Thursday, 11 August 2011

Ronald Roybal - The Buffalo Hunters

The Buffalo Hunters - Ronald Roybal
Along the trails we stopped to listen to some beautiful flute playing by Ronald Roybal (HwAn-Pi-Khaw ... Red Tailed Hawk Song).

He's an American South Western descendant of Pueblo Tewa and Spanish Colonial and expresses both sides of his heritage in the music.

He played a wide range of Native American flutes in the concert each with a different personality and it was clear to see the complex ways that Ronald played the different instruments and the tones and expressions he could evoke.

Unlike orchestral flutes, which I think of as being played 'sideways', these are played straight down but each has its own tone, shape and style of playing.

Ronald used much finger work, clever breathing and tonality to sweep from sonorous bass tones to sharp little trills during the playing. It was very easy to be carried away to imagining the desert during the performance.

We saw him in Santa Fe, which is nowadays his home and where he performs regularly. The album we brought back is called 'The Buffalo Hunters' and combines the flutes with other instruments and vocals on what amounts to a spiritual journey across the plains, from the eagle dancing with the wind, through sunrise, to a water place, a white shell mountain and to a final farewell.

The tracks have been given 'time to breathe' as well so it is easy to become lost in the wonder and journey of the music.

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