If you found this entry after reading my February 2014 article in Flute Talk magazine (“Breathing New Life into an Old Flute”), welcome!  If you Googled your way to my blog, you’re probably the kind of person who appreciates lots of web links.  In that spirit, here’s an entry just for you. –Lisa Gilbert


If you’d like to see examples of the kind of playing I’m talking about…

My article mentions that the ‘simple system’ wooden flute is being used these days to play traditional music of many kinds.  There are so many great CDs out there that it’s hard to know where to start – but here are some YouTube links to break the ice:

Anything by French player Sylvain Barou is guaranteed to be boundary-crossing and mind-blowing.

Chris Norman (flute) and David Greenberg (fiddle) bring artistry to everything from Scots Baroque to showing terrific Telemann isn’t limited to traverso (and check out how they go through the first repeat sign in the video I’ve linked to here!).

Speaking of Scottish, flutist Calum Stewart has been releasing some inspiring albums over the past few years.

Check out the incomparable Adrianne Greenbaum for her demonstration that the flute is a Klezmer instrument, too.

There’s a reason Jean-Michel Veillon is a legend of Breton music.

I’m enthralled by the recent “Traditional Flute Music from Sweden” album released by Andreas Ralsgard and Markus Tullberg.

There are countless Irish players I could point you toward, but let’s just say that if you start with Emer Mayock, you won’t be disappointed.

Quebecois fluteux Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand spreads some deceptively simple, sweet playing across multiple songs and sets in his work with the band Genticorum.

This is just a start, of course; the exciting thing is that a whole world is ready to open up to you when you start this exploration!

If you’d like to meet some great flute makers…

I own flutes made by George Ormiston and Peter Noy; they both do painstaking work that satisfies finicky players (like me, and probably like you too).  Forbes and Yola Christie of Windward Flutes are exceptionally kind people and make lovely instruments – in fact, the picture at the top of the Flute Talk article comes from them.  Chris Norman has been making a wide range of flutes; it’d be great to talk to him about this when you register to attend the Boxwood Festival this summer or next.  And if you don’t mind a long waiting list as long as it’s got great treasure at the end of it, get in touch with Patrick Olwell.  This is not anything like a comprehensive list (and there are lots more makers out there doing great work), but these are people I know and whose instruments I respect.

If you’re getting ready for attending your first traditional Irish session…

As I mentioned in my article, connecting with the community is just essential.  As you take these first steps, knowing how to make a good first impression is crucial.  Here’s a typical guide to session etiquette, and if you appreciate super-frank advice, you might also want to check out a post I wrote awhile back that put everything out there.  (Just please, don’t let that intimidate you or stop you from heading out to the pub!)  Once you’ve found your sea legs, check out this book for the kind of good laugh that comes from a moment of recognition.

If you’d like to spend part of your summer exploring traditional music…

I count the Boxwood Festival and Workshop as being among the best in potentially life-changing music programs out there.  Go once and you’re likely to find yourself adding it to every calendar you own for a decade to come.

I’m told (by people I trust) that New Harmony Music Festival and School is an affirming and inspiring space.

There’s any number of weekends throughout the year, too; check out the midwestern Tionol in my hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri for a bevy of workshops and a flurry of sessions.

Again, there are so many options we could fill an entire blog with them, but these are ones I can personally vouch for.  Readers who know about additional opportunities, please leave comments below!

If you’d like to read more about the history of the flute…

Robert Bigio’s flute pages are extensive and fascinating.  If you’re feeling academic – which, being a grad student these days, I understand – I highly recommend Ardal Powell’s 2002 book The Flute, which avoids the “progress” narrative that’s so common when tracing the evolution of the instrument (I’m always amazed at the strong, negative opinions some writers have regarding flutes they’ve never tried, or even heard played).  Instead, Powell explains how the flute changes in response to changing musical needs – for example, for example, the silver flute comes about following the Industrial Revolution, when our lives got a lot louder with background noise and electricity and traffic…


And there you have it – plenty of traditional flute links for your clicking-around-the-net pleasure.  Happy explorations, and I hope I’ll meet you someday at a festival or session!