From others, it has been more about technique, but there is still an openness and sharing, and call for respect.
I have had instruction from quite a few different Yidaki players and it depends on the person and the circumstance as to what is conveyed. As people are individuals they can act very differently in this regard. Generally I feel Yolngu are very generous with their knowledge and share their culture openly.
They do not teach playing techniques. IMHO as a rule they cannot, just as most people cannot teach how to speak. They can teach you the words, the sentences, just as most people can tell you how to speak their own language. Compare: I can try an teach you Dutch, by letting you hear the Dutch language. I cannot really teach you how to make the hard G-sound we have, or the other specific speaking sounds.
Had instructions with Larry and Sylvester Gurruwiwi for about 3h in a group of 10 people or so. Larry was concentrating on mouth sounds, tongue movements etc. Do to the larger crowd, it remained at a relatively basic level.
More, see above, the connection between people, mother earth, song, music and stories, connection with animals and with the presence of a "dreamtime" alternate/parallell creative/spiritual dimension.
As above for Djalu. Maybe a little more detail on technique, but overall the impression is similar to that described above.
More about technique and the "telling" of a few stories, but not an "experience" of the stories during the telling.
The Yolngu Yidaki players that I encountered, showed me different things. Some were good teachers in sharing me something more than just technical knowledge. It varied as some had the knowledge and passion for the Yidaki. Some focused on the technicalities, while others took me deeper in how they are thinking and how they are related to the spirit of the rhythms when they play Yidaki.
Milkayngu told me bits on song structure and that you (we) should played it like Jazz
I had lessons from Charlie mac Mahon, I thought he was just trying to explain technique to me. What I expected
That different clans have differing onomatopaeic "dialects" that can subtley change particular manikay.
Just playing technique, and rather impatiently.
Just playing technique
In these cases it was more about playing technique - perhaps due to the situation and my obvious interest in the subject. Later, during a Bunggul - the story and actions were discussed and linked with the yidaki playing - bringing it all together and putting it in context.
Trad sound is very deep,The players know this and are spiritually elevated as well.Its nice to feel the connection.
Playing technique as well as something more... culture, language, social organization, history etc. etc.
after having a lesson with Milkay he said have fun with Yidaki but always respect Yidaki which I think is a must
Sylvester and Daevon (from Yothu Yindi) were in france last summer so i met them. They are young generation so it's different from elders and it's very difficult to meet people when they are in a country for 3 weeks!! I hope to see them in Australia because we had good connection
I attended a workshop in the UK given by Yolngu men. These guys were superb ambassadors and conveyed a great sense of pride in their culture, yidaki and the context in which it is played.
I did one Workshop with Ash Dargan at LA outack. He works to instill awareness of traditional roots in a way I respond to.
Attitude, posture, language and tounge/mouth positions. A lot of non spoken body language - its cerimonial context.
In general, I got a "feeling" about more. I still admit that it is kind of confusing to me, and I'm pretty sure that I didn't get it.
On the occasion that the 3 yolngu came to the UK this year to teach it was only playing techniques that time allowed.
I have not had formal instruction from any Yolngu player. The expertise of those I have spoken with terrifies me and to wish to emulate traditional playing and the ethos that surrounds it is beyond the ken of any Balanda-I keep trying however.
I don't think that a Balanda can play Yolngu style much better than a rough imitation, because, of the language differences, and the physical differences.
truly an enlightning experience! blow me away!