Answers to Question 38, Do you have any comments on how to show respect for the sacred origins of the didjeridu in this time of the didjeridu as a tool of self-expression/healing/etc. for anyone around the world?

Shut the hell up and just play it!

Treat Yidaki with respect. Do this by learning about Arnhemland traditional owners and meeting them if you can. Don't believe everything that you hear. Don't pass on information as 'fact' unless you have heard it from a Yolngu elder. Buy Yolngu made Yidaki as this supports communities and shows respect.

No as I think each of us has our own perspective and this even applies to Yolngu. I do acknowledge that it is used in sacred ceremonies but it also is used for communal dancing as well, so it depends on the place and context to a degree.

My personal respectful action is to explain some of what I know about didj's origins, the Yolngu especially, and then show how my expression with it is by no means theirs. It's a "find your own voice - dont' steal/distort/pretend, and don't expect your voice to be like others' " message.

Never claim authenticity for something that isn't. Don't claim false connection with Yolngu or other aboriginal people. Don't use the didjeridu in situations that might offed its traditional custodians. Other than that, play with respect and heart.

The more I deal with it the more I realise that I will probbably newer be able to understand it fully. So the only thing (feeleing) that I can have toward it is exactly the respect. Any claim on knowlege or understanding from my part would be an arrogance

When the didge is used as a musical instrument or a way to entertain yourself or to relax or express yourself or whatever, it's fine with me.
I do not like it when people attribute healing or other spiritual things to the didge, while they hardly know a thing about it. I've seen too often that people know nothing about the background, play since a few months, yet feel they know everything about the didge and even think they know Aboriginal playing styles and spread this wrong notion to the world. I always get shivers when (white) people say they give e.g. aboriginal dreamtime healing sessions, yet don't know the least bit about the real culture.
IMHO the best way to show respect is to do your own thing on the Instrument, to use it as an instrument (compare the use of the stick in the open corroborees) and not pretend that you know everything about the origins and that you can play/use it as Yolngu do in their spiritual settings.

I'm not totally against the use of didjeridus for self-expression/healing/etc. as long as it's clearly expressed that this doesn't have anything to do with Aboriginal lore or the cultural background of the instrument.
I try to show my respect for the origins of the didjeridu by trying NOT to make public statements and interpretations of Aboriginal lore. Clearly back off from 'New Age' views of the instrument and Aboriginal people
- Try to promote Arnhem land instruments as more than just a musical instrument but as an item of cultural significance

Yes. I try to learn all I can from credible sources, and pass that knowledge on to anyone who is interested. Also, I make a clear distinction between what is traditional and what is not.

Showing respect is easy. Just do it. By doing it, sometimes that would mean *not doing* certain things.. which is a bit harder to do ;-)

When the opportunity arises I think it is good to tell somethin about the origins and background of the instrument and to tell about the trouble Aboriginal people have in their own country nowadays.

Especially in the communication to people that are drawn by the sound or my playing. The didjeridu gives me the opportunity to present many aspects of the life of the aboriginal people of australia, and the Yolngu in particular, that they do not know. Maybe uncomfortable things, maybe more spiritual things. In this sense the didjeridu acts as a sort of ambassador to the world for the Yolngu people.

just keep in mind its orgins, do your best to share that it is an instrument of the Aboriginal people

A bit of history of the Yidaki and Aboriginals (even if brief) should be told to those that may not know where it came from, etc, probably before playing, or after the first couple songs, and a small respectful thank you given after if it feels right.

Staying humble, giving credit to Yolngu people for developing a system of knowledge based on creativity, learning to play Yolngu style and also Ngapeki style. Learning as many rhythms as possible, and also learning how to drown like an accomplished Ngapeki Yidaki Mi who is excellent at just droaning. I respect all forms of didgeridoo styles. The didgeridoo to me allows me to find a new way of thought. It allows me to dive deep in to my imagination. Currently, it has been difficult to play a Yolngu rhythm and dive deep in imagination only because I'm such a newbi. I'm sure that once it becomes second nature to sing the pnemonics, that I will let go of the thoughts of staying focused on the rhythm structure and just become the very thing the rhythm is about. Just like driving when you have to stay in your lane or chane lanes on a major city highway, ... while day dreaming.

I think healing by Balanda is inapropiat... I think we should play the didgeridoo for fun and leave the rest to Yolngu

Whenever I am asked abbout the didjeridu, I say that I make and play didjeridu's out of modern materials for my musical purposes. I also say that I understand the Aboriginal originators of the instrument use it for very different purposes. Then I say that Out of respect, I will not elaborate the aboriginal purposes for didjeridu as I really do not understand them. Fianlly I acknowledge (hopefully with adequate gratitude)the Aboriginal people for their technological and technical achievements in the development of the didjeridu as a concept. I hope to understand the aborginal uses of didjeridu better as I become more familiar with the people, but I firmly believe that it is their business to tell their stories.

You can play the formal or informal way. We must only play the informal way

Learn a little of the origins of the instrument back to the Yolngu.Find the right books if it is prohibitive to travel to ArnhemLand.Listen to Alice Moyle,Trevor Jones archive recordings of traditional music from Arnhemland as well as the latest Djalu tuition cds.This will give you a good grounding in the identity of the didjeridu as it stands traditionally.

"Healing" with the didjeridu is considered SACRED by and reserved for, the YOLNGU of ArnhemLand.
Personal healing comes from exploring the depths of the sound and its effects on YOU the player,use the sound for your own personal development and not to expand your ego by trying to "HEAL" other people.
Unless you have studied the healing uses of Yidaki by Yolngu from living AS PART of their culture COMPLETELY for a great length of time, how can you put your hand on your heart and HONESTLY say that you can "HEAL" with didjeridu?
Is it perhaps just for commercial gain and ego satisfaction?
Show respect for their culture by keeping this aspect of the Yidaki for your own uses and not on anyone else!!!

Acknowledge the origins. Acknowledge the spiritual aspects of the instrument. Play with reverence. Center to right thinking, right loving, right action before playing.

I think that it is a musical instrument. Period. Its sacred origins are irrelevant to me and my liking of the instrument. I'm an atheist. If other people use it for religious purposes or it has a religious origin, I respect that but it has nothing to do with me. I think that it is in fact a disservice to any aboriginal people to perpetrate a narrow-minded and essentially racist view of their ritual lineaments as a Noble Savage undertaking.

respect & peace!!

No. I feel that many drums and flutes today are derived from instruments which probably were originally used for sacred purposes. I don't see that the yidaki is any different.

I think it'd be key to remember that you'd have two basically different audiences, the people who are more in tune with this "new age stuff", and on the other side, the general masses who probably for the most part really don't care about the instrument, wouldn't care about the culture and history of these great people, they might think the didj's sound "cool", but sadly i think the general public are too concerned with the "rat race" lives they are living to be interested in learning about the aboriginal people. gee, is it chrismas time in San Diego, am i a little tired of the commercialism and craziness this holiday brings?? yes! BUT, i do believe there is an interested population, it may be small, but it's definitely out there. to make it easier, i believe this group of interested people will be readily receptive to history and culture, i believe they will seek out the information themselves and naturally become respectful of the people and their culture. if you'!
re looking for ideas for teaching aides, i'd make a movie, i know the aboriginals don't like being photographed nor probably filmed, but in today's fast paced world you need a way to deliver information quickly and with some degree of entertainment, people simply don't read that much any more and wouldn't take too much time to read long histories, need to crunch it al down in a neat pretty little package...

encourage people to learn about the people who have made the instrument available to the rest of the world. From learning comes knowledge, from knowledge comes wisdom, from wisdom comes understanding.

By showing respect for the Australian Aboriginal people.

I do not know much about the sacred origins of the didjeridu ...
all though each time that I play, I try to hold the people of Arnhem Land in my thoughts and my heart ... and I am gratefull that the people of Arnhem Land have chosen to share the instrument/sound of the didjeridu with the rest of the world

Play in a sacred manner.

In the western world it is very popular for its use in meditation and healing. The aboriginals could help a bit more in making things clear for use westerners

play it at least ones a week

Difficult question.
I love the didj's I have, but when I think too hard, I feel a little guilty that the instruments have been taken away from where they best belong.
The current cultural problems in Australia were also highlighted to me the other day. I saw a didj for sale, it had been the personal instrument of a clan ceremonial player, who was short of cash. The buyer happend to be there at that time, whilst the player was a bit worse for wear on grog. A deal was quickly struck. Money & didj changed hands, the money, went to buy more grog, the didj went on sale.

Apply the same principals that you would apply to anyone else's culture:
- don't pretend to be them
- appreciate the origin
- be in good mind when practicing
- know that you are borrowing, not owning
- help to educate others

Hard to say, I would like to hear oppinions of traditional players. Anybody can play what he likes. Just show respect to aborigonals and respect their opinions.

I am thankful to the instrument when my spirit is calmed through playing.

just play it if u like it..but try to play in your own style and not as an imitation of someone else.

All things can be treated as sacred objects. One should treat the didjeridu with respect that one would treat a sacred object with, and be mindful of that sacredness when handling and playing the didjeridu

Keep the usage and as much as possible about the traditions of the instrument alive.

I'm just very happy that this instrument has chosen me and gave me a chance to try to express myselelve, to learn and I hope it will do for a long time... (would like to say more- but my English does not alow to say it properly)

Play it in a good way.

remembering it's origins and passing that on

I feel that Yirdaki should be played with respect and I try only to use them for my attempts to learn to play traditional style and have tried to do this via workshops and CDs. . I wouldn't use them for healing. Other didjeridus I feel can be used as the person wants as you'd use anyother musical instrument to be inventive and explore with.

It seems that didjeridu players in the West in general become cultural ambassadors due to the origins of the instrument. Perhaps unwittingly they pass on misinformation which further propogates these strange stories of what a didjeridu is and where it comes from. I think it best to tell people where it is from and encourage them to investigate it themselves by contacting the people and culture from which the didjeridu derives. This does not mean that the didjeridu cannot be a tool of self-expression etc, but I think it is good to find out where it's from and what it means, if only to understand why it is so intreging to so many people.

Urm. Learn what we can about the instrument and the people behind it.

Never imitate by dressing up as or applying face - body paint to yourself to perform.Never call yourself a Traditional player even if you can play traditional style.Dont paint Didgeridoos trad styles and sell them off.Dont heal with the Didgeridoo(I hate quassy New age bullshit artists)Give the respect and credit to the Yolgnu they deserve.

Show respect to the people, not to playing the instrument.
For instance: don't play a burrial/ceremonial tune just because you can do a special tune or technique. Playing it next to a bon-fire for fun is "Not Done".
Sounds that express your moods or create a musical picture of the world surrounding you can be played freely. This is the universal language of music and that's what its for.

don't act like you know it all just because you watched one movie or met one Aboriginal. when around Aboriginals ask if your aloud to play I wouldnt play there stories thats for them thats tribal I don't think I have the right to play them unless asked

Just learn where this instrument come from, who are the custodian of the instrument and learn more about Aboriginal Culture, so many thingd to learn !

Creating associations for promoting aboriginal people. Didjeridu festivals around the world are very important to show people what is this instrument and to make them understand the difference between 'didj' and 'yirdaki'. We want to have more impact on this question in France but it's long work ; we also want to create a didjeridu fairtrade. It's important to create links between traditionnal owners of the yirdaki and players arond the world.

It would be interesting to know the impact of the didgeridoo on the ceremonies. Knowing its spiritual dimension.

be natural, open minded and respectful to Aboriginal way of life, and to the earth

Buy yirdaki from the yolngu for your own use. Enjoy the insturment and play often. Dont make didjs and sell them as yolngu made or use their images to help sell your own creations.

Always try and at least mention that the origin of the didjeridoo is from Aboriginal Australia and although there are many type of didjs worldwide, one should strive to have at least one authentic yidiki in their collection.

When I meet people and discuss my interest in yidaki I make a point of exlaining it roots and significance as known to me. I realize I am larely ignorant of all but the broadest concepts.

I'm lost I don't know how can I show and respect sacred origines

in this time of the didjeridu as a tool of self-expression/healing/etc, aboriginal people should explain to the rest of the world how WE can use these instrument. if aboriginal people don t agree with healing, self expressing etc, they have to tell it !

There is no more sacredness in the didgeridoo than there is in the wind, nor than in the breathing of the player; but not less. I just try not lying about it.
I feel incomfortable with all the "new-age" things, that i tend to see as dreamings of ignorant people.

Don't call a Didjeridu a Yirdaki and respect the trade of the Aborigines, don't try to be something you are not!

I would like translations of the songs on the classic series and would like to understand their structure and form. (My mother is a professional story teller)
I would like to have a DVD of the Yolongu Ceromonies to help understand the didge in context.
I would like to play rythmic Yirdaki with self composed songs/poems, no western player/group appears to do this.
I do not wish to copy Yolongu stories, I wish to know them, but to utilise them in the west may be innappropriate and out of context. We have our own songs myths stories, which are not unlike the native Aus and it is here that we should really be able to connect and show mutual respect.

Hard to answer...
I try hard to get deeper meanings of what I have been told by Aboriginal people. Maybe I'm not very good in it (especially as I have not many possibilities to meet them;-), but I listen, and maybe I get a clue one day.
Until that day, in my function as a "performer" or "instructor":
- I see it as my duty to encourage everybody to make any effort to study the source, meaning to listen to/study from Aboriginal People themselves to get their own impression.
- I tell everybody not to "believe as a fact" (which is contradictory) anything they hear from any non Aboriginal (me included) at first sight... or rather,...well.. thats a bit too philosophical for my poor english...)
- I never claim to know how to play traditional (in the sense of the "something more") or know something "factual" about Aboriginal people, I pass stories (s. 36) and experiences on as my own possibly very wrong or reduced view on the matter, and I point out that nothing that is told should be handled as a "scientific" fact.
etc... X-)

yes. I read some books aboriginal culture i listened and saw university people who works on aboriginal culture. And i told what i know ( which is real) to my friends and others people. Especially about the actual situation of aboriginal people in their land.In europe, people don't know aboriginal culture and traditions and they don't know the australian's politic governments against aboriginal people.

Always remember who are the original cultural holders of the didge, no matter what style you play and always show respect in what you do with it.

To explain that it is not a toy or a party piece. No balanda should 'heal' with the instrument; if they do, they are bastards! To blow air through a trunk and make it come alive, using traditional foundation, is like nothing on this earth.

buy genuine or split/artificial not cheaper copies masquerading as the real thing

To somehow impress the world of the richness and fundemental truths that are Aboriginal Culture and that were so nearly lost by the greed of Balanda.

Just be as honest and accurate as you can in answering questions from others. learn all you can and if you don't know, be honest about that too. Others will learn from your example of how you yourself treat the instrument in words and in action.

by always remembering where it came from, what its true purpose was and always remembering to pass this info on to other people

Dont let it go to your ego and try and own it. Remember its not just about you. Didgeridoo is a gift to all who cross its path, respect and share it.

Play it as if you were one with the Earth, sharing that knowledge and the respect of the people who created the ancient instrument.

i heard the didge in Barcelona played by an Italian girl albeit in her own style which was slow and very very meaning-full.....! and i stood and listened and listened to all of her performance and it blew me away..literally! that was approx 7 weeks ago...i now own an authentic didge albeit not Yidaki and now try and play at least 10 to 20 mins ev day whether at break time in work or at i am from scotland and live relatively in a remote area i have only my get as much of the techniques and playing styles etc which can be quite time consuming and are not always long enough to hear all required songs and styles etc....i need a 1 to 1 for a few hours as to acertain a degree of 1 style and several quality beats etc...then another 1 to 1 etc etc etc. keep on playin man..its the only way to to progress!

We need to get back to the basics of life, slow down for a period every day, and go back in time to meditate through ancient music.