Anchorage Daily News Article
Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel recently came to Anchorage for business and a concert. I was able to work with Nancy once again on the fine art of tuning and it was great fun listening to her play our ocarinas in concert!
SEATTLE'S TINGSTAD AND RUMBEL BRING HOME THE GOLD
It's a New Age for Grammy Winners Tingstad and Rumbel
(Seattle, WA - February 24) Contemporary instrumentalists, Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel won the GRAMMY Award in the New Age category in recognition of "Acoustic Garden" during the 45th GRAMMY Awards in Madison Square Garden. This GRAMMY signifies and rewards an eighteen-year career and 13 collaborative recordings for Tingstad and Rumbel.
Released in August, Acoustic Garden remained on the Billboard charts as well as the NAV radio charts for 18 weeks. In January, the album bounced from the #50 slot up to #19 on radio charts. The Chicago Tribune calls Acoustic Garden "a new kind of roots music." The Blade reports the album is "a melodic bouquet," and Salt Lake City's Deseret News says, "Acoustic Garden is joyfully abloom." The album can indeed literally blossom. The CD cover contains the first-ever plantable CD cover imbedded with wildflower seeds for an instant garden.
Since the release of their debut album in 1985, Tingstad and Rumbel have been a top-selling duo for Narada Productions with classics such as The Gift, Woodlands, In the Garden and American Acoustic, which won Best Instrumental Album of the Year in 1998 from NAV.
Tingstad is a classical guitarist trained by third generation Segovian masters. He is a native of Seattle and studied at Western Washington University. As one of the few premier woodwind players in the world performing on English horn and oboe, Rumbel studied with members of the San Antonio Symphony while growing up in Texas. She later studied with Ray Still of the Chicago Symphony while attending Northwestern University. She later toured for nearly five years with the legendary Paul Winter Consort.
Acoustic Garden was one of five albums selected from 83 titles in the New Age category. Other nominees include Kitaro, Will Ackerman, R. Carlos Nakai and Jai Uttal & the Pagan Love Orchestra. For more information about Tingstad and Rumbel, their 18 year career, touring schedule and total discography visit www.tingstadrumbel.com.
Aldon Sanders and Ka Ehu Kai
"Aldon (a.k.a. "Michael Aldon Sanders) was born in the mountains of Fairmont, West Virginia, to a Korean cutie of a mom, and a burly West Virginia reverend of good breeding. By two years of age Aldon was living in Terrel, Oklahoma, a small bilingual (English/Spanish) farming town on the Red River, with his parents, 1 older sister, 3 older brothers and 1 younger brother. Within a few years, Aldon ended up in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, where he went to Ewa Beach Elementary, Ilima Intermediate, and James Campbell High School (grad. '83) . He began playing music in the seventh grade as a baritone horn player, and soon began to learn to play every kind of musical instrument he could get his hands on. (The obsession has continued to this day.) Aldon went to college at Oklahoma Baptist University. While there he met his wife, Kaye, in the university's symphonic band: she in the flute section, he among the saxes. During his college years, Aldon played saxophone and flute as a member of the United States Army Reserve. Today, in addition to staying busy with Ka Ehu Kai, he teaches ukulele & guitar, tutors English at San Jose State University, composes music, writes songs, and continues to learn to play as many instruments as come his way."
Check Out Aldon's Solo CD on MP3.COM
Aldon plays an Alan Albright double ocarina on "Ohana" and plays our ocarina on his solo recording of "Fairer". This can be heard at www.nowhereradio.com/onemanband.
Cornell Kinderknecht has recorded a wonderful cd entitled "Returning Home" using many fabulous handmade flutes, recorders and includes a piece using our double alto ocarina. Check out track #4 Generations!
Newspaper Article About Our Business
Christi C. Babbitt - Springville Herald | Posted: Thursday, April 1, 2010
Cynthia Smith and her husband Tom couldn't imagine a world without double ocarinas. So when their search to purchase one failed, they began making their own.
Now the Springville residents sell the unique wooden instruments to clients in countries including South Korea, Japan, Italy and Ireland and are only aware of one other person in the world constructing similar instruments.
"It is the love of the instrument that keeps us going," Cynthia Smith said.
Unlike more common single ocarinas, double ocarinas have two air chambers allowing them to play two notes at once, a melody line and a harmony line. The Smiths make them in three different sizes: soprano, alto and tenor.
Each of their traditional double ocarinas is carefully tuned to ensure it can play in ensembles with other instruments. They range in price from $165 to $210.
For customers desiring a lower priced option, the Smiths offer their folk double ocarinas. These instruments are less precise in their pitch relative to other instruments but their two sides are tuned to each other and work well for solo playing. They range from $105 to $135.
The Smiths' ocarina journey began when they were living in Alaska. A woman named Nancy Rumbel, who plays several woodwind instruments including the ocarina, performed a concert in their town.
Cynthia grew up playing the clarinet and was intrigued by the small instrument and thought it would be nice to take along on her frequent camping with trips with her husband, a bear biologist. She specifically wanted a double ocarina and contacted Rumbel, inquiring where she could obtain one.
Rumbel put Cynthia in touch with Alan Albright in France, who was known for his wooden double ocarinas, but he was no longer making them. Cynthia began collecting ocarinas from around the world, "but none of them were the quality that I wanted," she said.
One Christmas, Tom Smith blindfolded his wife and took her to a workbench in their garage where he surprised her with three original Albright ocarinas that he had borrowed through a friend.
They sat down together and began trying to replicate their own.
Their first one actually worked. "It was so exciting. We really didn't think that the first try would be so successful," Cynthia said.
They began refining their design, obtaining Albright's blessing along the way to copy his original work. After a year of trials came the biggest boon of all: Albright and Rumbel volunteered to spend a week with the couple teaching them how to make the ocarinas.
"(Rumbel) had a vested interest and she wanted us to be successful because she wanted to play our ocarinas," Cynthia said.
The double ocarinas remain a side business for the Smiths, who moved to Springville three years ago when Tom took a job at Brigham Young University. A neighbor and woodworker in Alaska named John Hartvigsen had been helping them with the instruments before they moved and he continues to make them and ship them to Utah where Cynthia carefully tunes each one.
"We are still modifying today each time he (Hartvigsen) does a run," Cynthia said, to continue to perfect the instruments.
Tuning is done through adjusting the size of the holes in the ocarinas. Cynthia's dining room table becomes her work area for this precise work, which can take from a half hour to two hours per instrument.
Cynthia said the Smiths sell a few dozen of the instruments each year and she usually has a waiting list. "We want to see this instrument alive more than we want to make money," she said, but added there may come a time when they decide to grow the business into a full-time endeavor.
For more information, visit www.doubleocarina.com or contact the Smiths at email@example.com.