Johnny White’s Artist Statement, SoundCircle7 & Music

johnny white playing flute concertWhen I first put a C concert flute to my lips at the age of thirteen, I never imagined that far into my future I would be creating breath-based instruments of my own design. More than musical instruments, my individually created clay SoundCircle7 flutes are functional, 3-dimensional, art pieces. The red colored earth and bright friendly designs practically beg children and seasoned musicians alike to be held and played. Each is a sound vessel. A vessel held in the hands, hands and vessel together containing, re-forming, transporting, and re-interpreting human breath.

In 2001 when I was working in an art studio for developmentally disabled students a guest teacher from South American taught a workshop on making ocarinas. Since then I have tested and tried various sizes and styles of flutes, and different types of clays, learning from artist friends, but more often through trial and error. My most recent and exiting design - the OM flute - is inspired by my daily yoga practice. The OM flutes feature the universal symbol of OM, are all 4-6 inches in diameter, and play deep, calming meditative tones.

After years of playing solos and concerts in major area museums and art venues (all featuring or including my SoundCircle7 flutes), something moving and near-miraculous happened with a special needs client. He experienced a physical awakening, I had never seen. We were at a friend’s Dojo practicing a combined form of movement and sound. The transformation was amazing. We went back again and again.

Since that time I have experimented more and more with the combination of movement and sound, and flute playing combined with meditation and chanting. This has evolved into a new fusion of yoga and martial art derived poses combined with voicing. A second component involves group chanting, breathing, and flute playing. With the help of my longtime friend co-creator Leslie Killian and well known martial arts and yoga instructor Master Shahram, we have created SoundCircle7moves.