Black Bear Records is an independent recording studio and record label that has been operating in Calgary since 1982. Owner Peter D'Amico, engineer and producer, manages and acts as booking agent for a select group of artists. Peter first started working as a recording engineer with CBC in 1964. He left the studio to pursue a career as a full-time musician, touring Canada with his band for 18 years before settling in Calgary, Alberta and building his own studio.

Questions? For more information on the artists represented, contact studio owner Peter D'Amico at 403 230 0331 or

Black Bear Records offers recording, producing, engineering and mastering services. Consultation by appointment only.

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Picking Sweetgrass

Picking Sweetgrass

In the 2008 Aboriginal People's Choice Awards, Dallas Arcand's CD 'Picking Sweetgrass' won Best Flute CD and Best Instrumental CD. It also received the Award for Best Flute CD from the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in Toronto.

Dallas' love of music expresses itself in many ways. He has a particular fondness for the haunting sound of the Native flute.

"I named this collection based on the image of picking sweetgrass. Sometimes thoughtful and reflective, sometimes anticipating something special. When I was a child I used to pick sweetgrass near my reservation (Kipohtakaw). See if you can hear that in the emotion of this music."

Dallas plays a traditional cedar flute. His use of this instrument ranges from original compositions in the traditional style to playing hip-hop licks.

Dallas has been engaged as an entertainer to play flute for conferences and exhibition events, including:

  • Empowering Indigenous People in Economic Development and Capacity Building Conference
  • Calgary Exhibition & Stampede Grandstand Show
  • Aboriginal People's Choice Awards Pre-show Gala

"Juniper, redwood and cedar are popular woods for making flutes, and river cane was often used because it was easy to work with. Softwoods are most often used because they produce softer tones, which suits the style of indigenous music. It was also easier to carve. My own flute is a cedar one, with 7 holes. I played 3 other flutes on this CD as well because I wanted different tones. Each flute I use is in a different key; for example, the key of A, the key of B, the key of F#, and in the key of E. Each of these keys gives a different variety of sounds and emotions therefore, it creates a different feeling to the music.

"The cedar flute has many gifted makers right across Turtle Island. My A flute, by High Spirit Flutes was my first flute I purchased at Sleeping Buffalo in Banff, AB, 2005. for $275. At the time there was this Sioux older man there, from Morley, Nakota Souix Nation, I can't remember his name, but I remember his face and his story to me. Since then, there have been many things in life and the world that have inspired me to play. Sometimes I play to my own children: Meadow and DJ (ChooCh) at night when I read them a bedtime story, or I just make them a song to dream well."

- Dallas

Scroll down to listen to samples of songs from this CD.

Picking Sweetgrass song titles:

1. Carlos Cancion
2. Mountain Storm
3. Dancing Chapman
4. Campfire Blues
5. Nipiy - Water in Cree
6. Manitou Nipiy

7. My Alberta Meadow
8. Picking Sweetgrass
9. Mamawi Neheyaw (All the People Together)
10. Guslatha's Tale (The Story of the Flute)
11. Guslatha's Sweetgrass (The Story of Sweetgrass)
12. Guslatha's Proposal Song

Executive Producer Dallas Arcand
Produced, engineered, mixed & mastered by Peter D’Amico
Recorded (2007) at Boxer Studios Digital Audio, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
All songs published by For My Lady Music, 2007 SOCAN
Black Bear Records BBR 6025


Carlos Cancion
Mountain Storm
Dancing Chapman
Campfire Blues
Nipiy - Water in Cree
Manitou Nipiy
My Alberta Meadow
Picking Sweetgrass
Mamawi Neheyaw (All the People Together)

There are two different types of Native American flute, the plains flute and the woodlands flute, each with slightly different construction. The Native American flute is the first flute in the world constructed with two air chambers - there is a wall inside the flute between the top (slow) air chamber and the bottom chamber which has the whistle and finger holes. The top chamber also serves as a secondary resonator, which gives the flute its distinctive sound.

The 'traditional' Native flute is constructed using measurements based on the body - the length of the flute is the distance from inside of the elbow to tip of the index finger, the length of the top air chamber is one fist-width, the distance from the whistle to the first hole also a fist-width, the distance between holes one thumb-width, and the distance from the last hole to the end is generally one fist-width.


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