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Native Flute's Haunting Sound Keeps Cherokee Tradition Alive

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As a child, Randy McGinnis learned to play the Native American flute, but he didn't begin to appreciate its fragility as an important symbol of his Cherokee heritage until he was an adult.   "About twenty years ago," he says, "I realized it was disappearing.  There was nobody playing the Native American flute.  It was fading away."

So he picked up the flute again and began to play.  Now, the Maryville resident records, performs and teaches the flute to younger generations of Cherokee in an effort to keep the instrument, its traditions and its evocative, haunting tones alive.  In this interview, McGinnis sits down with WUOT's Matt Shafer Powell to discuss the flute, its meaning to the Cherokee people and the reason he plays it now...

Song_One.mp3
This short song was recorded at the WUOT studios
Song_Two.mp3
Hear another short song recorded at WUOT's studios
01_When_Dreams_Come_Together.mp3
"When Dreams Come Together" from Randy McGinnis' CD "Smoky Mountain Dreams"

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NATIVE AMERICAN FLUTE

Origins of the Native American Flute

The Legend of the First Flute

See the artists nominated for this year's Native American Music Awards and vote for your favorite