Hawk Henries’ Biography

Hawk and his Dad, Little Crow

Hawk’s Nipmuc lineage helped give form and voice to his thoughts, feelings and relationship to the world around him. Ceremony and other social traditions influenced both his personal relationships as well as his life work.

After being discharged from the Navy, while employed in a manufacturing job, Hawk began volunteer work with children diagnosed with autism and pervasive developmental disabilities. The latter felt natural to him and after a year of volunteering he was offered a full time job. He stayed in this field of work as a substance abuse counselor and supervisor in a residential program for adolescents for the next 17 years which included a move with his young family to Maine.

Writing and painting were some of the creative expressions that Hawk engaged in but soon after moving to Maine the urge to make music struck him. After years of listening to Native flute he decided this would be the instrument to try. His family gifted a flute to him which began his exploration into the world of music and making flutes. The door to exploring other musical traditions from various places in the world was now open. Yidaki (didgeridoo), Kora, Mbira and Harp are just a few of the instruments that he also loves to play.

In an attempt to improve the sound of the flute given to him he succeeded in ruining it. Knowing another would not be given, repairing the flute was what he had to do. For months his time was consumed trying to make it work again. Six months later he had a working flute. Having the fundamental knowledge of how this type of flute works led to building a new flutes…

After continued work in the mental health field while at the same time playing at various schools, museums, powwows, and art shows, he felt pulled to engage this musical part of him full time.

In 1993 Hawk resigned from work in the mental health field so he could devote his full attention to building and playing flute and using music as a means to discuss how we could bring more health and peace to our world.

In 1995 a compilation of flute music was released: “Tribal Winds “ on the Earthbeat label, included was music from Hawk’s 1993 release First Flight. The following years saw invitations for Hawk’s music from his two CD’s Keeping the Fire and Voices, to be used in many documentary videos some of which won or were nominated for Emmy awards..

Hawk’s musical compositions are a reflection of his thinking that we each have the capacity to make a change in the world. His songs embody this thinking and during his presentations he preferences each song with an explanation of its meaning and invites the audience, when appropriate, to share their thoughts and ideas. This approach to performance has led to many invitations both as a musician as well as a speaker. Over the years Hawk has been invited to present his music and share his words in places such as Harvard Divinity School, North Eastern University, Harvard Graduation, Brown University, Abbe Museum, National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Museum). Many churches and religious organizations have invited him to present at conferences and other events.

Through the years Hawk has also been a return invitee to many venues such as:

  • Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow — 19 years
  • New Orleans Jazz Festival — 3 years
  • Northfield Conference — 7 years
  • New Years by the Bay — 16 years
  • First Night Boston — 2 years
  • Camp Chrysalis for Children and Families effected by A.I.D.S — 5 years…

As one of a relatively small number of Native flute makers who continue in the tradition of using only hand tools and fire, Hawk’s work embodies his commitment to the revitalization and preservation of these skills. His flutes are now part of museum collections and have been a part of an exhibit which traveled the country.

He recently applied for and was awarded a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts to share his flute making skills in Native communities in New England with one of the long term goals being to find someone who he could share these skills with ~an apprentice.

.In 2006 Hawk was invited to participate in the commemoration of John Smith and the founding of Jamestown Virginia. There were a contingent of representatives from England also participating. After listening to Hawk’s music as well as his spoken passion for using the knowledge from shared past experience to make a healthier world for our children he was invited to England the following year.

In England during their commemoration of John Smith Hawk visited with many schools, participated in historically important assemblies of political dignitaries. He also had been commissioned by one of England’s premier orchestras, the London Mozart Players, to create a piece of music with which they would play in concert together.

Inspired by this experience which had a profound impact musically and personally, Hawk has a deep interest in classical music and is exploring the potential for bringing together these two seemingly different styles of creative expression in one musical form–Concerto for Native flute and orchestra.

Music has the potential of making a bridge across the divides of humanity that are often labeled culture, religion, ideology… ~ Hawk

To contact Hawk ~ hawkhenries@hotmail.com~ (207) 460-2203

 or visit Hawk on Facebook