Monday, March 29, 2010

Native American Flute Player Leon Littlebird

Instead of writing about agricultural economics today, I would like to present some culture instead, that of one particular Native American who lives here in Colorado, and is an exceptional musician, storyteller, and human being. I hope to do more articles here in the future about cultures, anthropology, and especially, Native Americans.


Last weekend, I went to hear a performance by Native American flute player and musician Leon Littlebird. It was a magical evening. The combination of his warmth, storytelling, flute (many sizes and shapes), guitar playing, and singing were impressive.

His history is rich and he is a born storyteller, so he was able to transport us, his audience, back around a campfire, wrapped in a blanket, listening in wonder. It was a reminder of how much our values have changed and how dramatically the way we spend our time has changed, but at the same time nothing about what we long for and exist for has changed at all.

Leon's great grandfather was one of the original settlers in Blackhawk, Colorado, and his great-uncle was a classical composer and performer in Silver Plume and Georgetown. His ancestors also include the indigenous Navajo people of northern New Mexico. His father was an artist for AT&T who suggested that advertising be put upon yellow paper. As they say, the rest is history.

To get the full flavor of this man's personality, you must spend the required 31 seconds watching this YOUTUBE video of Leon giving ski instructions. Hint: It's not what you might expect.

The evening's music was haunting, relaxing, meditative, neither happy nor sad, and very in the moment. I will conclude with a link to the Dakota myth of how the flute came to be, which is similar to his opening story, if you are a fan of mythology.

love flute with turtle totem

A long time ago, there lived a young man who was very shy. He was brave in battle, and led the buffalo hunt with courage, yet when it came to speaking his love to the girl he wanted to marry, he was too shy to speak. He would stand helplessly, his eyes cast to the ground, while other young men stood with their courting blankets outside the tipi of the girl's father.......(LINK)

For his website, to hear a sampling of his music, and to order his music, click here.


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