Native American flute player Mary Youngblood was born on June 24, 1958 in Kirkland, Washington. Mary has Aleut and Seminole ancestry. She is one of the first Native women to record this sacred instrument, a role that has traditionally limited to men. Classically trained on several instruments Mary Youngblood has been playing the flute for over two decades.
Youngblood has a lifetime of musicianship behind her, starting with piano lessons at age six and guitar at ten; she is also a renowned classically trained flutist.
As an adult, when Youngblood received her first wooden Native flute she was compelled to pursue this ancient instrument traditionally played only by men. She has been honored with numerous awards and furthers her craft and knowledge of music and her Native traditions through teaching.
Her 5th album Dance with the Wind came out on May 23 2006 on Silver Wave Records. Inspired by the wisdom of nature Mary writes: “The trees have given a voice to me the voice that sings to you now.” Her eclectic musical style evokes feelings of freedom and gratitude for the blessings of life.
“I am simply a vessel between Creator and this sacred instrument the Native American Flute. Listen with an open heart and you will hear the whispers of the Ancient Ones. May their timeless voices soothe your soul.”
The Offering (Silver Wave Records, 1998)
Heart of the World (Silver Wave Records, 1999) Beneath the Raven Moon (Silver Wave Records, 2002)
Feed the Fire (Silver Wave Records, 2004) Dance with the Wind (Silver Wave Records, 2006)
Sacred Place: A Mary Youngblood Collection (Silver Wave Records, 2008)
Boulder (Colorado), USA – Silver Wave Records announced that Mary Youngblood has won her second Grammy Award for Best Native American Music Album. Her latest recording Dance with the Wind was honored with the prestigious award on Sunday February 11 in Los Angeles.
“Mary Youngblood just keeps getting better and her second Grammy winning record is certainly a joy to behold,” said a company press release. “Dance with the Wind features her stellar flute playing, signature song writing, creative arrangements, and unique instrumentation which all combine to make a superb recording. Youngblood has always had the talent to stand out above the crowd, and with this honor she stakes her claim as the number one star of Native American music.
Mary Youngblood’s recording career began with Silver Wave Records in 1998. We first showcased her talent on The Offering a solo flute project that quickly earned her a large base of fans and an award for Flutist of the Year from the Native American Music Awards. Her second release Heart of the World won no fewer than six awards in the year 2000. Youngblood’s first Grammy Award came in 2003 for Beneath the Raven Moon, a collection of finely crafted songs which has become Silver Wave’s best selling recording of the last 3 years. Then came Feed the Fire which received a Grammy nomination in 2005.
The Native American Music category was established by the Recording Academy in 2001. Mary Youngblood is the only artist to win the category two times. Silver Wave is the only label with three winning recordings in the category. The release Sacred Ground by various artists including Joanne Shehandoah, Robert Mirabal, and others won the award in 2006.
On all her records Youngblood performs on a variety of Native American flutes including multi-chamber flutes, which allow two or more notes to be played simultaneously. Each flute is in a different key and hand crafted from various types of wood, giving each one its own unique sound. Youngblood is a contemporary artist who, along with producer Tom Wasinger, frames her original flute melodies in a variety of styles including pop, blues, and classical.
She is also a compelling singer songwriter, penning lyrics to a few of her pieces and delivering them in fine voice. In this way she breaks out of the Native American niche into broader genres such as folk and world music. But she still maintains the essence of a traditional artist. As she said in a recent interview: “Creator has given me this great gift, and I will use that gift to honor Creator and my people… and that’s traditional.”