The Didjeridoo is the traditional musical instrument of the Aboriginal people of Northern Australia. It is speculated that this instrument may be one of the oldest known to man. According to Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories the instrument has been around since the dawn of time and played a part in the creation of the world. It is accepted by many tribal groups that the Aboriginals have played the Didgeridoo since they first walked the planet. This would date the instrument to be 40,000 – 60,000 years old or more. Some feel that it is a more recent Aboriginal invention pointing out that the earliest archeological evidence of the Didjerdioo are the cave paintings of, what looks like, bamboo didgeridoos that date back no more than 3 or 4 thousand years.
In recent years, modern transportation has allowed the use of the didjeridoo to expand beyond it’s original boundries and it has been adopted by Aboriginal people all across Australia. It’s popularity with non-aboriginal people is growing by leaps and bounds and the use of the didgeridoo has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Today, traditional Australian Didjeridoos are made mostly from the limbs or trunks of eucalyptus trees that have been hollowed out by termites to form a long open ended tube. They are played by buzzing the lips in much the same way that you do for the larger brass instruments like the tuba and a special breathing technique called “circular breathing” is used so that the tone of the instrument may be maintained even while taking a breath. Today you can find Didjeridoos made from many different natural and manmade materials and you will find links above to several types of these instruments.
Anyone can play the didjeridoo for storytelling, imitating nature and honoring the spirit of the land. To learn the didjeridoo one is encouraged to spend time listening to the sounds and the spirit of the bush. It is here that one learns to imitate the sounds of the animals and the natural environment in hope of learning to speak and respect the language of nature. If you listen closely and pay attention to how the didgeridoo responds to you the instrument itself will be your best teacher.
David demonstrating at an Art Festival
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