Scott August's Blog

Native American Music Award winner, and three time nominee, Scott August is a nationally acclaimed composer, producer, keyboardist and Native American flute player know for his forays into World Music. His music has been featured on the nationally syndicated radio shows “Hearts of Space” and “Echoes” as well as receiving airplay on the the digital networks XM, Sirius and DirecTV. Visit Scotts' website.

What Notes are on your NAF?

2011 March 16
by Scott August

I got an email recently from a person asking about which notes were on

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their flute. This was in regards to a post I did about How to kamagra 100mg generic viagra for sale Play a viagra online Major Scale on a NAF. cialis viagra levitra vergleich As I get this question from NAF players frequently, I thought viagra website that rather than just reply this using cialis long term person directly I would share the answer with everyone…

This is good information to know on a lot of levels. Including figuring out viagra harmony, playing with no prescription viagra other flute players or other instruments and figuring out different scales on the same cialis and levitra at the same time flute.

To help you figure out what notes are on your Native American style flutes here is a quick cheat sheet showing the notes of the minor pentatonic scale

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of several common keys. This is not young guys taking cialis all the notes, just the ones you get with a standard

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Key of A: A, C, D, discount viagra E, can you buy viagra over the counter G, A octave

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– a playing?

C, Eb, F, G, Bb, C octave

Key of Bb: B b, Db, Eb, F, Ab, Bb octave

When I get a chance I’ll try to lay this out better.

-Scott August


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2011 Cedar Mesa Music

Canyon Echo part 1

2010 September 1
by Scott August

In my last post we looked at how to purchase a microphone. For this next post efectos de la viagra I was going talk

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get Canyon Echo that great extra treatment that gives many NAF recordings their sense of space. Along with can you buy viagra over the counter this buzz there is also a lot of misinformation.

For example I heard the following story from a flute maker. It seems another flute maker had posted

a new flute on his website along

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with some sound samples. There were two of them and they both used the same flute recording. The first one did not have any effects, what is called dry, in our case no Canyon Echo. The second sound sample was the same music but with some Canyon Echo added to it to make the flute sound a little nicer. The next day a customer called the flute maker to purchase the flute, but us cialis prices he wanted the one with the “Canyon Echo canadian pharmacy Option“. He thought that the echo was built into the flute…

The truth is that the canyon echo that gives so many cialis hearing loss flute recordings such a great sound is added to the sound of the flute by devices that modify it electronically or digitally, thereby replicating physical spaces. These how long does kamagra last effects are really called Reverb, Delay or Echo, depending on which one best reviews online pharmacy is being flomax and viagra used. You generic cialis hear these effects on all types music produced in india online pharmacy the last 40 or more years, and us pharmacy online viagra on all the different instruments

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on those recordings: vocals, guitars, drums, keyboards, saxophones, etc, not just Native flutes. Also these effects are never referred to in the larger music world as Canyon Echo. So

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sound of your flutes. This basic explanation will make every thing clearer and easier to understand. I’m going to do this with one post for reverb and another for delay and echo. Let’s start with reverb.

Reverb is that extra part of the sound that originally came from the place or “space” in which the sound was performed and heard. Reverb is short for the buy viagra term Reverberation.

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Read the full article HERE

Flute Quest 2010

2010 August 25
by Scott August

I just got back from Flute Quest and thought I’d talk a little about my experience at the festival. Sorry I don’t have any photos. There are some in the forum from the event. I’ll put a link at the end of this post.

I flew into Sea-Tac airport generic cialis available in canada last Thursday, August 19th after a two hour flight from LAX. Ironically from the side of the jet that I was on I could see Yosemite National Park, near where the Yosemite Flute Festival will be happening next month. We also flew over Lake Tahoe, Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, Mt Saint Helens and the ginormous Mt. Rainier, which poked it’s cone above the clouds that obscured the ground below. At the last moment as we descended toward the

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airport we broke through the cloud cover and there below us was downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, the waterfront and beautiful Puget Sound.

Waiting for me as I approached the luggage carousel was Chris and Carole. Two volunteers that had the task of driving me around. (I am not using last names to protect the viagra soft tabs innocent.) They helped me get my bag and then took me out to a nice lunch of fish and chips at a restaurant on the water in the town of Des Monies. Then it was off to see the festival’s day ground in Saltwater State Park.

The Site
Saltwater State Park lies in a tiny canyon created by the McSorley creek. This made the area nice and tucked away from the rest of the world. The steep hillsides that lined cheap viagra 100mg online the valley were tree covered and the valley itself emptied into Puget Sound at a lovely sand covered beach lined with cool sun bleached driftwood logs. Just a few yards inland from this was the park. A nice grassy park with big shade trees, now lined with the white buy generic viagra booths of vendors. There was Butch and Laura Hall, Nash, Tom Steward,

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Michael Graham Allen, Brent Haines, Rick and Linda of Vision Hawk with their two new puppies Chaco and Pecos and many more. In fact there were so great vendors I never made it to all their booths when I had the time between workshops. Finally, there were some great food vendors.

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Set in one corner was a very nice, large stage for day performers. The whole festival was laid out well. It was big but intimate at the same time. As a cornerstone to the event was the WA Flute Circle booth, the hosts and facilitator of Flute Quest. I got a chance to say Hi to Lisa, who was best price for cialis my point person for the event and did so much of the publicity and arrangements for the festival. I also met many of the volunteers who’s hard work and dedication was making this all possible. Later that night cialis 5 mg price walgreens everyone there was invited to a get together of food, including some great chicken and salmon.

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before the first day.

Day 1
The first day of the festival was nice and cool. A perfect break from the heat of LA. Up first for me was a workshop on the Anasazi flute. I had at least 10 people attending and they all did great! Everyone, from the more what do viagra pills look like experienced to the beginner, got a tone. We went over ways to help get a sound, exercises to improve one’s tone and looked at three of this flute scales. I felt everyone did very well and hope they all keep playing, especially those that had less experience. After the workshop I gave a couple private lessons right by the female use of viagra water. It was really one of the most picturesque setting I’ve ever given a lesson in. Not unlike discount pharmacy Musical Echoes, with the water right there.

Before I knew it, it cheapest pharmacy was time to get to the Knutzen Family Theatre where the evening concerts were to be. There I meet Laura, Steve, Amy and Bret who helped myself and Rona Yellow Robe set up and get our

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“act” together. The venue was really nice. It held 250 persons but was still very intimate in it’s layout. The seats come right down to the stage. Both Rona and myself had video presentations for our respective sets and the screen was very big, while the lighting could still be put on both of us during our performances. Most venues only have a strip of lights and either I’m in the dark or the screen is washed out. So this was a welcome perk.

There was a great audience that night. Very enthusiastic and warm. I had a great time during my performance and with the online viagra great feedback coming from the crowd I really got into the music. I don’t overthecounter-cialisbest know if anyone got photos of my performance, but if they did I’d love to see them.

Day 2
The second day I had the first of a two part Songwriting/Improvisation workshop. We began by talking about one of the more common ways to quickly come up with a tune by using building blocks derived from the very first notes that come out of your flute. We also discussed how to

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balance new musical thoughts with repeated ones and some of the basic shapes that a melody can take. I enjoy giving this workshop as a lot of people think that writing a song for their flute is a big giant challenge. But it’s really not if you know how to break it down into small components.

After the workshop I gave a couple lessons and sat at the table where the artists could sell their stuff. That gave me the chance to meet some people and talk a little with them.

That night was Joe Young and Mary Youngblood’s performances.

Day 3
The last day had a little drizzle in the morning but the sun broke through by the middle of the day. For me it was part two of my Songwriting/Improvisation workshop. We continued where we left off and expanded the small melody that we looked at the day before into a full, short tune for NAF. We also talked a little about rhythm and tempo, and more ways to easily grow ideas into full world news viagra for the brain songs. All the while

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I was illustrating the concepts on a white board, which, as is normally the case, became a big messy doodle. Some mention was also made about northern Kokopellis vs. southern ones but we won’t talk about that here…

When the festival ended at 3 pm Joe, his wife LaRee, Ken, our friend Sharon, (who was kind enough to help me sell my CDs during my performance) and myself went off to Seattle to visit Pike Place Market, the Experience Music Project and the Space Needle. We had a great time even though Lark in the Morning has closed the store in Pike’s Place. I also wanted to visit the original Starbucks store too. A pilgrimage for my caffeine habit. There were a lot of very talented and unusual musicians playing throughout the market. The Experience Music Project was interesting especially if you’re into electric

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guitar. There is also a Sci-Fi museum in the building too. The big bummer, for me anyway, was that the Space Needle was closed for a private event! Maybe next trip.

I posted a few photos on

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Here are the photos from others in a forum on the portal

The Beginners Guide to Buying a Microphone

2010 August 10
by Scott August

The Beginners Guide to Buying a Microphone

Of all the emails I get with questions about Native American flutes one of the most common is about what kind of microphone to use for the Native flute. Even if you’re not recording a microphone can be used for amplifying your sound when you’re playing live. Therefore knowing a little about mics and how you are going to use them will help you decide what kind of mic to purchase

There are two basic type of microphones. But before we get into them and look at how they are different, let’s talk about how they are the same: The patterns in which they pick up sound. When I say pattern I’m talking about the shape that we use to represent the direction in which they will pick up a sound. There are a number of patterns but we’ll look briefly at three: Cardioid, Bi-Directional or Figure Eight, and Omnidirectional. Some microphones will only use one of these patterns, but many have a switch that lets you choose which one you want to use.

The easiest to understand is Omnidirectional. Omni is Latin for all. So an Omnidirectional mic picks up sounds from all directions. No matter where the sound source is in relationship to the mic, it will be picked up equally.

Bi-Directional, or figure eight means that the mic will pick up sounds coming from both the front of the mic and the rear, but not the sides. This pattern when plotted on a graph looks like a figure 8, with the mic being in the middle of the two circles that make up the number 8.

A mic with a Cardioid pattern picks up sounds only from in front of it and just a little to the sides if the sound is near the mic. The pattern on a graph for this type of mic looks like a heart, or in truth more like a the outline of a plum. The mic is by the two upper lobes of heart.

If you’re interested in seeing what these patterns look like on a graph you can find them here. You’ll notice other patterns that we haven’t covered here. But these are variations on these three basic types.

Native Flutes = Cardioid
For the most part, when talking about Native flutes, you’ll want to use a mic with a cardioid pattern. You’ll be playing in front of the mic and really don’t want any other sounds to be picked up from the sides or back.

Different Types of Microphones
So now that we’ve looked at how mics are similar, let’s look at how they are different. There are several different types of microphones but for the Native flute there are really only two that you’ll need to worry about: Dynamic and Condenser. I’m not going to go into how these two types of microphones work, but rather talk about how they are used. If you want to know more about the circuitry involved there is a lot of information out there. You don’t need to know this to use a mic. Let’s look at dynamic mics first.

Dynamic Microphones
Dynamic mics are the types of microphones you see on a live stage. Singers use them on stage, as do instruments that need to be mic’d. They are, for the most part, inexpensive, can take a beating, and don’t feedback as easily as Condenser mics. A decent, all purpose, dynamic mic can be purchased for $100 – $150. Dynamic microphones generally only come with a cardioid patter.

musical-echoesWhen playing a Native flute into a dynamic mic you want to get the flute’s true sound hole, the one in front of the block, right up to the microphone. This is due to the fact that these mics don’t pick up sounds that are not right next to them. (This is why they are harder to feed back)
Notice in the photo to the right how I’m trying to get the true sound hole as close to the mic as I can.

One of the reasons why these mics will not pick up sounds that are not close to them is because they are not as sensitive as condenser mics. This also applies to the range of frequencies they will, and will not pick up. As a general rule dynamic microphones will not pick up sounds that are very low in pitch e.g. low frequencies, or ones that are very high in pitch, e.g. high frequencies. Where they start to not pick up high and low frequencies will give each manufacture’s model it’s characteristic sound. (BTW a graph showing how a mic picks up certain frequencies is called a frequency response curve)

For the most part this lack of sensitivity really isn’t a problem where Native flutes are concerned, due to these flutes limited range. Even if you take into consideration low bass flutes and super high flutes, which are well within the average dynamic microphone’s frequency response curve.

I use a dynamic microphone when I perform live. How did I pick the mic I use? I didn’t really. I just use the mic that came with my Fender Passport PA system. Why go out and buy another mic when the one that came with the PA works just fine? In fact I know that the mic’s inability to reproduce really high frequencies works in my favor in that it acts like a filter on any high, breathy, windy or buzzy sounds coming from the flute. Noise that I would filter out anyway!

Condenser Microphones
Condenser microphones are more common for studio recording. Their electronics work in a different way than dynamic mics and are therefore more sensitive. This means that they will pick up sounds from farther away, that are quieter and very low or high in frequencies. Condenser microphones need to be powered, either by a battery in the mic capsule, or generally from the mic pre-amp. This external power is known as phantom power. Most mixing boards and digital I/Os have phantom power built into their pre-amps.

AT-4050-in-shock-mountUnlike a dynamic mic, when playing into a condenser mic the sound source, in our case a Native flute, does not need to be right next to the microphone. In fact anything closer then 12″ – 18″ will over power the mic and cause distortion. It will also pick up noise from your lips and fingers moving. For Native flutes the best way to go is to have the mic in a shock-mount placed in front and above the flute at a 45˚ angle. It’s very common to have the mic hanging upside down when recording this way.
The photo to the right shows my condenser microphone in it’s shock-mount hanging upside down. This is a side view. The front of the mic is to the right.

I use an Audio Technica 4050 for 99% of my studio recording work. I asked several audio engineers what they would recommend for a good, reasonably priced, all purpose instrument mic and this was one of their recommendations. So far I’ve used it on all of my studio recordings except for a few tracks and have found it to be an excellent mic. When I bought it they cost about $750. They seem to have come down since then. But there are any number of good, reasonably priced mics out there if this is beyond what your budget will allow.

You might be asking yourself, “What mic did he use for the other 1% of his studio recording?” Well on a couple tunes that used a double flute I used a stereo mic, (which I’m not sure gave me the results I was looking for) and on a couple others I used a dynamic mic that was designed for drums! No one has ever mentioned that they can tell the difference and this doesn’t surprise me. By the time you do some filtering, a touch of compression and add all the echo and reverb most people can’t tell. But this leads to another question…

How do you pick a mic for yourself?
So now that I’ve thrown all this information at you how do you wade through it all an pick a microphone for yourself? The truth is there are a few really easy ways to pick one. They aren’t rules necessarily, they’re more like guidelines…

1. Where will you use a mic the most?

In the studio or on the stage? If you’re going to use it mostly in the studio then you might strongly consider a condenser mic. For anything else, stage, flute circles, family outings, public appearances, Madison Square Gardens…, then get a dynamic mic. It would be wise to not take a condenser mic onto a live stage. It can be done, but It’s not worth all the extra hassles and it will pick up every little noise anyone even close to you makes. And that includes your noises as well…

2. What’s your budget like?
If you don’t have a lot of money you’re better off with a good dynamic mic. That way you’ll have money for a mic stand, cables and all the other gear the mic plugs into.

3. How quiet is your space?
If you plan to use a mic for only studio recording and your studio is your bedroom, how much unwanted noise is there? If you can’t record yourself in a very quiet place then a condenser mic will pick up all sorts of unwanted noise. Computer fans, cars, planes, garbage trucks, neighbors yelling, dogs barking, phones ringing, your spouse / roommate flushing the toilet, the washing machine, birds, loud bees… Better to use a dynamic microphone that won’t pick up all these noises. Unless of course you’re doing some “Avant-garde, urban noise & flute recording”.

I record my live instruments in a walk-in closet with acoustic foam covering the walls. I generally turn off all the phones (which, as my friends know, I rarely answer anyway), and even have my computer in an isolation box to damp down the fan noise. Trust me, when recording, not much is as anonying as unwanted noise that you can’t get rid of.

Finally, the last thing to consider is that better equipment doesn’t always make for a better recording. Why would I say that? Well what if you purchased some $5,000 microphone (yes, some cost that much) and when you record your flute you hear all this ugly stuff, like wind, buzz and air, in the recording that you don’t like? Now you’re just going to have to figure out a way to get rid of it. Maybe a less sensitive microphone wouldn’t have picked up all that junk in the first place.

Keep in mind that the sound of the flute we hear in our head is not the same as the sound the mic hears. Our brains unconsciously and automatically filter out a lot of wind, air, buzz, fuzz, and other noises from the flute. A mic does not. It’s kind of like hearing a recording of your voice. And you love how much your voice sounds… Right?

So if you aren’t familiar with how sound works, and how to manipulate it through devices such as EQ, maybe you don’t need that state-of-the-art microphone. Maybe an inexpensive dynamic mic is best for your needs and experience. You can always upgrade later.

…Plus, with a “cheaper” microphone, if your playing isn’t all that great you can always blame the mic…

Happy Recording!

© Cedar Mesa Music. All rights reserved.

Musical Echoes 2010, Day 1

2010 May 1
by Scott August

I just got back from Musical Echoes in Florida a couple days ago. This was my first time there and I had a wonderful time. This trip included a lot of “firsts” for me and I thought I’d share some of the weekend with everyone.

As always, the days leading up to a trip to perform are always busy. This is more so when I’m not driving as I have to figure out how to get all my stuff to the location. The week before I shipped product, forgetting to pack my Anasazi book. Then I had to borrow a better suitcase so my shirts and coats wouldn’t get too wrinkled. They always do anyway.

The next morning when we arrived at the terminal the TSA line snaked back and forth in a landing above the ticket counter, out the door down to the next terminal and then doubled back on itself. I thought sure I was going to miss my flight. However after spending over an hour in the line I made it to the gate just as boarding started.

I had to stop at DFW, which was much easier to deal with than LAX even though I’d never been there before. They had a train that connects all the terminals like a lot of newer airports. From DFW I boarded a 50 seat jet and head to Ft. Walton Beach.

As I headed toward the baggage claim area there was my “ride”, David waiting for me. David is one of the organizers and I liked him right away. A musician himself, he had a strong southern accent and welcomed me to “LA”

“LA?”, I replied in confusion.

“Yeah, Lower Alabama, that’s what we call it down here”.

I felt right at home.

We drove by the park where the festival is held, right on the water of a channel behind a barrier island. I met the sound guy and some others. Everyone was really friendly. Then he dropped me off at my room, which was too nice for the likes of me, and said to call when I needed a ride in the morning. I grabbed a bite for dinner, read some of the book I brought and went to bed. It had been a long day.

The next morning I woke to clear, sunny skies. I grabbed some breakfast at a Waffle House (another first) and then David swung by to take me to the festival.

There I met Dave McCullen in person, we had only dealt online before (another first). Dave, for those of you that don’t know, makes amazing PVC rim blown and oblique blown flutes. He has been doing so for a long time. Second perhaps to Michael Graham Allen. I have one of his PVC Hopi flutes. He doesn’t sell flutes, but gives them to those lucky few. He works under the name Warrior Wind Flutes. While we were talking I was expressing how lame I felt since I hadn’t shipped a blanket for my table. Dave said he could get one and took off. He returned about five minutes later with a really nice blue fleece with a “Native” design on it. When I asked who let him borrow it he replied “I bought it for you”. I was so touched, but insisted that I pay him back. He took the money I gave him and promptly bought a copy of Radiant Sky from me! He later came by the both with a Ney and a Kaval. Several of us were lucky enough to get flutes by him. What a treat. I got a Ney and a Kaval and another Hopi flute and an oblique blown flute with a NAF tuning. The last two I can play, the Ney and Kaval, not yet.

Mark Holland had a booth near mine, Jeff Ball showed up later and set up next to me. Also there was Jonny Lipford and Michael Searching Bear. I’d met Jeff and Mark and Jonny before. Jeff I’ve been lucky to know since 2002 and Mark I met in 2007 I think. They are both great guys and as we all know great flute players. Jonny I meet at the last INAFA convention. He’s really coming up with his career and I hoped to get a chance to talk to him sometime during the weekend.

During the day there was a flute competition and then the performing began. All this time the nice sunny sky was becoming darker and darker, the air turned cold and rain threaten to start. I took the stage at 6 PM and as I was playing I could see lightening to the west. It started to drizzle. The sound guy, Bob, told me to keep playing while they dismantled the lights in front of the stage and the speaker stacks. I slogged on as best I could as the lightening got closer, thunder started to clap, the rain increased, and the sound guys yelled back and forth as they lowered the lights in front of me. Finally the rain got so hard it was time to shut everything down. Even with all the commotion I felt lucky. At least I got to play. All of the evening performances were canceled. Once I stopped the brave few that were still in the audience rushed for cover and we all headed out.

Performing during the lightening, thunder and rain
Photo by Cynthia McDonald

The lightening storm was amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much lightening in one storm. We don’t get a lot in LA. A bunch of us went to dinner. Myself, Katy Owen, Deborah Peterson, Lynn Lipford, Michael Searching Bear and his band, and the 2nd place winner of the flute competition, Traci Conley Junge and her family, were just part of the group. While at dinner Katy told us that she’d been hit by lightening three times!

We all hoped for better weather the next day…

(After I wrote this I got a call from David. Ft. Walton Beach could be hit by the oil spill any day now. He asked that I keep them in our thoughts. Thought I’d pass it along. The more the better.)

Peru part 4 Inca Pisac

2009 November 29
by Scott August

My last post left off with us descending into the Sacred Valley, but I forgot to share the second half of our trip to the llama farm. It was a demonstration of local weavers that had come from all the surrounding areas to show turistas like us how they weave and their traditional dress. So in Part 4 of my Peru Journals we visit with them and then take a look at Inca Pisac, a prehispanic Inca city in the Sacred Valley where I bought my first musical instrument on the trip, a Quena
Terraces of Pisac
Holding my new Quena and the guy I bought it from

Again I’ve included a video clip and since I can’t get them to play here I’ve posted this to my blog.
Read Peru part 4

If you’ve missed the first three parts here are their links
Part 1: “Journey to Peru”
Part 2: “Lost in Translation”
Part 3: “Flight of the (Silver) Condor”

Peru, part 2: Flight of the (Silver) Condor

2009 November 23
by Scott August


After three full days in Lima, a large, bustling, urban city, we finally head into the heart of the Inca world and the Peruvian Quechua culture, Cuzco. To get there we got on a 737 operated by the Peruvian airline LAN. Actually LAN is a Chilean airline company casino online but they are based in Lima.

The entire time we were in Lima the skies were overcast from the coastal fog produced by the Humboldt Current. As the jet climbed higher into the sky we soon broke through the cloud cover, riding above a solid desert of clouds, punctuated to the east by the peaks of the Andes mountains. The Andes are the longest exposed mountain range in the world, at 4,300 miles in length, extending from the southern end of Chile to the norther part of Peru. The average height is 13,000 feet!

Read the rest and watch the videos

Peru part 2 Lost in Translation

2009 November 16
by Scott August


In my last post I talked about the first days of my journey to Peru. In this post we’ll look at the city of Lima in more depth. Since this post has some video and there seems to be a problem with posting video on the portal I’ve posted it on my Blog.

Journey to Peru part 1

2009 November 14
by Scott August

This past July I got a chance to travel to a place I’ve wanted to visit since I was young. Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Inca. Perched high in the cloud forest in the Andes it was abandoned before the Spanish arrived in 1532. They never found it. Except for the locals, it was unknown until 1911 when Hiram Bingham, with the help of local guides and farmers “discovered” the city for the western world. As a youngster I encountered images of Machu Picchu. To my young mind it seemed like an ancient castle in the sky. It has stayed on my list of places to visit during my lifetime since.

The chance to visit Peru happened quickly. The subject came up just eight weeks before the trip actually took place. We thought about it for another two weeks, made the decision to go and then six weeks later we arrived at LAX, tickets in hand, bound for Peru. Our destinations: Lima, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley of the Tambo and Machu Picchu.

Although I went to see Machu Picchu, what I found was a vibrant culture. Full of color, music, dramatic history, prehispanic ruins, cold foggy coastlines and clear mountain skies. For me, Peru was a land of extremes.

When we left Los Angeles in late July it was summer. Peru however, being in the southern hemisphere, was obviously having winter. The weather looked similar to LA’s winters. Cool days but with colder nights than we get here in LA. So we boarded the plane dressed for cool weather. On our way we had to switch planes, with a one hour layover in San Salvador, El Salvador, where we were greeted by hot humide weather. It felt like 100˚ and the thick air hit you like a wall. As we were wearing long sleeves and fleece jackets it was very uncomfortable.


Lush tropical jungle surrounded the airport, like a rain forest. But despite a hard search we could not find water for sale anywhere in the terminal. The heat droned on.


I’m sure El Salvador is a wonderful country, I love Pupusas, so I know the food is great, but we were happy to be on our way and escape the humid heat of the tropics. As our plane climbed skyward the classic cone of the San Salvador volcano, or Quetzaltepec, hovered in the distance. We headed southeast. The sun slipped below the horizon.

when we landed in Lima at 8:30 local time it was dark, cold, and cloudy. Lima is a big city. Like all big cities there were people everywhere and cars zigging in and out of traffic. The taxi ride from the airport to the district of Mira Flores took about 40 minutes. The streets were busy and full of people. American business reared their heads in the form of McDonald, Starbucks, KFC, TGI Fridays and from the UK was there with Burger King. It’s always somewhat of a disappointment to travel somewhere and find exactly what you left behind.

LIma lancomar starbucks.jpg
Peruvian Starbucks

We were surprised to find that gambling is legal in Lima and we drove past many gaudy casinos. As we got closer to our hotel in the Mira Flores district, the streets got quieter and quieter. A light drizzle began to fall. For Lima this is a major “rain” event. The city, although right on the Pacific coast, is in a desert and receives only 1/4″ of rain on average each year.

We arrived at our hotel, checked in our room, and then checked out some local stores, an upscale market and had a nice quiet dinner nearby. The next day we explored further.

The first place we visited was Kennedy park in Miraflores. It was named after JFK, our 35th president. The “city” of Lima is made up of several towns, of which Lima is just one of the. Miraflores is another. It has it’s own city government.

Kennedy Park

Next to the park was a church. My understanding is that Peru is 80% Catholic, but I get the sense that there is a strong practice of the older indigenous religions that predate the Spanish. Very much so in the highlands.

Church near Kennedy Park

Detail of church

As we left the area on Kennedy Park we spied one of the few cats we saw in Peru, sleeping on a grate next to the church.

lima gato.jpg

The next place we went to was the Artist’s District of Miraflores. This was an area of several blocks that had little malls full of small shops, or stalls selling everything from textiles to jewelery, art, silver pieces and even musical instrument. We had been told that most of the stuff was not of the best quality, and it was recommended that we wait until we get to the highlands for better stuff. So I didn’t buy the long belt shaker I saw hanging from the ceiling of one stall. I never saw another one the rest of the trip am and still bummed that I passed on getting that one.

The inside a mall in the Artist’s District

Outside the Artist’s District

The building in Miraflores were all painted in pale pastels, adding a bright counterpoint to the gray skies that constantly hung over the city. The clouds were dreary in general, but more so once we walked down to the coast. From Kennedy park it took about 20 minutes to walk to the coast. Lima sits on the Pacific Ocean, but is in the same time zone as New York City.

Lima-Miraflores sits on the Pacific Ocean
In Miraflores there is a new “American” style mall called Lancomar which over looks the ocean. While there were some local stores, many of them were U.S. chains. Nevertheless the view from the mall was very nice.

View from the Lancomar Mall

There were lots of locals at the mall and in the strip of parkland that extended along the top of the cliffs next to the ocean. For a price you could go Para-gliding in the constant breeze that swept the coast up the cliffs. Not a price I would pay…


Next to Lancomar was Lover’s Park which was dominated by a huge statue of a couple wrapped in embrace.
“Get a room!”

For me the highlight of the park was the tile benches that snaked along the sides. Done in a style reminiscent of the work of Gaudi, there were quotes about love set in the tile mosaic.


In my next post about Peru we visit two local markets, including a fish market right on the coast. Things get lost in translation, but it’s all good. Plus I break out the video camera…

My favorite flute?

2009 October 20
by Scott August

I’ve been out performing this month again and as always I got a question that stumps me every time some one asks it: “What’s your favorite flute?”

I’ve been asked this question at least a hundred times and it still surprises me. Mostly because I’ve never sat down and thought about it on my own. “…hmm, what’s my favorite flute?” It is a perfectly reasonable question, I guess, but one that I could never answer.

Why not? Well here are a few reasons.

Too Many
I’ve been playing Native American style flutes for over ten years now and stopped counting how many I had at least nine years ago. As my collection grows I forget about some of the old ones. Newer ones catch my attention and they get played more. It’s human nature.

Not All Flutes Sound Alike
Every flute I have sounds slightly different. What I like about the sound of one flute may be great for a certain mood, musical style, or playing style, but not work as well outside of those parameters. I might prefer other flutes for other moods, styles or types of playing.

The sounds of some flutes I own are sweet, some are clear, some are loud, some are soft, some are warm, etc. Many flutes have a lot of these qualities, but not all flutes have every good quality one might look for. I’ve never heard a flute than can sound both “plains” and “woodland” style. It’s one or the other.

This may be why I prefer some flutes over others, they do more of the things I want a flute to do than others. Flutes that can be played soulfully one minute and then aggressively the next I like better than flutes that only play one way.

This doesn’t even begin to address Anasazi flutes, Mojave flutes and other “world” flutes. Although the same parameters apply. The more I can do with one flute the more I like it.

Too Specific
Some flutes are so specific that they end up limiting themselves. I have drone flutes and doubles that do a few things really well, but not everything. Bass flutes and really high pitched flutes can also fall victim to their specific design. When you get down to it all NAFs are based on one key and that limits them as well. So all flutes suffer from being specific in some way.

A World Full Of Options
In the end the main reason why I could never pick a “favorite” flute is that I like to keep my options open. I don’t have a favorite color, or a favorite meal, (I do have a favorite food: pumpkin… go figure), I like many different styles of music, a variety of tea blends and types of beer, I like all the seasons (although I think I prefer fall), and as the seasons change and the food at the farmer’s market changes I get excited with all the new stuff they offer.

Variety is the spice of life and there are so many wonderful things on our planet for us to pick from that I don’t see how anyone could ever say “This is my favorite.”

So, now that I’ve thought about it, do I have a favorite flute? Well surprisingly I do…
But it will change tomorrow.