Answers to Question 25, How would you describe Djalu's typical instrument?

usually deep, flared, heavy, powerful, but they can vary


Thunder sticks. Very large bell with gradual taper and sticks are also long as earlier the size is determined by the height of your mouth. In my case just over 5' long.

heavy, conical, straight, easy toots, resonant, easy to play

Varying. Most are good for playing traditional style. Love the horns.

Predominantly stringybark, rather heavy, often a very rich, multilayered, textured sound with some gravity, marbly voice.
Quality mostly good to very good but some variation to it as with most makers and depending on who actually from the Rripangu mob was involved with production (Have seen a few not so exciting instruments that were attributed to Djalu, too)

Fairly large, with a small mouthpiece and a fair amount of taper.

A typical yirdaki by Djalu is long and heavy, when it comes to size. It has lots of strong bass frequencies, with a blunt response but isn't necessarily loud, nor does it have a big bell. If I may add some thoughts in regard to the next question (26.) I was a bit disappointed with his instruments in a way they were fashioned (lots of work on the inside, I could see chisel marks ascend throughout the bottom half well up into the bore, patches on the throat end). I understand the demand for Djalu's instruments is so big these days that probably the whole family makes them, and the entire community is living off of it (again, just taking a guess, correct me if I`m in any way wrong). So, I was disappointed in a way, but not because his instruments wouldn't be suitable for western styles of playing as it is usually the case, but merely because the ones I`ve got aren't on par with some other Yolngu made sticks from my bunch, whose makers are probably not as under the pressure! to produce as he is. All this, I feel, is about to change as soon as I put my lips on one of his older instruments.

My favorite one.

thick walled, conical, heavy. needs lots of pressure and mostly only good to play fast

Solid, strong powerful sound, warm and earthy, well balanced, responsive. One can sense that they are crafted with much attention and love. Wioth his experience and backgound he knows really well how to choose the trees and how to craft them to get the best out of the wood's potential, and the character/spirit/shadow of this tree. I also think that whenever an artist makes something, he puts some of his own soul and spirit in it.

Uses the same orche colors. Small mouthpiece diameter. I have played some Djalu' instruments that are the best I've ever played. I've also played Djalu' instruments that were mediorcre (which were sold to me by Yothu Yindi)

Pitch of between D and E. Somewhat conical. Nice bassy sound. Slower playing.

traditional, dirty sound

This concerns some of the more recent ones I have seen, from 3 years ago to present... I think they have changed and evolved a lot in the years... big volume potential, trumpet tone less than an octave above fundamental, good back pressure but able to drop fundamental tone down easily, wide harmonic range

The instruments that he and not anyone else (including his Yolngu family) makes are enchanting. They are powerful, and well balanced. One main reason I feel this way is because I know just how much Djalu loves the Yidaki. He puts all his heart and soul in every single Yidaki that he makes. Especially if he's not pressured by economic emergencies, or family. When he takes time to make a Yidaki, watchout! They are amazing. He's not perfect, as no human is perfect.


1.5-1.75 meters 3 cm mouthpiece 10-12 cm bell approximately conical bore. decorations of natural pigments that band around the instrument ... typal yirdaki for the westerner

Heavy,loud with narrow neck and narrow mouthpiece and tapering flare and a low fundamental note with high back pressure.

Thats a tough one. I've played a few Djalu's and they have varying characteristics. Some clean drones, some "dirtier" some with great vocals, some more rhythmic.

I don't personally care for them.

Great top quality of Dhuwa yidaki.

"buzzier" than the other didj's I have

According to what is told almost everywhere, they seem to be the best Yidaki in Australia...

smoth, easy to play and full of life...

His best are among the very best that have ever been made, but sometimes due to quality of materials, commercial demands, or other outside influences, they vary.

Very straight, conical with rings of color.


Massive quick response. Mystical

Tight & quick. A traditional sound.

usually or in general
good sound quality,
very easy to play,
good backpressure,
easy toots,
earlier didjs were better crafted and finished, but the more modern ones are better protected with inner bore coating and less prone to splits

I own two of Djalu's instruments, and I think they are amoung the finest that I have played.

I've played two, only for a short times. Quality (personal opinion) varies. Not enough playing experience on his digeridos for a more thorough review

Can't compaire it...i don't play traditional

The couple I've played were so different, I'm not sure what typical is.

verry good but fragile. crackes easy

Traditional, gutteral, dirty/coarse.

wollybutt euc, tapered bore, thickish walls, typically keyed C-E with the trumpets coming in around a 10th, solid backpressure, powerfull sound.

among the best in most cases

Typical? I've played a good few of his via friends and shops and they seem to vary between being very big, thick walled, flared bored and bassy to narrow thin walled sticks. Mouth piece size has also seemed to vary.

Djalu's top instruments are suberbly tuned and a delight to play. The relationship between the fundamental and first overtone is always beautiful and the backpressure perfect (for traditional playing styles). A mouthpiece around 3cm in diameter with a distal end ranging from 7 - in excess of 20cm (on occasion). Often of a similar length as the sticks are cut at mouth height. Nice.

Urm.... as a Yidaki ??? :)))

They all provide the right feedback to the player when played.Trad style of coarse.

Typical painting on it.
Many different sound, keys, ...
"Traditionnal" Aboriginal Yidaki

single and very spiritual...

A sweet banded Yolngu stick


powerfull, natural, "magnetic"'s difficult to give terms in english but i feel like a kind of "magic" because is shaman instrument able to link human to universe

I like the painting and the loud tone

I own a Djalu yidaki. His instruments that I have seen are depicted by thier goarse grainy sound and as my interest in them has grown I can usually recognise them by his distinctive artwork style.

Fantastic !

Large, big belled, conical.


I own two... I do not feel qualified to judge thier playing qualities in deapth. They have a "connective" quality for me.

I heard him and It was magic n' I feel so little near him

Very traditional and very well made.

Something like conic in the shape, without bee's wax at the mouthpiece and a particular sound

No words for!! I own 2 Djalu yidaki and I both love them. They are amazing! Unfortunally, one of them has cracks and I needed to take of the colour to repair the yidaki.

To be honest I was only a beginner player when I played one and I couldn't tell you what a typical instrument of his was like.

Responsive to market demands...
To demanding for me to play and appreciate at present.

Didn't play enough to judge. some of them were obviously made for western market...

a traditionnal artwork inspired by the wood, the sound and the feeling of the maker; and also a great sound and instrument for the life

Not experienced enough to pass comment however I have played a few of his and some I liked and other not.

I am waiting for the day...

low back pressure low volume slower playing

Again fashions seem to change. It seems to me his earlier work was more highly finished whereas many current examples have a more 'robust' finish.My favourite is wonderfully painted by Zelma.I think you could summerise Djalu's work as being heavy with minimal working of the bore this as a result of his mastery in selecting suitable trees.Djalu seems to be making more and more Yidakis with tiny mouthpieces of late.


With Character !

Traditional, and profoundly spiritual.

Raspy, growly sound. Very traditional

It seems to me he dosent really have a typical instrument. I've seen them varey in quality, shape, pitch, painting. I guess usually they are conical in shape if I were to try to generalize.

Big, heavy with conical shape. Usually very loud with great overtones and normally very nice to play.