Bamboo is versatile! Bamboo is truly a remarkable renewable resource. It is a material that for centuries has been and continues to be used by more than half of the world's population for applications as varied as food, shelter, fuel and clothing. These applications make bamboo a vital non-timber, non-oil resource. With a tensile strength superior to steel, it is one of the most versatile and durable natural resources in the world.
Bamboo is sustainable!
Bamboo plays an important role in reducing wood consumption, environmental and forest protection, poverty alleviation and sustainable development in rural economies. It is the fastest growing canopy for the reforestation of degraded lands and releases 35% more oxygen than equivalent wooden supports.
Bamboo is renewable!
Bamboo is a highly renewable material. It is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth. Bamboo does not need replanting, grows without fertilizers or pesticides and is harvested from controlled supports with an incredible growth cycle of three to five years. Bamboo is not a wood, but a kind of grass. Bamboo offers vital economic and ecological benefits for the lives of millions of people around the world; providing food, fuel, housing, furniture, craft products and soil and water conservation.
- A durable, fast-growing and truly renewable resource does not need replanting.
- A viable and high-yield replacement for wood and oil based products.
- Important economic and ecological benefits, including soil and water conservation, jobs, numerous product and food applications and more than 1000 documented uses.
- A surprisingly short growth cycle, it can be harvested in 3-5 years versus 15-20, typical of many hardwoods.
- The fastest growing plant on the planet, some species can grow up to 1 meter or 3 feet a day.
- A critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- An alternative renewable resource for agro-forestry production.
- Bamboo shoots provide a nutritional source of food that can be made into bread, cakes and cookies.
- Ecological reduction of pressure on forests by replacing wood.
- The products can be made in rural environments, reducing industrial and urbanization impacts.
- Bamboo is durable, resistant and strong.
Bamboo is the raw material par excellence for making flutes. Its sound is unique. All native cultures that had access to bamboo geographically developed their flutes, such as the Chinese xiao, the Japanese shakuhachi, the Indian bansuri, the Egyptian Ney, and the Native American flute as well. Currently, Native American style flutes made of wood are very widespread, because in some regions where there was no river cane (Arundinaria), which is a type of bamboo, a way to make wood (branches) was developed, mainly cedar, considered a sacred tree. But nowadays, this way of making flutes is very expensive, generates waste of wood, in addition to relying on machinery. We opted for artisanal work, as the least possible interference from mechanical processes, as we did not create instruments on a repetitive scale. Each flute is unique and treated with uniqueness.
Many people do not know that in Native American traditions where there was access to river cane (Arundinaria), which is a type of bamboo, flutes were made from this raw material. Like the Choctaw, Navajo, Hualapai, Havasupai, Hopi people ... The river cane also has great spiritual significance, in the myth of Navajo origin, a large female bamboo was used to cross from the fourth to the fifth world as it is today.
We work with some species depending on the type of flute and specific need. Our bamboo is harvested with respect, at the appropriate times, dried in the ideal time and treated in the best way to guarantee its resistance and good acoustics. The correct maintenance and care of the flutist will also guarantee the durability and quality of this sacred instrument.
The Breckenridge Flute
The Breckenridge flute. Photo by Leslie Walker, Arkansas Archeological Survey, courtesy of The University of Arkansas Museum Collections.
The earliest known example of a Native American flute was found in northwest Arkansas. In the 1930s, Samuel Dellinger, curator of the University of Arkansas Museum, sent teams to excavate at various prehistoric cliff-shelter sites on the Ozark Plateau. The Ozark Plateau, located in the present-day southeastern United States, was home to Native Americans as early as 10,000 BC until the early 1800s. These excavations unearthed many important artifacts and, due to the extremely dry conditions in many of these shelters, the stairs , such as basketry, sandals and plant remains, were preserved and collected. Among these artifacts was a small piece of bamboo with holes drilled in its axis.
A photographic detail showing the Breckenridge flute in context during the 1933 excavations. Photo from the University of Arkansas museum.
These artifacts are still cured in the collections of the University of Arkansas Museum. However, the perforated piece of bamboo (river cane) went undetected for almost 80 years among the thousands of specimens in Dellinger's 1930 collections. In 2011, at the Arkansas Archeological Society, volunteer Jim Rees identified him as a flute. This flute, recovered from the Breckenridge shelter in Carroll County, is a two-chamber duct flute of river cane (bamboo). This is the variety of flute known today as the “Native American Flute“. It is more complicated than a simple duct or whistle, which only produces one note, or a simpler form of flute that has only one chamber and requires the player to blow on top of the opening. Simple whistles and flutes are played the way you would blow over the mouthpiece opening to produce a sound. Flutes like the Breckenridge flute are more complex. You blow directly into one chamber and air is channeled through an opening in a second chamber that produces a sound.
Radiocarbon dates put the flute between 900 and 1000 years old. This makes it the oldest flute of its kind found in North America so far.