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Gerry Henkel kantele maker

He has become the major supplier of kanteles to North Americans in the last fifteen years. He builds traditional Finnish kanteles in a small shop in the woods a few miles north of Lake Superior near Duluth, Minnesota. He strives to build quality instruments that will bring joy to the players and listeners. He's not a factory - he approaches making the instruments as a craft and an art, not a "product". The goal of his work is to build instruments that he enjoys making and that a buyer will enjoy playing. Previous to making Finnish folk music instruments, Gerry was the editor of The Finnish American Reporter, a national publication for North Americans of Finnish descent about Finnish and Finnish American culture. He is currently the editor of New World Finn, a quarterly journal exploring Finnish culture ( Gerry has also been a woodworker for over thirty years - he was a builder and remodeler of homes, and a cabinetmaker. His love of Finnish culture and its music, and his woodworking skills have come together in the building of kanteles. planing the wood stringing the instrument In the winter of 1998, as a recipient of a Finlandia Foundation Grant, Gerry traveled within Finland and immersed himself in its "kantele culture". There he spent time with a master instrument maker, Rauno Nieminen, in Ikaalinen, Finland, and with other kantele builders in Veteli and Leppävirta. He also visited with players and teachers in order to better understand the needs of kantele musicians. As of 2009, over 1900 of his instruments are in the hands of musicians throughout the United States and Canada, Japan, Australia, and Europe. His work has been exposed to the public in a short documentary produced by WDSE-TV of Duluth, Minnesota for their Venture North program (May 1996), other local television stations, Minnesota Public Radio, and in numerous newpaper and magazine articles. In 1997 he was named a Minnesota Folk Artist and again in 1999 he was cited by the Minnesota State Arts Board for "preserving the time-honored tradition of creating Finnish folk instruments". In 2008, he was named an honorary member of Finland's national Kantele Association. Gerry Luoma Henkel More endorsements of Gerry's kanteles "During the past two years I have ordered all the kanteles for my students at San Diego State University and the University of San Diego from Gerry. I have also chosen to use Gerry's kanteles in my performances because the sound of his instruments is excellent." - Merja Soria, graduate of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki Finland; instructor in music at San Diego University, and the University of San Diego; performer (vocals, accordians, kanteles) throughout the US and Finland. "I have examined Gerry's kanteles, and I have found them to be well-built, resonant and visually pleasing." - Oren Tikkanen, producer of award-winning (American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress) recordings of Finnish American music; writer about Finnish American music; and popular performer of traditional Finnish American and Finnish music. "I'm so impressed with what you have done, where you've taken your gifts and magic. I mean it - for you, as also do I, bring an American approach and interpretation to what we do. You have that liberal vision in how you see your instruments. And that is unique and ultra-hip." - Diane Jarvi, musician, songwriter and kantele player, in a letter to Gerry "To my knowledge, Henkel is the only professional kantele builder in North America. He specializes in the oldest form of the kantele, those carved from a single piece of wood. His carved kanteles are excellent." - Dr. Carl Rahkonen, Associate Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of Music, and author of The Kantele Traditions of Finland

You can visit Gerry Henkel website and store at KANTELE.COM

5 string kantele
10 string kantele

Above: 5 and 10 string Kantele made by Gerry Henkel. In his site you can read about the story of this finnish instrument

Watch Gerry playing one of his kanteles




I have myself a 10 strings kantele made by Gerry Henkel, and it soothes my spirit you can´t imagine how "heavenly" souding such apparently simple instrument can be.

Oscar De Los Santos is a noted Artist, poet, inventor, and musician, as well as the youngest recognized Elder within the Six Nations Community and Medicine man.  He is also the creator and author of  The Warriors Roadway, and the founder of  his own   company  called Tribal Thunder   that makes handcrafted percussion, drums and wind instruments.  From native american flutes to Indian Tabla there are a wealth of items to find your own rhythm, to enjoy, to spin, to play, to heal with it. he really does show the spiritual value of his craft.

Oscar is also the inventor of their popular Oscar Steel-tongue Drum, their own trademarked hank drum. I own an Oscar and  I love it, my model has six notes but you can find models in different keys up to 8 notes. It has a lovely bell sound and very soothing and relaxing.

Oscar hank drum

Above: the Oscar Drum, their most popular item in its standard and Slim model.


They make a collection of handcrafted drams, from djembe, to bodhrans  and  tabla. I'm going to highlight some of the ones I find more outstanding (and that I crave for LOL!)

I'll highlight  the Ashiko Pony Drum:  Named after the celtic Horse goddess Epona is a Tribal thunder special design, an hybrid drum mixing the qualities of the Ashiko and Djembe. The drums are built like the Ashiko (pine staves) but are somewhat shorter with larger heads (like a Djembe). The large head and small throat make for an incredibly powerful sound! The rings for this premium drum are leather wrapped and there are more ties for greater stability and balance in the head. Must be heard to be believed! I certainly would love to grab my hands around one!!

tribal thunder ashiko pony drum

Above: the gorgeous Ashiko Pony drum

They also have smaller percussions and drums like this one:

dorskin drum

Above: Small and portable dorskin drum (as all tribal thunder instruments) handcrafted

They also make other really interesting things... I have this lovely wind talk band... it sounds like Australian bull roarer but they´re very much more in control and you can even can change the pitch.  All you have to do is to spin it and a storm-like roam will chant similar but different to the didgeridoo (which by the way they also sell)- It can make two harmonics depending on the angle used, I use it a lot to chant and meditate, shall upload a video using it as soon as possible.

windtalk band

And also flutes!

native flute

                                                                        Be well Angel you are well Loved
                                                                                    Peace and Joy be with you!
                                                                                                           Oscar de Los santos (aka. Oz)


Ron Ewing  has built and played about 1700 dulcimers since 1970 to date and can offer his customers the benefit of considerable experience as both a craftsman and a musician.he does build fine, attractive instruments at reasonable prices, in a variety of styles, and use only solid domestic and imported woods, selected for their tonal quality, beauty, and compatibility.  Ron  studied engineering and English Lit in college before he got the bug to build and play upon hearing a recording of the wonderful Richard and Mimi Farina.  he apprenticed with Chet Hines - a retired civilian engineer by trade, and a builder and player of some renown in his later years.  He grew up in southern Ohio and learned the craft from his grandfather. After a couple of years he took over production and built about 200 dulcimers for Chet before heading off on his own to study guitar building and develop my own mix of the traditional and modern. 

As a musician he  has performed and taught throughout the country and is particularly known for his lively renditions of traditional Irish, Appalachian, and Euro dance tunes.  He has  guested on several recordings, including Jerry Rockwell's wonderful, "The Blackbird and the Beggarman." Most recently, I can be found playing the Irish slip jig "Drops of Brandy" with Jerry Rockwell and Leo Kretzner on "Dulcimer Celebrations" -  a collection of live performances from Mountain Dulcimer Week at Western Carolina University. 

You can visit, order and buy from his store at Ron Ewing Dulcimers

Priscilla Hernandez and Ron Ewing

I am by the way the happy owner of one of Ron Ewing Baritone dulcimers and also I have one of his very useful capos. Below you can see a picture of me and Ron in his visit to us in Barcelona. I'm holding a Baritone and he´s holding a small "dulcimette" (lovely to travel with due to be so small and light)

You can see a special about Ron Ewing in Dulcimerica Podcast here

More information coming soon!


Charlie Hind grew up on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He first began experimenting with making wind instruments in 1975 while a student at the University of South Carolina, where he later received a Master's degree in music education, with an emphasis in clarinet and viola. Over the years he has designed and built recorders, flutes, xylophones, panpipes, and since 1982, has concentrated on a wide variety of ocarinas, which he sells worldwide through his online store.
Since 1975 his constant experimentation with wood and sound has resulted in the creation of many new and unique musical instruments. In 1985, after designing and building a pipe organ, he was inspired to come up with a way to make the organ "play by itself." This led to years of intense study of all types of mechanical musical instruments, culminating in the building of two cylinder music boxes completely "from scratch," an accomplishment rarely attempted in the twentieth century.

inline ocarina

Three years later, he created the unique Ocarina Celestina, a hand cranked organ that plays twenty of Charlie's trademarked walnut ocarinas automatically by reading perforated paper rolls similar to those used by a player piano. It is the result of over 1200 hours of work and is the only one of its kind in the world.

Today his work is divided between the making of his family of walnut ocarinas, continuing the development of his new wooden sweet potatoes, providing personal assistance to customers through email and phone, and maintaining his website Hind Ocarina

Above: Inline ocarina line (including Double Ocarina)

sweet potato wood ocarina

Above: Sweet potato Ocarina

ocarina case

Above: Ocarina cases to protect your most valuable items


I have a lovely double ocarina from Charlie Hind that we review in depth in this article about the Double Ocarina

 me playing a Hind Ocarina double ocarina 

Above: me performing a double ocarina manufactured by Hind Ocarina

I'm not lying if I tell aloud this is the favorite and most special of my wind instruments for me. And what a challenge!! The Double Ocarina made by Charlie Hind can perform TWO melodies at the same time.

The Double ocarina  are made from Black Walnut wood  (much lighter weight than clay or ceramic ocarinas of the same size) and have a lustrous oil finish which protects the wood, highlights its ri The tone is pure and mellow.

Wood imparts to the ocarina an amazingly pure and mellow tone quality, and the instrument has the warm and comforting feel that only comes from wood. My ocarinas speak effortlessly and have a nice even tone from the lowest notes to the highest.

Each  double ocarina comes with a fingering chart and complete care instructions. A thick corduroy drawstring bag was also provided so it will be well protected when stored for safe-keeping. He also sells hard cases in his site if you want to protect it properly which I recommend.


Above: Custom made Double Ocarina with engraved logo (you can custom order this to him)

The instrument consists of two separate chambers pitched a 5th apart. Each side can play one full octave using five finger holes, and the two voices can be played individually or simultaneously. When played together, they open up a whole new world of harmony never before experienced by most wind instrument players. The double ocarina is a good choice for anyone who is already accomplished on another woodwind, but beginners should learn one of the single ocarinas first, then step up to the double. The left chamber is in C and the right chamber is in F. It comes with a thick corduroy carrying bag, care instructions, and a music book/fingering chart with many songs written out with both melody and harmony.

Below you can watch a video with my cover of the theme "Jen play his pipes" from THE DARK CRYSTAL original movie score by Trevor Jones featuring myself playing a "DOUBLE OCARINA" made by instrument maker Charlie Hind and Biel Fiol at the cello. I made a lot of research as fan of this movie looking for double flutes, and though I found  many with drones and some notes none was versatile enough to play it till I found Hind's double ocarina. It's one of my most precious instruments, and I have to say it's not the easiest to play but Charlie provides a booklet with the basics, and you can also find in his Hind Ocarina youtube channel several video examples of the sheet music provided in the instruction book so you can be sure you´re fingering and playing it all right.

As it happens when you watch the instrument and you see the great amount of patience and love it requires to be done, equal compromise to learn it... but well below you can see me playing it... it can be done better, for sure, but it's not impossible! And on stage it's always eye-catchy!

Above: Priscilla Hernandez performing Double Ocarina


You can read more about Hind Ocarinas and the other models of ocarina he has available at his site HIND OCARINA.COM

Hello there world! I will be your new website about fantastic cool music instruments. :)

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