My name is Caleb Byerly and my wife Gladys and our kids live in the foothills of North Carolina, a place called Moravian Falls.
My journey with making instruments began in 2008. After spending a year in Israel studying as an apprentice under an amazing artist, I ventured to Southeast Asia and lived among different indigenous tribes as a missionary – spreading the Gospel of Jesus. While working there, I discovered there were all types of wonderful tribal sounds and tribal instruments that I had never heard before. It was in that moment that I realized, "The world needs to hear these sounds!"
I lived with many tribal groups, helping to redeem their ancient instruments of worship. It was a real honor to bless the tribes and learn from them. This was a very hands-on work, hand carving drums with no power tools and whittling flutes with small chisels and planes. Here's a video of what this looked like!
This ministry led Gladys and me to start a non-profit called Evergreen Missions. We co-lead this ministry to help reach the unreached and touch the untouchable with God's redeeming love!
After a few years on this path, my skill set expanded and I was able to begin making drums and horned instruments. Along this instrument building journey, I spent time gathering new information and skills from mentors, tribal leaders, and fellow instrument makers. Throughout this process my goal was to continually hone my craft of making instruments, so I could in turn bless the world with these ancient indigenous sounds.
Since the time I began, many have joined me on this journey. We have a variety people from different nations that are honing their craft of instrument making and restoring these ancient sounds of their own ancestral instruments.
As more joined in this effort, I began to realize that these instruments tell a greater story than just wood and other elements put together. The vibrations carry the DNA of the people that originally made these instruments – they sing the melodies of the nations where they came from.
Almost all of the instruments I make are based on the ancient designs. I've come to the realization that ancient instruments are even more so an invitation to innovate the ancient design to make something that's more adaptable to our current culture. So that's my approach; to make something that's adaptable to our modern modes of music.
And now here we are, more than 10 years down the road on this journey. I'm still discovering new musical instruments and completely fascinated with them. Reviving these instruments has truly been an honor and joy!
Here are a couple of albums I have recorded with some of these instruments that are available to purchase.