Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Kazoos on Steroids

The college where I work is having a week long Arts & Cultural festival with all sorts of workshops and speakers.

As a part of that, this morning I attended a Didgeridoo Workshop. It was great fun.

According to Wikipedia, "The didgeridoo (or didjeridu) is a wind instrument of the Indigenous Australians of northern Australia. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or "drone pipe". Musicologists classify it as an aerophone."

While the natural eucalyptus tree Didges are beautiful, with a little work you can get a fairly decent tone out of any sufficiently long tube. For the purpose of this class they had us working with 45" Schedule 40 PVC pipe.

The guy who led the workshop, Dr. Ernest Tutt, has been playing the didgeridoo for nearly a decade. He attended the 2003 Garma Festival of Aboriginal Culture in Gulkunla, NT Australia, where he participated in classes taught by digeridoo masters. He's a remarkable guy and was very patient with us newbies.

I was quite pleased by the sound I was able to produce from my instrument, but I could not sustain it. I just don't have the whole circular breathing thing down. Still, I'm glad I gave it a shot. I don't know that I'll be pulling my PVC pipe out again any time soon for a good blow, but it felt good to explore and experiment some.

Tomorrow there will be Native Drumming, a group from the Nixyaawii Community School will be on campus so I'm very much looking forward to that. Then we'll have an educational pow wow in the evening with Fry bread and salmon dinner. There's a songwriting workshop, poetry readings, Latin & Polynesian dance demonstrations, and a whole host of speakers on a wide variety of topics.

It's a little bit frustrating because there is still work to get done and deadlines to meet, but I'm fitting in as many sessions as I can. This is definitely one of the better perks of working for a college (along with the free tuition). I get opportunities to participate in some great stuff.

1 comment:

papa herman said...

come on by, show me your didg skills; dont worry i do not have that circular breathing thing down either.

i have a friend who made didgeridoos out of pvc and he tweaked them, they were full on modern-primative looking.

i am glad you are able to take in some of the happenings at the festival.


http://papaherman.wordpress.com/

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