The Didgeridoo in the Aboriginal Legend (Australia)
The didgeridoo is one of the oldest musical instruments with origins in Northern Australia tens of thousands of years ago. It represents the Rainbow Serpent in ceremonies. Legend has it that the Rainbow Serpent created riverbeds and landscapes by sliding across the earth.
Sounding animals into form
In the Dreamtime the Great Spirit Byame created man and woman, and told them to create all the animals and birds by either singing them into form or sounding them into form by playing the didgeridoo. No wonder it sounds like a whole jungle!
Women and didgeridoo in the traditional Aboriginal society
In traditional Aboriginal society, women were forbidden from playing the instrument because it was used during initiation ceremonies. Also legend has it that if a woman plays the didjeridoo, she is likely to give birth to twins, which would be an extra mouth to feed, not wanted in difficult times.
Young boys learning the didgeridoo:
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The many names of the 'didge'
Didjeridu, Didgeridoo, Yidaki, Yirdaki, Ebroo, Bamboo, Dream Pipe, Didgeridu, Didjeridoo, Didjeridou, Didgereedoo, Didgiridoo, Digereedoo, Digeredoo, Digiridoo, Dijeridu, Dijeridoo, Digerido, Didge, even Bullroarer! (and maybe some are simply typos :-)
Traditionally it is crafted from eucalyptus hollowed out by termites who bore their way to the heartwood at the centre of the tree. During the last decades modern didges have been manufactured from uniquely native Australian trees to bamboo, Yucca plants, clay, Gourd, plastic tubing, etc.
How to play the 'didge'
The didge player uses the lips as the reed and blows into the mouthpiece (opening fitted with bees wax), creating a basicdrone. Using the tongue, mouth cavity, and singing into the didge, the player modulates the sounds into rhythms, animal calls, and many other variations.
A skilful player uses what is called circular breathing - using the cheeks as a buffer during inhalation through the nose - to blow continuously. This type of breathing reduces the heart rate, balances the body and lessens the incidence of colds, headache and flu. Playing the didge is easy, fun, and has positive health benefits!
The 'didge' conquers the music world
This instrument has found a place of choice amongst a growing number of enthusiastic amateurs and professional players around the world. With broadband internet facilitating downloads, eclectic music magazines and touring Australian bands of recent years, didgeridoo has become increasingly popular. It is featured in many CD's, soundtracks, workshops and festivals.
So don't wait any longer! Check online to find out about upcoming didge-featuring gigs in your hometown, or download some exciting didgeridoo music. If you're lucky you might find some didgeridoo lessons in your city! Give it a try and keep in touch with us here for updates and suggestions.