The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Buy Local column [The Honolulu Star-Advertiser :: ]
(Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 04--The ocarinas sold by Cary Young's Maui-based Forbidden Island Flutes are cute, but they are not toys like many of those inspired by the video game "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time."
"That's really what made it crazy," Young said. "I really should have a Zelda ocarina."
Well, except for the whole trademark infringement thing.
Young chimed in with a chuckle that people can play all the "Zelda" songs on his ocarinas.
He owned and operated a music store in Kihei for about 10 years, "plus, I'm a musician as well. I play guitar and all types of instruments," he said.
He said he named his company Forbidden Island Flutes because "I've always had a fascination with Niihau," which is nicknamed the Forbidden Island.
"Even though the product is not related to Niihau, it's a fun and interesting and catchy name," Young said. More people also understand the word "flute" than "ocarina," which is an ancient vessel-type flute.
Just about any ancient culture that had clay made instruments similar to the ocarina, whether in Asia, Europe, South America or Central America, he explained.
It is important to Young that his ocarinas can be played "perfectly in tune."
"That's something I emphasize more than anything else, is tonality," he said.
Many ocarinas on the market are more decorative than they are musical instruments.
"They'll make a sound but you can't actually play them," Young said.
The ocarinas at his shop are tuned to specific keys, such as the B-flat ocarinas that can play a full octave or the alto-C or alto-G models that have extended range because they have additional holes, he said.
The alto-G is the deepest and "sounds a lot like a Native American flute," he said. The larger the instrument, the deeper the tone.
His most popular design is the honu, or sea turtle, and he sells 10 of those to any one of the others, which include a frog, hammerhead shark, humpback whale, owl, spotted box fish, humuhumunukunukuapuaa, clown fish and dolphin, as well as a tiki.
The ocarina in the shape of a sea turtle "doesn't compete with anything else on the market," Young said.
He designs his ceramic ocarinas on Maui, and they are manufactured overseas "because I really want to have them in different stores and to be able to do volume (business) and keep the consistency and the quality" of the instruments, he said.
Even though the ocarinas are manufactured offshore, they qualify under the law regulating Made in Hawaii products, said Young, a three-year veteran of the Made in Hawaii Festival and a vendor at this year's upcoming event, Aug. 15-17 at Neal Blaisdell Center.
"It's my best event of the year," he said.
He sells the ocarinas at three regular weekly events, through a smattering of small, independently owned retail stores on Maui and in a new development at the Maui Ocean Center's gift shop.
Young also offers free shipping on ocarinas purchased through his website, which features a downloadable major scale, a songbook and additional music, as well as an Ocarina Club.
Forbidden Island Flutes ocarinas range from $20 to $65 depending on their size, and generally adults prefer the larger sizes "because they better fit their hands," Young said.
Even with the smaller ones, though, his tag line is "the little flute that plays a thousand songs."
FORBIDDEN ISLAND FLUTES
WHERE TO BUY
>> Tuna Luna, Kihei
>> Da Beach House, Lahaina
>> Maui Ocean Center, Wailuku
>> Mondays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Westin Maui Resort & Spa
2365 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina
>> Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas
6 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina
>> Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Maui swap meet
138-150 S. Puunene Ave., Kahului
"You are my sushine"
"Somewhere over the rainbow"
"Bicycle Built for Two"
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