Natural talent

Suzie Harrison

Listening to his CD, one would think he has had decades of

practice as a seasoned musician. But the fact that his birthday

hasn’t even hit the decade mark makes the level of his musical talent


almost unfathomable.

Nine-year-old Evren Ozan, of Laguna Beach, has been described as a

flute prodigy and has become well known for his talent.

It began simply enough on a family vacation in 1999. On a cross country trip to the Grand Canyon, he was able to buy a souvenir with


his allowance. Evren said that he picked up a wooden Native American

flute and started playing it.

“I didn’t know I knew how to play,” Evren said. “I just started

playing it.”

Since then his musical achievements and the number of venues he

has played include the Getty Museum, the Southwest Museum, pow-wows,

schools, art festivals and community events and fund-raisers. His

music also can be heard on the airwaves through local radio stations


and native radio stations across the country.

“There’s no explanation where, how or why it came to be,” his

mother Faith said.

Evren has a collection of more than 40 flutes and his two favorite

flutes were made by his mentor and teacher Guillermo Martinez -- to

whom he is very close. He’s also been given gifts by flute makers all

over the country.

He has donated his time playing music for many charities. He


recently performed in Laguna Beach at a benefit for fellow local

youth Joey Masella.

“In Native culture you’re mentored strongly by the native

community and you are obliged to share,” Faith said. “He plays for

education programs and charitable and environmental fund-raisers.”

Last year was a significant year for Evren, who was honored at the

Native American Music Awards with a Rising Star honor as the “future

of Native American music.”

Evren also released his first CD, “Images of Winter” with Fifth

Sun providing background on the seven-song disc.

The studio where he recorded the CD was in an orchard in a sleepy

New Hampshire town. Evren used to live in Massachusetts.

Most of the songs were spontaneous and Evren played what came to


“A lot of it is how Evren responds, he has his own ideas and

sounds,” Faith said.

Evren’s favorite song to play from his CD is “Soaring,” which is

also a highly requested song that receives the most radio play.

“It’s lively and fun to play, and the perfect length to perform,”

Evren said.

Evren played the song last Sunday in a performance for the Little

Eagle Scholarship at Knott’s Berry farm.

This weekend he’ll be playing at an event in Marin County with

Martinez, and on Sept. 21 he will play at the Clean Water Now beach

cleanup on Main Beach.

“It’s helping the environment so that’s fun and important to play

locally,” Faith said. “We’re hoping it becomes a tradition so he can

become affiliated with a local environmental group.”

His most cherished performance thus far was when he played during

a Native American honoring of a “code talker.”

“In the Native community it’s the highest honor to receive a Eagle

Feather,” Faith said.

Evren was thrilled to be a part of the ceremony.

“I can’t really describe it -- it was really intense,” Evren said.

Evren has really found his home in Laguna Beach and finds the

community very supportive and friendly.

“I have a lot of friends here, it’s close to the beach,” Evren

said. “The beach is a powerful place.”

In mid-October he’ll play in Joshua Tree at the Didge Festival and

he said he is looking forward to playing at the Laguna Art Museum

Dec. 7.

Evren will be releasing his second CD in November. Information:

* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.