orangedale, California home, she chuckled "Oh, my God, yeah" into the telephone, then grew silent for a moment. "I was a very brown girl, and those were some real painful years, 'cause I really got picked on, because of my color.  The little place that I lived in happened to be primarily white, and it was a culture shock to me, because I'd been raised with this white family, but I didn't see any color. . .That became the pivoting point to finding out who I was.  I was brown!  Why was I brown?  What made me brown?"

Since those fourth- and fifth-grade experiences, the Seminole-Aleut woman has gone on to a profession of her own: a musician, a female known for playing what, up to then, had been pretty much a male-only instrument: the Native American flute. Yes, she took some flak early on, but Mary Youngblood has been the recipient of numerous accolades, including a 2000 "Indie" award for Best Native American Recording, Nammies for Best Flutist and Best Female Artist, and more.  Youngblood is grateful, understanding that notoriety is a two-edged sword, ("Awards can be coyotes and ravens", she explains).  So, for the past eight years Mary Youngblood has sat on the board of the Sacramento Urban Indian Health Project, Inc. ("My tenure on the board has been priceless—a great vehicle to be able to give back, and do something for my community that's out of the limelight"), and continues to lobby in the halls of Congress on Native American health-care issues.

Mary Youngblood knows the world is changing every day, that people's actions change everything around them.  Her instrument, the Native American flute, traditionally thought of as a man's purview, is being changed, as she and other women make it their own. The Native flute, a pentatonic, end-blown, wooden, handmade instrument is also changing as it moves from one world to another. The Plains flute was a courting flute, and women were not encouraged to play [it].  There are 550 Nations, and when people would go into a Cherokee village, they would be greeted by a hundred flute players: men, women, and children.  So it really depends on your tribe.  You can't really break it up into categories like that.  I play a variety of flutes, most of them not traditional Native flutes.   Does that answer that question?"

"Because more musicians are playing this instrument, the way the tuning is going is more of a ki

RSS Feeds

ADVERTISING LINKS

Arc128
Fes Festival
Lawson Sideblock
Globe Trekker 120 150
emusicsideblock

GoNomad
sonicbids

Contact us | Press Room | Contests | About Global Rhythm magazine | Advertise / Media Kit
Privacy Statement | Terms of Use
| Global Rhythm Contributors | Link to Us | Back Issues

Copyright © 2008 Zenbu Media. All rights reserved.

Powered by Ecomsolutions.net