I have a confession to make. One really beautiful. Some of you know it…. but most of you don’t.

I really love traditional didgeridoo playing and sound.two-worlds-meet

I’ve fallen in love long time ago, but it took me also long time to try it out myself. Why? Because I couldn’t find reason why I would play it and not just enjoy it by listening… also because I saw that European traditional community (started early with oxymorons, eh?) had very firm and strict attitudes regarding trad playing and it somehow doesn’t resemble how I feel about music in general.

So I would like to present my perspective, which is, as usual, from cosmic/abstract/musical point of view. I want to present why trad-like playing is good for the body and good for the soul! 🙂

First let me say that I tried to play trad in the past on several occasions. And none of those times I could connect. Until one day, while I was practicing in Alsace, it was almost like a voice… so strong thought or a message… “go downstairs and ask Greg about trad playing”… Somehow I was missing some frequencies in my sounds, I guess, and I did listen to the voice and I got my first lesson just minutes after. It seems that the time was right for me to connect and I got so much joy from trying it out. I feel the movements of trad playing and density of frequencies is so good for the body. And good for the body means good for the soul

I basically learned from three outer sources.

My first was CD from Milkay Munnungur… Hard Tongue Didgeridoo… Highly recommended!

The second one was from Jeremy Cloake…. Balanda Yidaki Dhukarr… also so very very highly recommended. Full of knowledge, very intelligent approach and exercises. I could talk this one a lot, but I will just say it will train your side of musicality that you never knew existed! My fav exercises are 37 and 41. Especially 41. A MUST!

The third one was ididj channel on Youtube from Guan Lim… really one of a kind kind of thing. So much beauty and coolness there… so many masters… so much inspiration…

I also got a lot of the good feeling why to do it from talks with my dear and close friends, colleagues… which helped me open my mind even further…

All in all my main reasons why I do it would be…

1. I love the sound.

2. I love the feeling of playing. It is like grinding walnuts in your mouth by the sheer pressure and texture of air.

3. It teaches beautiful discipline of body.

4. It gives a kind of frequency very rare to this world. From a world that is so connected to nature, maybe. It is not a common didgeridoo frequency.

5. It is deeply  connected to the “physics” or the “spirit” or the “essence” of the wooden tube as an instrument. You must be able to do some of it to understand what I am talking about.

6. I like where it originates from!

7. For me it is compared to “normal” didgeridoo playing what electric guitar on distortion is to classical guitar. I like that!

8. I find it very good for relaxation and warmup, but also increasing strength  and fluent contraction possibilities.

I can understand why people can find this kind of playing challenging. One of the reasons being that it is so different in many ways to western perception altogether. But the other is that our bodies are quite lazy in terms of didgeridoo playing when we treat them in the way western civilization treats them. You know, working at computers, very little movement, consumerism, bs on the radio, bs on the TV, bs on the internet, junk food etc… My advice would be to get a really good basics of didgeridoo before you dive into it. You know what basics mean, don’t you? My second advice would be: increase the pressure. Of everything. You know what everything means, don’t you? 😉

The best I must confess I have saved for the last. It is a realization I got after going deeper into trad and all the crazy accents that come alive before or in between energy releases, like a dhirrl, but also through and inside those energy releases. And this realization is that trad playing is in many ways very similar, especially in its core, to certain type of avant-garde didgeridoo playing. Which is maybe a most surprising realization of them all as it ties together end of deep past and end of deep future into perfect present circle moment. This also means that there is in fact, in deep depth, no trad playing. And there is no avant-garde playing either. There is only ONE playing.  Timeless playing. And different light reflections of this ONE infinite playing. But a certain kind of an unusual style of this playing, which is the moment where traditional and avant-garde meet, I call AvanTrad. And I enjoy it a lot!

Below you can hear some samples of AvanTrad didgeridoo playing and you are welcome to leave a comment if it is with good intentions. If it is not, just wait a little bit more in *perfect* silence and then write 😉
Note that the sample is done on unusually long and deep didgeridoos for trad playing. The first part is played with 198cm C# made of ironbark, the second 171cm long D# also in ironbark and the third bit is played on 172cm D# made of orkor, still unfinished instrument.

13 comments… add one
  • tchen May 17, 2014, 10:05

    Dear Dubravko,

    I quiet feel the same way towards trad playing . What you say about hearing (feeling) frequencies, is very true. The way aboriginal songs are built seems to me in direct line with my body and soul ’cause i’have no way to categorize, concptualize…it’s an open space where my all body is listenning. Thank you very much for sharing.

    • Du May 18, 2014, 22:46


      What a great thing you mentioned! I was contemplating on the same. For a long time now. “no way to categorize, conceptualize…” -this is the meditation, the life of the animal in the forest which is in a way the whole forest itself. And I feel when we listen it is more or less universal… in the sense that most of us will not have a problem with understanding a vibration from each other like we don’t have a problem understanding smiles. But not conceptually. We don’t need to know the thought behind the smile. And much in the same way we all have bit different smiles, and our vibrations are unique in that way also…
      I hope I didn’t go too far with trying to explain the unexplainable.;-)


  • Yeho Alexander May 17, 2014, 17:20

    irie dubravko my superfriend…i dont know why but your written words provoces 3 tears in my 2 eyes…at the end i listend to the sample and, for sure, it was you…like tchen before has written “The way aboriginal songs are built seems to me in direct line with my body” the samples are clear mirror or tube of your body…differnt to the “du-style” but original, authentic and clear…dubravko is not just stinkyroom, remembering hours with you in my kitchen, i really was waiting of something “other or more” than the usual known style…there is no end of spectrum in cosmos and the rootical playing (it just seems to be easy) is a cosmical deepest earth connecting…ONE LOVE

    • Du May 18, 2014, 22:53


      It is always a good idea to save a tear for the third eye!
      Yes. It is good to keep reminding ourselves that vibration is in no kind of frame. And frame is habitually put by the mind to everything. Hard didgeridoo playing is like running in the dark. Feeling the body, but seeing no legs, no ground. Moving on trust to the Universe 😉 And it is true what you say, trad and avantrad just seem to be easy playings. They involve a lot of the body at high pressure and consequently a lot of the instrument. In the frequencies that are not usually heard.
      Enjoy running in the dark with a tear in the both corners of the round third eye!



  • vertex May 18, 2014, 16:53

    might just be me but it feels like you’re trying too hard on avantrad. __\\//

    • Du May 18, 2014, 22:38

      Hello Vertex!
      Avantrad IS about trying hard. And then even harder. Because it is about extracting most deep brutal dense vibration human body has ever produced. So you got a very good point there! Thank you!

  • Marko May 19, 2014, 09:35

    Hej haj ho!

    Sounds strong and grind-y indeed! Veselim se Avantradu u budućim pjesmama, koncertima, radionicama, esejima…!

    Hvala !

  • Kyle Maplesden May 20, 2014, 11:10

    Good to hear of your journeys with Trad, Du! The traditional ‘soundscape’ captured me many years ago and I’ve never become disinterested with the sonic range of Traditional playing technique.

    I’d like to hear you try it on a higher pitched stick to really hear the interference patterns come to life.


  • Kurungai May 30, 2014, 09:15

    New way, new destiny, new understanding… no more word… just thanks to share what you understand…

  • CC December 10, 2014, 16:43

    Cool point of view and nice article. İt happened the same to me in İtaly last year during a workshop we gave together with Marcos Andreu (a.k.a Sr.Markusen) wich dedicated a full day just to his exposition about traditional didgerdoo with his own recorded videos and audios . İt was mind blowing !! and the fact is that there i understood for first time a lot of things about it. His Avantrad style is nowadays my favourite in the world and in addition there it was a funny thing: İ was teaching harmony in the didgeridoo while playing using the voice , the basics that i discovered my self with the didge applying what i knew from music, explaining consonant intervals ,disonant intervals and so on. Now cames the funny thing,in his huge exposition he explained all the range of different didgeridoo playing mago & yidaky, and the same things i was teaching without knowing that aborigens do from thousands of years before!! so cool . His conference was really nice and explained us lot of things even the fact that you can diferenciate the tribe whos playing depending on the intervals they are using and the progression! amazing , so much to discover.

  • Ansgar December 10, 2014, 18:51

    Hey, Du, thanks for this article!
    Good to hear you have a connection to trad playing as well!
    I still remember when I was captured by that sound in 1992 …

    I love the way you can put your heart and your mind into words. (And I love your creativity in coining new words :-))

    Since you seem to have a different perspective on some aspects of it than I do, I’m looking forward to exchange thoughts with you next time! Food for thought!

    All the best on your way and cheers, Ansgar


Leave a Comment