Arts and Entertainment

Flute workshops come to North Bend, Fall City

Valley residents can learn how to create the ancient sounds of the flute, in workshops at the North Bend and Fall City libraries.

Peter Ali, 51, of Snohomish, who is part Yaqui Indian, and his girlfriend Tammy Kennedy, an Eastern Band Cherokee, will team contemporary Native American and woodland-style flute at two workshops.

The Fall City workshop is 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6 at the library, 33415 S.E. 42nd Pl., while the North Bend workshop is 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at the North Bend Library, 115 E. Fourth St.

The program opens with a 20-minute history lesson about the flute. Participants will then be issued a handmade cedar six-hole native flute in the key of A, and shown how to correctly hold the instrument and blow. Different fingering techniques and sound effects will be demonstrated. The program is for ages 8 and up, and adults are welcome.

The self-taught Ali began playing Native American-style flute eight years ago. There are many reasons why people pick up the instrument — it’s easy to learn, part of their ancestry, or they simply enjoy the music. For Ali, creating the ancient sounds helped him heal in the wake of a divorce. He got past that experience, and grew as a musician.

The music is also in his ancestry. His mother has Yaqui Indian heritage in her family, and he learned that his Berber grandfather was a flute player in Africa.

Ali doesn’t read music notes, but that’s fine for the flute.

“Most anybody can play this instrument,” he said. “It’s a very personalized instrument. We say we play from the heart.”

Besides a little finger dexterity, “the only thing you need is to be able to breathe,” Ali said. “There really are no strict rules on how to play. It’s not about competition or sounding like anybody else. It becomes individual. They learn to play their own music.

“They’re not going to sound like me, and I’m not going to sound like them,” he added.

Ali, who works installing infrastructure for a phone company, has picked up the Berber Nay flute, and is exploring the styles that his grandfather played.

“I want to learn a song, so I can play for my father, carrying on the traditions of my grandfather,” he said.

To learn more about the workshop, or to reserve a spot, contact the Fall City Library at (425) 222-5951 or the North Bend Library at (425) 888-0554.

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