Images C/O Getty Images
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Wintertime in Fremantle and it is time to hit that good ol’ road north to add a few degrees to the mercury.

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Benni & Ellswood were honoured to be invited this year to teach didgeridoo up in Yamatji country in mid-west WA as a precursor to NAIDOC Week. For those outside of Australia wishing to learn more, NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines & Islanders Day Observance Committee and the week is a celebration of First Australian history & culture across the continent and it’s surrounding islands. With the world’s oldest continuing culture being found here – there is plenty to celebrate and honour!

naidoc logo

Discover more about NAIDOC here: http://www.naidoc.org.au

Rangeway Primary School in Geraldton boasts an Aboriginal student population of around 85% and the school’s music coordinator George Scicluna is a man of large plans and strong community development. One of his current quests is to empower his students by bringing the didgeridoo into the school curriculum as part of the music program known as ‘Indidgenius’. George called upon the experience of Didgeridoo Breath’s teachers to add a new level of involvement to the schools already exciting music department. With the support of the Bundiyarra Aborginal Corporation & sponsorship from Rio Tinto and Ian Blayney (Lib. Member for Gerladton) we were also able to provide several beautifully natural didgeridoos to the school that will hopefully bring joy to generations of upcoming students.

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As fun as it to work here at Didgeridoo Breath central, Benni & Elz were pumped about a journey, and the ute was packed superfast with around 40 different didgeridoos in anticipation of the circles to be held. Also needed were a few sets of clapsticks, some termite tunnel grit, and some sweet droning road music (and thankfully a spare tire – as we accidentally ran over an echidna on the drive back home and got some karmically spiked).

George was incredibly hospitable, putting us up at his own home (which was decked out and stood overlooking Gerladton’s mighty sand dunes!) which was fantastic because we had plenty of teaching to do. Every male (respecting local Aboriginal law) student from year 4 upwards was invited, in back to back groups to become familiar with the didgeridoo and sit with us in a sheltered circle while we spun a few yarns, practiced some new techniques, learnt how to circular breathe and have a few laughs to boot. A standout group of the older students who had been learning didgeridoo for some time prior had already mastered the breathing and many rhythms. These ‘Didgeridoo Boys’ sat proudly around the circle, assisted Benni & Elz with the students and were clearly looked upon highly by the younger mob. It was a true inspiration to see and to be able to take things further with them.

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The Indidgenius program is designed to create a sort of “didge choir” where all members of the group can play in matching keys and perform for the school & around the community with confidence. They had composed their own rhythms already and are doing great! We wish all the mob there at Rangeway Primary School the very best with their music program and hope to come see how you are doing again soon.

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A special place and moment for us was time spent at Bundiyarra, which literally means “a good place” in Wajarri (a local language).  http://bundiyarra.com.au/index.php?page=home

We were invited to Bundiyarra and took a good walk over the land there, crossing paths where ancient songlines converged to reveal timeless natural spring-waterholes. We held a didge circle for a local footy team, and the log wood burned all day long. Local elders came to take part in the meet up and there was plenty of good tucker put on by the beautiful women.  We were impressed by the health and the endeavours of the Bundiyarra mob and their diligent work towards maintaining language, plant medicine, bush tucker, and culture – and for holding a space where local Aboriginal people can feel safe and enhance their community.

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Overall we felt blessed to be invited and had a real blast! If you are ever up in the Midwest coastal region of Western Australia, we recommend you spend an afternoon at Bundiyarra and dig your toes into the sand there…. You may even hear the sounds of the didgeridoo echoing over the sand and stones as the mob there continue to grow stronger and stronger once more.

Stay in touch with our next blog when we describe how to make didgeridoos out of agave flower spikes, which are growing like naturalized wildfire all over Geraldton, and would be a perfect sustainable community project for local didge makers.

See you next time Gerro ;)

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Warm Vibrations

Benni, of the Didgeridoo Breath Mob

6geraldton, western australia, naidoc, didgeridoo,

Didgeridoo Accompaniment

Got a spare hand or two left, mate?

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Whether in a group or as a solo player the didgeridoo can be accompanied well by many other instruments.
In its traditional context the yidaki would always be played along with the bilma (tapping sticks) – in fact, the two were inseparable! A ceremony may include many bilma players, many singers, and a yidaki player to create a haunting and powerful sound to match the dancing.
In a contemporary context we can find many people experimenting with new accompanying sounds that add whole new dimensions to the journey experience. Percussive, melodic, or even added layers of drone can be used to full effect.

Sometimes the simple things are the best, and less distractive for a didgeridoo player who has created a one-man band.
Here are some common percussion instruments to experiment with as a solo player:

: Egg Shakers http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Egg-Shakers-Percussion-Instruments-p/egg-shaker.htm

These tiny, strong, and potentially LOUD little puppies are an easy must for almost every didgeridoo playing scenario. Shake a matching rhythm in your hand, palm mute it, tap it across your didgeridoo whilst playing, and finish it all off with a good rattle. They fit easily into any bag with your didgeridoo or just your pocket if you haven’t got a bag yet! Our egg shakers are practically indestructible and sound great. Available in a variety of colours & also in wood. Using one on stage will require no amplification as they just project so well.

: Stompbox http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Stomp-Boxes-s/133.htm

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Australia. The land of the doof. Sure, you can busk in the streets with your didgeridoo and tickle the fancies of the sonically curious as they wander by – or you can kick it royally with your our mini powerhouse heartbeat, THE STOMPBOX! A mainstay for any Aussie venue performance whether you are a didge player or not. Guitarists love ‘em, we love ‘em, and we are proud to stock the very best there is. Plug it into an amp or PA system and bring your foot down to create a powerful stomp tone that replaces the need for a kick drum or bass beat. They couldn’t be easier or more comfortable to use. Crucial for maintaining energy of larger crowds.

: Tapping Sticks http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Aboriginal-Tapping-Sticks-s/106.htm

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Known by many different tribal names across this continent, the Tapping Sticks are as Aussie as kangaroo pie, and no didge meal is complete without them. They come in a pair, and of various shapes and finishes. You can keep one in your lap and tap the other against it – or tap it along your didgeridoo if you wish. Not only do they create the atmosphere of an authentic bush sound, but they also provide an opportunity for new polyrhythms in combination with your didge play. In ceremony they were THE most important instrument of all, with all people following the lead of the bilma player(s). Boomerangs could also be used in their stead. We have many styles available, with new woods and artists coming in all the time. Feel free to contact us with your requests.

Beyond the scope of solo didgeridoo accompaniment there are heaps of possible instrument combinations to experiment with. Remember that when including a melodic instrument into the mix that the didgeridoo is of course a drone instrument and has basically one note that needs matching or harmonizing with. Here is a list of some possible candidates to become inspired by that Didgeridoo Breath currently provides for:

: HAPI Drums http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/buy-happy-hapi-drums-ufo-online-s/258.htm 
These amazingly beautiful instruments are available in various pentatonic scales and are simple to play. They each have plugs for contact microphones for larger performances and are real life dream machines.

: Native American-style Flutes http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/native-american-style-flutes-s/274.htm

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Flute & didgeridoo is a winning combination that we rate very highly. A good recipe for astral travel may be brewed by taking one pound of high-quality didgeridoo drone and simply adding a light pinch of soaring flute as a melody on top. The didgeridoo can create the timeless sound of the land & space whilst the flute notes can provide the subject. The drone flute model is particularly magickal. See what happens when two ancient cultures meet with music!

: Jaw Harps http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Jew-Harp-Buy-Online-Worldwide-Shipping-p/jewharp-839.htm

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Another ancient droning instrument which is controlled tonally in a similar way to didgeridoo. So many styles exist in the world and we love them all.

: Harmonicas http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/buy-harmonica-s/237.htm

boomerang harmonica

If you are hoping to create the sound of ‘waiting for a train in the outback’ – why not try the combination of didgeridoo and blues harmonica. A bushman’s delight!

On a final note we would just like to add three words:

PERCUSSION PERCUSSION PERCUSSION!!

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Unlimited world percussion will always have a happy home alongside your didgeridoo performance. From djembe to dunduns, from gongs to maraccas, from udus to log drums – the sky is the limit!
Didgeridoo players of Earth we encourage you to expand your sounds and experiment with your skills. Let us know if we can be of any assistance along the way or if you feel you have made a special sonic discovery of your own, why not share it with the community so that we may nod & dance.

From Didgeridoo Breath with love, we wish you all well.
Thanks for all the support over the years.

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nativeamericannews:

Native American Symbolism of the Eagle Feather http://bit.ly/1rkEKVW

Source: bit.ly

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Didgeridoo Accompaniment - Didgeridoo Breath Blog f

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Great way to add some extra power to your music! Big Foot Stompboxes!

http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Stomp-Boxes-s/133.htm

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North East Arnhem Land Totem Carvings (Northern Territory, Australia)
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North East Arnhem Land Totem Carvings (Northern Territory, Australia)
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North East Arnhem Land Totem Carvings (Northern Territory, Australia)

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Didgeridoo Breath in Fremantle Western Australia

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DB crew out at the oldest pub in Western Australian. The historic smugglers cellar (where this photo was taken) has hand sawn beams with hand made nails dating back to 1837 (That’s nearly as far back as it goes for colonial W.A.). The Pub was famous for its tunnel (now collapsed & closed) that ran underground for hundreds of meters to the swan river so the grog smugglers could get their goods up & down to the river with out detection”. You beauty!

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photo credit: Matt Reed
Didgeridoo Breath @ South Beach Fremantle

Source: danzantesdelsol

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