Bazaar Artist: Hawk Henries
The peaceful tones of Hawk Henries’ flute playing compel one to stop, listen, and reflect. His music touches people’s inner chords. Hawk Henries, a member of the Chaubunagungamaug Band of Nipmuck, a people Indigenous to what is now southern New England, has been building flutes and composing original music for over 20 years. What makes his flutes so unique is that each one is created from a single piece of wood, using only hand tools and fire.
Henries had been listening to Native flute music for years, but the drive to make music himself did not emerge until adulthood. After a stint in the Navy, work with autistic children, and a move to Maine, Henries realized the flute was the tangible, yet ethereal instrument he needed to release his creative spirit. Henries’ family gave him his first flute, as a gift, and his exploration into the world of music began to unfold.
The craft of making flutes came to Henries quite by accident. In an attempt to improve the sound of the flute his family had given him, he had succeeded in ruining it. After six months of fine-tuning and crafting, he had learned the fundamental knowledge of flute making, so he created a business from this new, self-taught skill. “I developed a deep sense of relationship with, and responsibility to the flute and its power to remind us of our sacredness and our interconnection with everything in Creation. The flute’s voice calls to the Sacred in every person and aspect of Life, in ways that transcend words or normal consciousness. Everything is sacred. Every breath, word, action, thought is sacred. Washing dishes, going for a walk, cleaning the car; it’s all a part of the same whole,” says Henries.
His mission is to bring health and peace to the world through the beautiful, airy, and serene resonance of flutes. “I think of instruments as important tools that can open doors because I think that they’re alive. They voice certain tones, and combinations of tones, that create vibrations that affect us physically. They create a space of openness or, at least, a willingness to be in that moment and be open. Together, they create a physical and social space where we can remember our connections to each other while exploring our differences as resources for new understanding and mutual awareness—instead of using them as weapons of divisiveness,” states Henries.
Henries uses music to encourage common ground and dialogue between peoples of diverse cultures and beliefs; to promote the wellbeing of Eastern Woodland Native communities, and to constantly expand his vision and skills as a composer and flute player. “I feel that it’s an important time for people to look beyond the exteriors of what we look like and what we do, and try to recognize that Divineness lives within every person. To me, the greatest gift of the flute is its power as a tool for prayer and the healing that comes from remembering.”
Henries faithfully continues to bring his flutes to life, year after year, for the patrons of Cultural Survival Bazaars.
Visit our newly redesigned Cultural Survival Bazaar webpage bazaar.cs.org to listen to Hawk Henries’ music, read about other artists and artisans, and see the upcoming schedule of bazaars.