The History of Didgeridoo…

In Aboriginal culture, the « Dreamtime » is the foundation of their beliefs about the origins of the world. “BUR BUK BOON” was a person who protected his family by preserving them from the dark and cold outside world. He was preparing the fire to keep warmth and light in their homes. BUR BUK BOON found a tree branch on the ground which was dug by termites still present in the heart of this branch. He took the branch and gently blew in to gently pull the termites out … and an incredible sound was heard … expelling the termites in the sky in the middle of the night, forming the Milky Way! This strange sound would protect and bless our Earth and all the souls and spirits of DREAMTIME for eternity…

Voir nos Didgeridoos

The History of Didgeridoo…

The didgeridoo is around 20 000 years old. It is certainly the most “simple” instrument that the human being knows to this day, because it is an instrument without mechanics and that works only with the breath and the vibration of the lips of the man.

The real didgeridoo is made from a eucalyptus tree whose core is eaten and hollowed out by termites, while still in the ground and alive. This phenomenon occurs only in the Northern Region of Australia. Of course, termites are present everywhere on our planet. But the fact that they just eat the heart of the tree and then leave it as it is… it only happens on this huge continent… and nobody has a tangible explanation for this phenomenon.

Then comes the hand of the man. That is to say that in this case it is about my Aborigine friend and myself who will cut the eucalyptus trees which are thus hollow at the base. Then we keep the trunk which is so “hollow”, to make a didgeridoo through several stages.

But before all these manufacturing steps, know that you have to apply for a “cutting permit” to the Australian government, and then another application to the company that manages the protection of forests and national parks. Not to mention also the proper visa in terms of work in a territory other than his own.

If, however, a fantasy animates you like: you would like to go for a walk in the Bush, in the depths of Australia, and come-back with a crude didgeridoo that you cut “à l’arrache” as they say at home. And know that you are fined $ 75 000 AUD and 1 year imprisonment… so if you want to play… it’s up to you ! The following steps after the cut are :

– drying period (6 months to 5 years approximately)

– cleaning and phyto-sanitary treatment

– remove bark, planing, sanding

– to award the instrument note

– application of the mouth

– varnishing and finishes

Originally, there were hundreds of aboriginal communities in Australia. For the tribes concerned, the name “Didgeridoo” was born during colonialism.

The genesis of this instrument is that the tribes, in their native dialects, have given them different names, such as “YIDAKI”, “MOLOO”, “IHAMBILBIG” etc., and which define the name or the word “Didgeridoo” given by settlers during their invasions.

Moreover, Westerners write it differently, like Didgeridoo or Didjeridoo.

The didgeridoo is an instrument used in rituals called “Corroborées”, which are sacred moments where aboriginal tribes sing and dance paying homage by praising our planet. Several dances such as “kangaroo dance”, “eagle dance”, “hunter dance” etc. are mentioned for example.

The player vibrates his lips to obtain the basic fundamental vibration (also called “drone or drone”). Then he will add additional sounds with his tongue, throat, voice and diaphragm, thus imitating the surrounding nature embellished with traditional rhythms.

Circular breathing to play “continuously” is a fundamental technique that the player use to. That is to say, he plays the didgeridoo without the sound stops, which brings an “flying” effect when listening carefully.

The longer a didgeridoo is, the more serious it will be. The sound of the didgeridoo corresponds to a note (C, D, E, etc.).

Didgeridoo is also used to treat certain diseases or stress, such as sleep apnea.

Some of my students quit smoking thanks to this instrument of the night of time !

Raphael Didjaman.


Didgeridoo Artist / Maker & Producer.