Drum maker Gilbert Herrera is dedicated to the tradition of drum-making that he learned from his father, Redbird. As members of Cochiti Pueblo, the Herreras straddle the traditional and the modern with individually crafted musical instruments in a variety of sizes that can be used for ritual purposes as well as for individual and group creative expression. Made from native aspens and cottonwood trees grown in the Bosque or Valles Caldera and hand-finished and painted by native craftsmen, each Eagle Drum is an authentic cultural artifact as well as a durable, well crafted and resonant musical instrument. Eagle drums come in three sizes. Herrera says the 5-inch drums are great for youngsters who are learning about rhythm. There are also 10-inch and 15-inch models available for customization and professional or amateur use. When asked about his craft Herrera told Weekly Alibi, “Cochiti Drums are important because it is imperative that I keep the tradition going. It is an honor to be a Cochiti Pueblo drum maker and carrying on this craft is my calling. It is therapeutic for the mind and soul whether it be the construction of the drum as well as ceremony.”
Aztec Temple Drone Flute
$255 Blue Bear Flutes bluebearflutes.com
Aztec Drone Flutes
Blue Bear Flutes makes a variety of Native American wind instruments, using traditions handed down for more than a thousand years. Although most of their product line is melodically toned instruments that whistle brightly on the breeze or purr with harmonic purity, they also offer some very interesting, expertly tuned specialty products. Among them is the the Aztec Temple Drone Flute, a prized musical instrument whose roots are in Mayan Calima and Latin cultures. These ritual flutes are made with two awesome tunings: One plays the first four notes of the F-sharp minor pentatonic scale and the first four notes of the B-minor pentatonic scale while the other drones on and on in fifths, which modulate between E-minor pentatonic and B-minor pentatonic. Wow. King Charles, Huitzilopochtli and Raven Chacon would all be proud.
Spruce Top Guitar
$252.30 Brad Andersen Guitars bradandersenguitars.com 404 San Felipe St. NW, Ste. C3
Spruce Top Guitar
Over the years Weekly Alibi has had the pleasure of leading readers to some of the most exquisitely crafted musical instruments available in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. Along that humming, droning, singing and melodically meandering road were some awfully expensive tools. Certainly the price one pays for a guitar made by the Pimentel family is well worth it. The same could be said about the custom violins, harps and other locally made musical merchandise we’ve proposed as holiday gifts over the past few years. But not everyone has access to that kind of feria. Yet everyone who wants to play should be able to do so. Here’s the solution to that ancient dilemma: A locally made, handcrafted acoustic guitar that’s affordable. Brad Andersen Guitars in Old Town has just what one needs in that regard. Andersen handles it all, building and customizing axes that range from student model acoustic guitars to electric and bass instruments. Featured here is the EZ Tone Solid Spruce Top steel string guitar, a versatile instrument that’s great for beginners and old hands alike.
Three Field Recordings, Sssk #69
$5 each Sicksicksick Distro sicksicksick.storenvy.com
Three Field Recordings by Raven Chacon
What better way to contemplate the meaning and exposition of the holiday season than by listening to these super-special recordings whilst one shops, hobnobs or just plain gets down for those holidays happenings in the next couple months? Here’s a collection of early work by noted Burqueño artist and composer Raven Chacon. Each postcard flexi-disc was recorded at one of three very quiet places in the Southwest: Sandia Mountains; Window Rock, Ariz.; and Canyon de Chelly in the Dinétah. Full of the sublime noise of reality and the subtle expressions of nature and technology, these recordings are artful and compelling in their ability to reveal detail and linger over the passage of time through nature.