How did I discover the didge?

A didge shop in Cairns

We’ve all got our own story of how we were introduced to the didge and how we fell in love with it. My didgeridoo journey began around 2003 when travelling up far north Queensland by myself. I was fishing one night off a small bridge in the middle of nowhere just north of Inisvale, and not catching many fish either! It was there that a fellow fisherman turned up out of the blue to throw a line in as well. He happened to have a didgeridoo with him in the back of his ute and began to play it as we fished. As the fishing wasn’t providing a lot of action for us both we got chatting about didge and music and he offered me a go on his didge. I played it rather easily and was instantly hooked! I just loved it so much I had to get one, the sound and the feel of it really worked with me. It was an ideal instrument for me at the time as I was on a bit of a “coming of age journey” or “go find yaself” kind of trip I guess. I traveled mostly solo though remote Australia, hitch-hiking around enjoying some of the best sights and sounds Australia’s nature had to offer. Within the next few weeks I found a nice little aboriginally owned didge shop in Cairns and I began to look around there for my own stick to learn on. It was there in that didge shop that I met an aboriginal artist named Wuduri Wiriundjara. He was in the shop collecting some pay for artworks
he had sold, he chatted to me a while in the shop and then helped me select a good didge to learn on, he said “how much money can you afford?” I said “not much sorry!” ha ha so he said “go wait in that cafe over the road, and I’ll get you this didge for half price, meet me there in 20 minutes.” So I gave him my money and off I went.

When he arrived back from the didge shop to meet me he had with him the nice didj I’d selected with him. I was super happy to have it, I now had my own stick! So I holed up in a cheap little room in the rain-forest village of Kuranda up the range above Cairns. Wuduri lived up there too and took me under his wing I guess. He taught me how to play the didge properly, with correct breathing and timing and a traditional didge healing technique. But not only that, he also taught me a lot about his people and his culture and their way of thinking. It was over those months that I really developed a love for the aboriginal people of Australia and took a keen interest in their way of life and thinking. He was a funny guy Wuduri, very wise, kind, thoughtful, encouraging yet very strict in his teachings as well. I remember him constantly saying no, no, no, you’re not listening, you’re doing it wrong! It was frustrating at the time, though now, I must credit him for his amazing patience while teaching me after a few months there hanging out with him. We parted ways with a hug and a smile as I hit the road further north again. Me, my guitar, my backpack and of course, my didge.

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