Three days in the bush created strong ties to culture and country when Anaiwan Local Aboriginal Land Council coordinated a recent Didgeridoo workshop.
The activity, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, offered the 14 like-minded men of all ages the chance to learn how to create and play a Didgeridoo, or “didge”, of their own while reconnecting to country at Guyra and Tingha.
Anaiwan LALC Chief Executive Officer Greg Livermore said the idea was to take the men right through the process of making the iconic instruments from beginning to end.
“We started by going out on country to identify where didges are, finding the hollowed-out trees where the termites have been, walking in the bush, tapping on trees, cutting them, stripping them back and preparing them so that we had an instrument which could be played at the end of the day,” Greg explained.
Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Aboriginal Communities Officer (and long-time Didgeridoo craftsman), Harry White, helped prepare the workshop participants with instruction on how to source the timber and the different tools required for sculpting the didges.
Greg said the men became immersed in the process, with most completing their instruments for playing in one day. Once the participants had their blanks ready, beeswax mouthpieces were fitted to help give the unique sound to the Didgeridoo.
Experienced players Josh Blair from Inverell and David Landsborough from Tingha were on hand to lead the men through the basic elements of getting “the voice” from the instrument through the difficult technique of circular breathing.
Greg said the time spent as a group built camaraderie and lasting memories and connections.
“The young fellows in the group got a lot out of the experience – learning with and from the older men. This is something that I think they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
“And that’s a good thing because they’ll be able to teach other people.”