Magic of female didgeridoo players

Today I had a revelation about women and didgeridoo playing. I cannot speak about all women, I can speak about some that I’ve met and that have inspired me to write this text by their connection between body- mind-didgeridoo.

Situation with women playing didgeridoo is rather strange as you can see. There are very very few women compared to men, in our didgeridoo society. I am not interested in discussions about whether women should play didgeridoo or not.  The answer is so clear.

Well known women didgeridoo players: Agustina Mosca and Adèle

Well known women didgeridoo players: Agustina Mosca and Adèle

I have met only a few girls that had lessons/workshop with me. What I try to establish in my lessons  as a base in didgeridoo playing is connection between mind, body and didgeridoo. But mostly it is actually mind and body. In other words, that your mind can tell your body what to do and the body does exactly this. You observe the sound. There is of course the opposite way going on, and that one is more active when playing becomes playful. To a number of didgeridoo players some of the very basic exercises I give are so difficult. And I mean sooooo difficult! This can last for couple of  hours… or sometimes even much more. And the trick? The trick is very simple. It is about unlearning the old  movement and making space for another movement.

It is mostly men’s problem as men are mostly the ones who play. But men have one basic difference compared to women. They are more in their mind. Logical, analytical, philosophical mind which has to say something about everything, put it into words and labels.  Problem is that world is mysterious and  wiggly (said in the words of Alan Watts) and can almost never be simply described. And even if you can describe the move, how does it help you do it? This just separates body from the mind. Body is no longer having any connection to directions of mind, everything is miswired. On the other hand I’ve never met a woman (although some probably exist) that puts so many words into explaining how world works to herself. From my observation women are less in thoughts, more in emotions. Which are some kind of thoughts of body. So I would say, more connected to the body in total. This is not one absolute point of view, try to follow the point, please.

One very basic example: You can see it in a disco=) See how many guys have the need to move to the music and how many girls. Girls that I knew… they always danced and danced… and only very very few guys I knew did. They would stand on the side, drink and look at girls. Some idiots like me would dance like idiots, but this is more of an exception.

More famous women didge players: Lies Beijerinck and Pamela Mortensen

More famous women didge players: Lies Beijerinck and Pamela Mortensen

And now comes the magical part. Women who come to my workshop often don’t have too good opinion about their playing.  They would describe themselves as  “barely surviving circular breathing with just a seldom sound that is sort of half ok”. I see they are often looked a bit from above from their male colleagues. Like we are in middle ages or something;-) And then… you have guys who can do “takatraktkawakatikasakatikawakatiraraakakakakaK!!!” and girls who can do “wouowowuwoou” but when it comes  to do the basic movements, basic principles of breathing and producing sound with didgeridoo, these girls somehow manage to control their body and make their body do the work it ought to. While the guys struggle and struggle. Eyebrows move, shoulders shake, sweat comes out, but nothing happens. Maybe my sample of girls on the workshops is too small to give any conclusion. But I have a strong feeling that girls can drastically faster achieve balance in body in terms of playing. In general. I remember fastest learners being women, of different age, and in relation to how many women I had as students, this gives drastic advantages in some numbers relations. Quite crazy when you think of it.

This doesn’t mean men shouldn’t try to play.=) Even though it would be funny to start the rumour that you become impotent because of didgeridoo playing and that only women should do it… Men are naturally stronger and have stronger breath. Stronger voice… and maybe stronger everything. Women are naturally more flexible, more balanced and bring this richness into diversity of didgeridoo world. And I feel we really really miss this wonderful polarity of our female breathing and living companions on this planet.

So ladies, I hope you feel your wonderful power and that it gives you motivation. And that without anger or remorse  you can join the show now, make the contribution only you can make!

Guys, I hope you will continue to evolve your inner balance and body flexibility to enjoy playing didgeridoo in its fullness!

Yours encouraging,

– Du

Save

Save

Save

19 comments… add one
  • Matej March 23, 2013, 10:47

    Super clanak 🙂

    Reply
    • Du March 26, 2013, 09:47

      Od Superčlakonošca!

      Reply
  • Pamela Mortensen March 23, 2013, 19:55

    Many, many thanks for this article, my friend.

    I believe you touched on the dilemma of many men players when it comes to playing strictly from the mind. As a female counterpart, I can honestly say I’ve experienced this dilemma as well and didgeridoo playing was least fun in that experience. However, when the heart enters the picture, telling the mind its desires and then the mind translating it into language for the body (or perhaps the heart translating mindspeak), well then, we have a whole different ball of wax. I have experienced this bliss as well and didgeridoo playing, then, becomes transcendent. There is so much I believe that we can learn from each other in different ways of thinking and play not just didgeridoo but any instrument. I also believe this issue would make for a great workshop!

    On a totally different note, if you should ever find yourself in Seattle I will take you a magical place called DreamDance where you can dance like idiot to your heart’s content. 😉

    Much Love

    Reply
    • Du March 26, 2013, 10:14

      DreamDance you say… well… it could be nightmare for others.. 😉 No no, I assure you I am a gentle dancer.

      As for the other everything…I follow you, yes. And I feel that for all of us it is good to enter the domain of learning humble. Totally open. Then there is nothing to discuss anyway, no female/male issues, no theories about what works, just naked cosmic warriors of sound. Totally defeated from start. No way to win. And then, to start the learning.
      Some picture like this arises in my mind if I contemplate more on words.

      😉
      Du

      Reply
  • adele March 25, 2013, 18:40

    big thanks for this article Du,

    I live the didgeridoo expêrience like an “instinctive experience” If we can say that:)
    Sure that technics are important to progress but I can notice that the way women didg player I met , explore the didgeridoo is perhaps more intuitive. And it s very interesting to play with other women , I can really feel a very particulary energy , as if the connection was more direct. Sure , I didn t play with many women ( indeed we are only few :)) , but I feel a difference with Men. Of course, each person have duality women and men and I did a very beautiful musical connection with men too, but between women the” language” is very fast understood. I hope that yu will understand my super english :))
    Du,Hope to meet yu this summer on festival and hope to meet one day yu Pamela!

    Adele.

    Reply
    • Du March 26, 2013, 10:22

      Hey Adele!
      It is great to see you here! My site will become popular!
      Yes. Intuitive is the word I forgot to use here, and it fits perfectly.
      For me a big question is if we, guys, are open enough to absorb, to learn from this intuitiveness… what does it even mean- we are not sure. The word is so open by itself.
      Anyway, I try to absorb, I keep practicing absorption. 😉
      Would be so wonderful to see you somewhere on the festival! I am not sure I would dare ask to play with you, but I will dare to ask to dance! 😉

      Du

      Reply
  • Agustina Mosca March 25, 2013, 20:49

    Ouaou!!!
    You put it nicely…
    What to say, that Pamela or Adèle didn’t say yet? I’m agree with them!
    I have read in ‘Voices of the first day”, of Robert Lawlor (book that I hardly recommend!!) that the feminal aspect of the universe, or better, the feminin universe, for aboriginal cosmology, is the physical world. We can control it. I mean, we really understand it, naturally, as you say. Eeeevreything what happen in our body talks about that! Is very very but very interesting all what is said in this book, much more complex that this few words… But, yes Du, I’m agree about what you said, I also could confirm this experience, that says that no, men and women we are not the same.
    Just two beautifulls parts of the same thing, and how nice is when we connect each other!!! 😉
    Thanks a lot for that!
    Agus

    Reply
    • Du March 26, 2013, 10:36

      YES Agus!
      YES!

      So what I feel is that we really really need each other to balance out the total soup of energy. Because it is never one artist we solely take influence from. And in little didgeridoo soup, some change of the ratios of spices would make the soup taste better. I would be more than happy to be in audience for all of you, and forget, totally, that I am sometimes also a didgeridoo player. But to relax and enjoy, to absorb and learn and grow just by relaxed doing… nothing.
      Much love!

      Du

      Reply
  • joe March 26, 2013, 20:16

    Great article Du and an important and interesting subject.
    I have been playing for around 19 years and am very lucky and blessed to teach people how to play the didgeridoo.
    I mostly am teaching women, here in the UK….so this is FANTASTIC!!!
    Myself, i was self taught pretty much, but any help i did have in the early stages was from a woman, and i remember i was SO impressed with her playing, because women have a higher vocal range i think, so for calls and vocals on the didgeridoo, they excel!!!
    This is the case i think with Adele, for sure, when you hear her play, her vocals are so high and clear 🙂
    I have taught my girlfriend to play too, once again, her vocals are so sharp and nice to hear.
    I find it such a shame when people comment negatively about women playing, there are some old myths and rumors out there, and they are unhelpful and unnecessary.
    I really hope to see and hear more women play this magical instrument.
    Good vibes to you and all in the didgeridoo family 😉
    Joe (aka Cephalodige)

    Reply
  • Rolan March 27, 2013, 02:54

    Hi all,

    As Westerners we love to take things out of context, but let’s not forget where the didgeridoo originates. As a Dutchman living and playing the didgeridoo in Australia, I think everyone should listen to what the traditional owners say about women playing:
    http://old-content.mulka.org/yidaki/dhawu/35miyalk.html

    These article might be most helpful for all those New Agie’s out there: http://www.didjeridu.com/wickedsticks/articles/quest.htm

    Thank God for making men and women.

    Happy didgin’

    Reply
    • Du April 7, 2013, 18:27

      Hello Rolan!

      Thank you for your contribution! The first link is a classic. About the second one I didn’t know…

      I would also like to contribute now. With one universal principle. Nothing like new or old age. I just like to bear this in mind, and also the sound…
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQQlyJjBvcE

      Enjoy & thank you!

      Du

      Reply
  • Willi Grimm March 27, 2013, 19:43

    Great Dubravko what you have stired up and as always, your point of view I adore. I also fully agree, that it is us men to create this unequality regarding number of female players or even performers. However, the competition amongst men is fact. Thus, most of the workshops the female gender is rare. Here again, it is different in my teacher experiences. Most of the time I had more female participants. I remember even one or two courses with no males at all! I have some clue to this phenomena and wonder what is yours?
    Regards from Switzerland, Willi

    Reply
    • Du April 7, 2013, 18:38

      Dearest Willi!

      It is so nice to see you here! Fantastic information.
      I would say the first reason that you have so many women at workshops is that you are a great charmer!
      =)
      But on top of that, to come even deeper into truth, I would say men and women are attracted to a bit different things. I feel… If topic is power, more men will come. If topic is beauty, more women will come. If topic is realization of oneself, more freaks will come. Just kidding. But there are different aspects to didgeridoo and different approaches of presenting them, different possibilities of invitation. I would say that your whole energy level, your charisma, your openness, your non stiffness is the key why you have managed to attract so many women to didgeridoo. For me it is clear even more intuitively as I know you…

      Having said that, I have never put much attention so far on how I make announcements for workshops. Only in Croatia maybe where I’ve been writing them myself. And it is true I have had more female players in Croatia than anywhere else in the world. They were always beginners workshops. So open to everyone. If I start with “already players” then I would probably end up with more men.

      I remember once going to a workshop of Gauthier in Budapest. I brought only 3 female players with me. But among 20 or 30 participants there, there was maybe one girl. I don’t remember exactly. That was the first time I realized from my own experience that some “frequencies of energies” are different for men and women in different areas. Even neighbour countries.

      Now tell me please. What is your clue to this phenomena?
      😉

      Du

      Reply
  • Jack Azzarà April 19, 2013, 20:48

    Great Article Dudo! You have the great ability to put into word something that a lot of didgeridoo player always feel into the didgeridoo world.

    Jack Azzarà

    Reply
  • Sam June 12, 2013, 16:56

    So I have sex change……I progress faster with my playing yes ?!? 🙂

    Reply
  • Oliver August 4, 2013, 22:54

    I have finally discovered didgeridoos (as in blowing into one for the first time) after only listening to it for too long at the Reve de l’Aborigene festival; when I finally came in touch with it, a young lady sat down alongside trying it out for the first time as well. It didn’t occur to me until I’ve read this article Du wrote but it is true that she sounded and felt different, even if the both of us were completely new!

    The man at the stand explained to us a few things we could try out, how and what is really happening when a didgeridoo is doing “this or that sound”, so we both tried doing these and even attempted doing circular breathing out of the blue, after we were told how it was working.

    The results? I was overly analytic, stopping at every single thing that didn’t sound or felt right, constantly trying to make the perfect sound right away (or what my foolish novice thoughts would define perfect – woops see that right there? Man thing!), belittling myself for failing at the task.

    Despite the attitude, the desire was fueled by passion. The problem is what I was doing with it: the desire to explore, probing my innerself and the didgeridoo, trying to find a match for the simplest things. I wanted to capture every detail right away, I wanted to be in control. I was fickle.

    “How did she do, then?”

    …She didn’t have the passion.
    …She had an unconditional love. She embraced the didgeridoo, assimilated it as it melded back with her. She was it. It was her. They were one. They became something else. I was astounded by how relaxed she was as well, it was almost as if she was also part of the ground, of the environment. The energy emanating from them was comforting. I think somewhere I felt like an intruder! Trying to grasp and master things right away, wanting to jump instead of taking steps, how pretentious and manly that was!…

    When we stopped once in a while to catch our breaths I eventually had to joyfully admit that was a bit jealous 😀 You could hear her steadily improving while I was almost stuck during the whole time! It reassured me in a way, as it taught me an important lesson that can apply in everything else in life as well. If I do not bewilder myself a little, if I do not let loose… I cannot simply take things as I would like to. Those things have to take a bit out of me as well, so that it and I can become one and something else.

    So as far as total novice I will still say this: dear girls, ladies and woman! Go at it! Humble us! 🙂

    Reply
  • Maxi Reitz October 22, 2013, 20:29

    Im totally agree!! I think the same happens with the children. They use less mind, learn and play naturally, intuitively … Learn through play, using the didgeridoo as a toy, hence the difference … more connection like the girls 🙂

    Reply
  • Anna September 15, 2015, 06:00

    Hi, I’m a bit late to this conversation but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this discussion. I am a woman player in Australia- so I have to play in secret 🙂 and am just discovering the world of girl didj players. Didgeridoo is forbidden to aboriginal women in Australia because of a dreamtime story -I cannot remember all of it but I will tell you what I remember- once only women played the didgeridoo, to create life, (men and women)and at some stage a monster was created who was terrible, he treated women very badly, took advantage of them and terrorised everyone, they had to trap him in a deep pit eternally. It was decided then that women should not play the didgeridoo because they were capable of creating such a beast.

    Men cannot create life with a didgeridoo but can use it as a healing tool and it is amazing to have a didj healer play over your body. It’s like musical reiki. Aboriginal culture is highly spiritual and if you are sensitive to it, it s wise to obey the aboriginal law. The spirit of the land allows me to play in some areas but not in others and I have had to promise not to use any woods sacred to men. I have been advised never to ask permission from the keeper of the didgeridoo to play as he would throw rocks at me. I play on bamboo and call my instrument a bamboodoo.

    When I play, I feel a deep connection with myself and my higher spirit, and I am completely satisfied, on every level. I could believe that I may never need to be with another man again, because I have no other desire than to play my instrument.I do become one with the instrument. I can see players like Adele do too…and that is inspiring. I can believe that women create universes with the didj, and believe that men might have become frustrated by the women’s entire satisfaction, maybe the men got ignored And I wonder why that might be why we are not allowed to play. I also think it is why women have such a connection to the instrument. It was originally their domain….to create worlds.

    Reply
  • Mirna December 12, 2018, 11:16

    Thank you for writing this. I really do feel encouraged and inspired by this post. I am really a beginner and am just starting to get the hang of circulair breathing. I have felt reluctant to learn to play digeridoo because of all the confusing thoughts out there. And was not sure if I, by playing, would insult a culture I am so inspired by. Nonetheless I had bought a digeridoo when the Aboriginal museum was still in the Netherlands and tried to play it every now and again. Untill recently, when I started to understand and being able to do circulair breathing I could not help myself to play the instrument. I absolutely love the sound and playing it brings so much peace. I feel more encouraged by your post to keep playing and for me it means a lot that you share this post! Thank you!

    Reply

Leave a Comment