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.