Origins of Quetzalcoatl Music
Quetzalcoatl Music was created by my passion for honoring my indigenous culture and traditions and sharing that knowledge with reverence to any who are called to this path. These instruments are handmade with love to promote healing and awareness, to honor Indigenous traditions and people that continue to steward the land to this day, and to promote this healing as you journey to connect with yourself through playing these sacred works of art.
I was first introduced to Aztec dancing as a teenager by my sister, who had similar questions regarding our ancestry. This opened my eyes and I felt a deep connection to the rhythms and instruments I saw.
I began seeking knowledge of the culture and instrumentation of my ancestors before me.
Roughly 40 years ago I began creating instruments with my first bamboo flute, then my path took me to Alaska to hone my woodworking skills, and then learning to create clay instruments with my first mentor, master artist Xavier Quijas Xyayotl. After studying many diverse styles,, I was able to take my ideas of shifting Mesoamerican clay instruments into wooden versions, similar to those made by Indigenous tribes throughout North America. Having close ties to both lands and with the blessings of my teachers and mentors, I began creating the flutes and drums you see today.
For over 35 years I have been making handmade and custom Native American and Mesoamerican instruments in Southern California. When my daughters were young children at a local Waldorf school, we were introduced to the magical place known as Modjeska Canyon, ancient Tongva land in the Santa Ana Mountains. My daughters saw the potential and sacredness of this land and intuitively knew that this was destined to be our family home and sanctuary for my craft. It has now been our home for over 20 years. In this secluded and rural part of Southern California, I have been able to create my vision of a workshop and showroom for my many sacred instruments. Today I continue to create my art in this beautiful place, inspired by everyone along my journey and the treasures of the Earth herself.
My love and passion for crafting musical instruments is innate, but the knowledge that I now possess could only be possible with the guidance of those masters who came before me.
Over the decades, I apprenticed under several practiced and generous teachers; each masters of their own craft. Each taught me to use and honor the gifts from the Earth and to make them sing. In the early years of my career, I dutifully trained with Kensuro, a master Japanese woodworker. In my mid twenties, my journey took me to Alaska where I refined my skills with Tlingit woodworkers and left my parents house to begin my path as an instrument maker.
In the early 90’s I met my first mentor at the Rose Bowl swap meet in Los Angeles, Xavier Quijas Xyayotl- an expert craftsman in Mesoamerican instruments and art. Xavier taught me to create ancient Mayan flute replicas with clay. For many years we performed together throughout the United States, always creating the instruments we used. I later met my friend and mentor Agustin Rodiles “Tzinzuni”, who helped me refine my skills in wood carving, propelling my artistic endeavors. I was now on the path to becoming a master and innovator of my craft. With the knowledge passed down from mentors and teachers throughout my life, I began developing these sacred instruments in my own style, while always honoring the traditions and ancestors they come from. Utilizing both Mesoamerican and Northern Native American styles and techniques, I created my unique instruments. After years of training I find that my strongest tools continue to be my hands, and vision, looking to nature and my dreams for designs and inspiration.
Like my teachers before me, I have always been inspired to share my craft, heritage, and traditions with those around me and pass this knowledge to future generations. I have worked as a teacher at several different Waldorf schools, and have facilitated workshops at schools throughout California. My workshops have taken me throughout the world to share my sacred instruments and wisdom with people everywhere. I have had several apprentices, each one eventually taking their own journey to create sacred instruments with my blessing. It has been a blessing being able to teach everywhere from my wild California backyard to ancient shrines in Japan. I deeply admire seeing that the human connection to animals, land, and music are universal, regardless of age, place, and language. It is an honor to to devote my time to creating these sacred instruments, and to continuing sharing my knowledge with the world.
Bamboo Cedar Oak
Many years ago I was fortunate enough to meet my spiritual brothers, Hiroki Okano and Nigel Shaw. Both are incredible musicians from very different backgrounds and lineages- Hiroki from Shinto Buddhist traditions in Japan, Nigel from ancestral traditions in England. Combined with my indigenous traditions and instruments, we formed our musical group Bamboo Cedar Oak. While we all play Native style flute, we also incorporate and honor the instruments of our respective ancestors and lineages. As a group we have been fortunate to perform in sacred places all over the world, as well as tour and teach workshops in each of our home countries.