3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD, 21224
Journey back in time through the Ocarina, a type of clay flute produced across Central and South America for thousands of years. The unique sounds and imaginative shapes of these instruments awakens memories of our common ancestry, recalling the songs of the birds and animals that inhabit our most sacred natural landscapes.
Ancient peoples of all times and latitudes have used an elaborate weave of myth, art, and music to communicate their world visions. In the Americas, we can connect with this heritage through a rich tradition of musical instruments whose forms, scales, and sounds give us a glimpse into the extraordinary cultures that created them.
Learn about different instruments of the Americas, and explore the history and uses of the Ocarina, or Globular Flute. Gain a basic understanding of the acoustic system of the instrument and construct your own working Ocarina.
Expand upon the knowledge gained in Session 1 to create a zoomorphic Ocarina with traditional iconography. Create your own reproduction of an historic Ocarina inspired by the form of an Indigenous bird or animal of the Americas. This activity can be adapted to different age groups and does not require prior experience with clay, instruments, or music.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR | Melissa Foss is a musician, instrument-maker, and composer hailing from Maryland and Vermont. She received her BA in Art History from James Madison University in Virginia. For the last decade she has been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she completed her Master’s degree in Musical Creation, New Technologies, and Traditional Arts at the National University of Argentina. There, she taught in the Bachelor's program in Indigenous, Popular, and Classical Music of the Americas, and was a soloist with the university’s Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies, performing in Argentina and touring abroad in Europe and Central America. Her composition “Hanblecheyapi,” which was composed using a collection of her own instruments from the three Americas, was one of the International Rostrum of Composers’ twelve recommended works in 2018 and has been broadcast by the BBC and other radio programs in Finland, Portugal, and Austria.