Next is now, world music as the single most potent force in the culture of fusion ... World music-makers are like shamans, carrying us on magic carpets of riffs and melodies through states of consciousness that spin us out of time to lands not yet invented but glimpsed on the aural horizon ... And so we see that music brings us, in the jumping of our cells, from what is past to what is trying to become the future. lt expresses and fulfills our need to hear the spirit in the dark.
(Jean Houston in Jump Time, Sentient Publ. 2004)
How to Play Didgeridoo
Terra Incognita: golden sands, blue skies, rugged red deserts with the heat haze rising over the hard-packed earth, vast, beautiful, but unforgiving - Australia, the sunburnt country, ancestral home of the Australian Aborigines for over 50,000 years, and birthplace of the didgeridoo.
The didgeridoo is one of the world's oldest musical instruments, originating in Australia tens of thousands of years ago.
Traditionally crafted from eucalyptus wood that's been hollowed out by termites, the didgeridoo represents the Rainbow Serpent, a creature from Aboriginal mythology whose tracks are said to have created the riverbeds.
Legend then tells us that, during the Dreamtime, the Great Spirit Byame created man and woman, telling them to create all other life by singing it into form or sounding it into form with the didgeridoo.
A Rose by Any Other Name.
Didgeridoo, Didgeridu, Didjeridoo, Didjeridou, Didjeridu, Didgereedoo, Didgiridoo, Digereedoo, Digeredoo, Digiridoo, Dijeridu, Dijeridoo, Digerido, Didge, Yidaki, Yirdaki, Ebroo, Bamboo, Dream Pipe, even Bullroarer - a didge by any other name still carries the same unique sound and nuances of musical expression.
No longer crafted solely from native Australian trees, didgeridoos are now also made from materials such as bamboo, Yucca plants, clay, Gourd and plastic tubing (pvc didgeridoo).
The mouthpiece is fitted with bees wax and the didgeridoo is played by blowing and/or singing into the hollow tube. The sound is modulated by use of the tongue and mouth cavity, creating rhythms, animal noises - a whole medley of sounds.
Skilful players use a method of breathing known as 'circular breathing' (using the cheeks as a buffer during inhalation through the nose). Apart from creating a better sound, circular breathing brings the added benefits of reducing the heart rate, balancing the body and lessening the incidence of colds, headaches and the flu.
The Didgeridoo Conquers the Music World
Beginning in about 1983 the didgeridoo has become ever more popular in the music world.
The man probably most responsible for this is Charlie McMahon, whose band 'Gondwanaland' was the first didgeridoo band, and produced the first didgeridoo-based contemporary recordings.
Other musicians/bands followed such as Hilight Tribe, Si, Ganga Giri, Ash Dargan, Kailash, Yomano, Tarshito, Arbre Noir, Ed Drury, Orocol, Didjworks, Axis, Rivertribe, Andy Graham, Stephen Kent, Hollow Log, Sounds of the Outback, Ariel Kalma.
The Didgeridoo and Multiculturalism
The didgeridoo melds effortlessly with instruments and music styles from the world over. Its been recorded on tracks alongside the Maui xaphoon, Mandolin keyboard drums, wooden flutes, the tabla (an Indian percussion instrument) and log drums, to name just a few.
The variety of sounds and timbre that an accomplished player can bring forth from the didgeridoo is staggering. The didgeridoo can provide the bass lines for rock songs, can harmonise in classics, and can be a whole cacophony of sounds all by itself - truly a remarkable instrument!
The didgeridoo - and, by extension, world music - proves that all cultures and countries can work together harmoniously; can find similarities to bridge the differences. Experience multicultural musical expressions from diverse countries, then listen as the sounds flow together in harmony, like a beautiful music mosaic! Listen to the pulse of global harmony!