Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Didgeridoo First Aid – Repairs Cracks & Fractures in your Didgeridoo

Posted: Monday, May 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

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G’day you mob! Hopin’ you’re all having a whale of a time out there ☺

Today we want to talk to you about physical issues we might face with our didgeridoos along the way. Environmental changes, cracks, hairline fractures, melting wax, electrical tape – and what can we do about it!

First lets start out with some basics about wood in general:

It breathes. It contracts & expands. It resonates.

It is this organic nature of wood that we all know and love, and though its warmth is what makes it desirable as a material for instrument craft, wood can also be at risk to a few elements that can create damage…. Hopefully nothing we can’t take care of however!

Let’s examine a few scenarios and what we can do if they occur:

HAIRLINE FRACTURES

Why do they occur?

Given that a didgeridoo is a tree hollowed out in the bush by termites while it is alive, the drying process for the harvested timber is unique. Unlike a solid log, the tree has to dry with an already exposed core. Most didgeridoo makers go to considerable length to ensure the drying period is slowed down by ‘capping the ends’ of the log (often with PVA glue and sawdust, or the termite tunnel grit that falls away after felling and cleaning the tree) and other techniques such as periodically wetting the logs to further lengthen drying time, log burial, river burial, and storage out of the elements. Rapid drying of a termite-hollowed log would certainly result in a split as the inner and outer layer of the wood dries at different speeds. Drying period for modern didgeridoos of repute should be a minimum of 6 months time before any woodwork is done. The longer the better!
Still, after drying, working, finishing and sealing the didgeridoo there are still factors that put it to the test. The didgeridoo may be exported to a country with very different conditions to its origin, AND the fact that it will be played powerfully with mucho gusto by its new owner is worth consideration. The powerful vibrations and pressure within the didgeridoo are strong things indeed.

We have seen and heard stories of hairline fractures occurring on small tough $99 didgeridoos, as well as high performance $2000 mega boontahs! A surprising number of serious touring artists proudly display their favourite didge, used for intensely for15 years, and held together with bands of electrical tape (from all corners of the globe!)
The moral is – yes, cracks can sometimes occur. Sometimes completely out of the blue. But what can you do about it if it happens to you?

CAN IT BE FIXED?

Yes! Maybe!

A hairline fracture of around 1-2mm width would be the most common occurrence if anything. This is very easily fixed with a piece of fine-grit sandpaper and a tube of Superglue.

Technique:

Apply the superglue across the length of the fracture. Then straight away begin to sand across the split with the sandpaper. The wood dust will merge with the drying glue and in less than one minute’s time you will have a filled gap that is super dooper strong, and ready to roll! I have applied this technique to didges of my own and am satisfied. Note, of course, that if the split has occurred over artwork then this will need to be touched up with appropriate paints, perhaps in an ochre colour base to match the natural tones of Australian colour.

Another common technique that is very useful for slightly larger splits is to make a paste out of sawdust & PVA wood glue. A thick paste, then applied across the crack and left to dry before sanding it back to a solid and smooth state. Paint or finish as normal.

WILL IT EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN?

Most definitely. There are some who feel that once a didge has cracked it has ‘released the pressure’ so to speak, and should remain strong, if not STRONGER than it was before. Drilling and plugging with a small wooden dowel is also a technique we have seen some didgeridoo makers use to prevent a crack from lengthening. This would be done at the end(s) of the fracture.

TOP VS THE BOTTOM OF THE DIDGERIDOO

A crack occurring within say, the top third of your didgeridoo equates to a dramatic loss in backpressure and therefore playability – and needs to be dealt with immediately. If a crack occurs toward the bell-end of your instrument (most likely cased from impact, or perhaps playing on the hot sand of a beach) the pressure will not be affected so much, but it is still best to address the crack, lest it increase in size over time with the vibration of playing.

WILL BEESWAX DO THE JOB?

If you are serious about your didgeridoo journey – forget about it. Beeswax is a soft substance, and with climatic conditions can melt away, or vibrate its way out of the crack. It can shrink and dry and should only be used as a temporary measure if any. An outdated technique.

ANY OTHER FILLERS?

Strong and flexible is the key for didge repair, hence the sawdust/wood glue combination being king amongst repair methods. Still, two other suggestions we have to offer are:

: layers of Epoxy Resin (useful for those MAKING their own didgeridoo and are heading towards the sealing stage of their production) can be liberally applied to the crack and the instrument at large to seal it from the elements externally and internally!

: Balga resin. The grasstree (Xanthorrhoea sp.) has an amazing resin that exudes from the plant after a bushfire. This resin has been used since time immemorial in Australia as a fixative for sharp stone heads to wooden handles and many other purposes. It is an amazing substance with a brilliant and earthy scent, and the colour of deep magenta glass. This would also do nicely as a gap filler for didgeridoos, and you may wish to include grit from sand, wood, or ground termite tunnels.

GREAT! ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT HOW CAN I AVOID CRACKS?

Although sometimes despite every effort they may occur, the best thing you can do for your didgeridoo is to keep it in an insulated padded weatherproof bag when travelling or not playing it. This certainly cuts down any elemental risk. Our bag maker ‘SNAKESKINS UPHOLSTERY’ are kings amongst quality, and are happy to custom design a bag to fit any didgeridoo in the world. Drop us a line with your dimensions should you feel the need – and we will see it done. Alternatively, we stock several standard sized bags available for purchase here:

http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Buy-Didgeridoo-Bags-Online-s/5.htm

For traditional yidaki, didges on the more raw side, or didgeridoos that are unsealed on the inside – it can be beneficial to ‘ease into it’ in the early days of play. Allow the instrument to be slowly accustomed to intense vibration and the presence of saliva by limiting play to 15 minutes or so per session for the first couple of weeks after receiving your new instrument. It is not necessary, but hey… it can’t hurt right? Raw cored didgeridoos may also enjoy a coating of oil on the inside once a year to keep things groovy. Orange oil, boiled linseed oil, Tung oil, and Danish oil are favourites. Cap the ends of your didge with plastic wrap and elastic bands and tip the oil around inside until coated before draining it out and leaving to dry.

Avoid extreme climate changes such as taking your didgeridoo into the woods at night and having a great ol’ play, then wandering home and leaving it near the warm fireplace, or playing down the beach with friends in the sun all day only to use it as a paddle for your kayak whilst you oar your way home, bushman style.

So, we hope you find this information useful. The team here at Didgeridoo Breath are always here to help with any specific questions you may have along your didgeridoo journey – big or small. Let’s keep the banter going, and keep our community strong as we bring the world’s most ancient instrument into the spotlight.

Keep your vibrations strong, and keep the fires burning you beautiful people.

Lotsa love from the coast of WA.

Benni Böötz, of the Didgeridoo Breath Mob

Melbourne Didgeridoo & Cultural Festival – The DB Story

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

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Midnight. A great wind rises up from the Southern Ocean. A single raven crows from the distant fenceline as Sanshi, Koji, & Böötsie are lifted off the tarmac with their tools towards a little town folks call ‘Mel-bunn’.

Firstly, let us give thanks to the genuine cowgirl who offered to take Böötsie’s “overweight” didge onto her baggage allowance so that we could all make it across. Cheers darl! After touchdown at Melbourne Airport she decided to shed denim to show Koji-san her latest tattoo.

And with that the festivities had begun, and the infamous rock n roll didgeridoo lifestyle was feeding the many-headed beast of the night in a fresh new town. The boys hired a car and hooked up the polite Japanese street-map voice to direct us over to the Mornington Peningsula where one could caffeinate oneself with correctly-served long macchiatos and jam heartily on wind instruments till the Mornington cows come home.

We stayed with Anne Norman of BREATH (http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/Breath-Ocean-Breath-CD-p/cd-26.htm) and got a few hours practice in to balance the sounds of a largely improvised set, under the influence of pu-erh and driftwood. We sought further inspiration from the waves and the setting sun over Gunnamatta beach (epic!) and after an Afghani banquet – we were energized & ready to perform.

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The location of the Melbourne Didgeridoo & Cultural Festival was ideal. A quaint town, an easy street, a big flowing river, a green bush setting, a big stage at the base of a gentle hill. As we arrived, good people were already at work building a mandala of ochre and gum leaves across the earth. Marquee stalls of proud looking gents and shiny logs of wood dazzled the eye. Didgeridoo Breath held a space between our friends Ganga Giri and Bruce Rogers, who would both be performing that day and were in good spirits.

Melbourne Didgeridoo Festival 2014 Night Stage

There was a lot of didge-talk that day. Punters from all over had congregated to learn more about how they could become involved with the oldest instrument of all mankind. There were lessons all day, talks of technique, waxing, tooting, fluting, commuting. Many hundreds of people! There was a ‘drone’ in the air it seemed.

Everyone performed well that day, and we had some real joy both on stage and off. A big thank you to the friends & fans who travelled to the festival to hear us play! The energy was well received.
A particularly special moment was an impromptu duet between Mark Atkins (yes, THE Mark Atkins) and Ondrej Smeykal (yes, THE Smeykal) – WOW!! The best in the classic bushman’s sound together with the best in contemporary technique was a rare moment, and many found themselves within a trance. We certainly tipped our hats to this powerful combo.

What we take from great events like this is a feeling of connectedness. Of One Big Mob. There were people there from countless cultural backgrounds, all sharing their differences, similarities, and respect for the didgeridoo, it’s origins, the people, and the land. On a larger scale, it was clear by the great sea of smiles all round that music in general prevails once again to bridge all gaps and take us to a higher place. A place we belong.

Melbourne Didgeridoo Festival 2014 Breath Anne Norman Sanshi and Ben Greatwitch

Thank you to Colin & the boys from the Didge Circle for running the show.
Congratulations to our prize winners on the day.
See you all next year ☺

Benni Böötz

Melbourne Didgeridoo Festival 2014 si didge winner

The Didge Breath Boys Hit Melbourne!

Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized
photo credit - gary radler

photo credit – gary radler

April is upon us and it is time for the 5th annual DIDGERIDOO & CULTURAL FESTIVAL. Sanshi & Benni are off to represent the West-Coast sound, meet some amazing people, and absorb some amazing culture.

The festival is held on Wurundjeri land, and all begins of course with the traditional Welcome to Country. There will be heaps to explore there including workshops on didgeridoo, painting, traditional dance & boomerang throwing, tucker stalls all around, good cultural entertainment for the kiddies – and of course, world class musicians, with world class didgeridoos ☺

This year’s line up will include Ganga Giri, Bruce Rogers, Ondrej Smeykal, Tongue’N’Groove, Rael Birkett, Stax, One Fire Dance Troupe, Dr.Didge, Sanshi & co, Bunna Lawrie, Shamantara, the Didge Circle, Koji Matsumoto, Ann Norman, Lachie Phelps, Krazy Koala, James Daley, Brent Watkins, Rachel Shields, Heath James-Blade and the Tye Brothers.

Should you drone-lovers find yourself in and around ol’ Melbourne town this weekend you might want to cancel tea with Aunty Mavis and head over to get your dose of original culture experience, expand your breath with the confidence of 40,000+ year old traditions, immerse yourself in the company of good healthy people after a natural good time, have a good stomp or two, and most of all become inspired for more!

We are pumped, and are looking forward to sharing some improvised music, as well as pieces by BREATH. Look out for our Didgeridoo Breath Stall within the festival grounds – we will be giving away some great prizes to new DooNews signups such as the chance to win a FREE didgeridoo, and a LIFETIME DOJO MEMBERSHIP!!

Hope to see you all there ☺
Much love

The Didgeridoo Breath Mob.

http://www.didgefestival.com

www.didgeridoobreath.com

www.didgeridoodojo.com

Sacred Flutes with Didgeridoo Breath

Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Hi Good-Vibers

Been playing your didge hardcore but still have breath to spare?? How about some downtime with some very special flutes! Let us tell you all about them…

We have in our collection a vast new spread of handmade, one-of-a-kind, wooden flutes made by the artist Blue Star. Each flute is fashioned with love from local (Australian) & exotic woods, and based on the  designs of the Plains Area Native American Flute & the Drone Flute. Some of the flutes are a perfectly balanced blend of two different woods that show contrasts in colour, and really look the part. Each flute is both robust and lightweight, making carrying one around with you at all times very satisfying. Some of the Didgeridoo Breath Tribe have bound theirs with a leather strap to carry them over the back. Yezza!

The Flutes are incredibly simple to play, and come in a HUGE variety of keys and tunings. If you ever played a recorder in primary school then you will have no problem with one of these. If only we got to play on these as kids, class would have sounded like a bird-filled forest or the wind over a rocky canyon instead of an onslaught of plastic canons!

To play the flute, simply spread your fingers along the flute and cover the holes with the fleshy part of your fingertips. Some flutes have 6 holes, some have a 7th hole underneath for your thumb. Next you just gently press your lips to the mouthpiece and blow softly as if you were warming your hands with your own breath on a cold day. The Totem block sits in the “nest” towards the mouthpiece, and is bound to the flute body with strips of soft braided leather. It is here the breath is transformed into a sweet woody & airy note that can instantly silence a room and melt a heart or two. Raising a finger starting from the bottom up, will work your way up the particular scale of the flute. There are also other combinations of finger placements to explore to find additional hidden notes. We have experimented a bit and have found that circular breathing can be used on the flutes carved with the smallest mouthpiece size. Bonus!!

Blue Star flutes are fine-tuned to very specific frequencies, and the ancient Solfeggio (the old healing frequencies common in tuning many years ago) is taken into account on many of them. There are also options for modern common tuning and the frequency for the tonic of each flute is listed on the website. Scales available (the way the flute moves between notes, beginning at the lowest note – the tonic) include minors, majors, arabic, and “Blue Star” – his own personal scale 🙂

So if you feel like a sacred flute is an instrument you would like to have in your collection, then feel free to browse through the types available, or contact us with your questions. For many a jam we have included a flute or two, stuffed easily into a didge bag or wrapped in a piece of felt. They compliment the didge sound amazingly well, and offer a drone or melody to “rest the ear” in between long didge sessions. Better bring a nice deep skin drum too for the perfect night in or out.

Check them out here:

http://www.didgeridoobreath.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=flute

 

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Didgeridoo Breath Friends in the world!

Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

Send us your didge photo in iconic place!
Dennis with his new Earl Clements Didge from Didge Breath in front of OUTBACK stake house in Florida USA!
Richard in the Old train tunnel with his didge! It should be amazing natural reverb!!!

Dronin’ in Khao Binn, baby!

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

April 10-13

 

It was just before ‘Songkran’ Thailand’s New Year festivities and celebrations, the air was warm and thick and we weren’t covered in water and powder just yet. We were in fact off to another kind of festival. A music, art and cultural festival to delight the ears and eyes they said and it sure was!! Set in Ratchaburi about a hundred clicks west of Bangkok, the land is thick with forest and hills and caves and it’s where monkeys roam the streets in packs, watch out cause they’ll take your fruit and they’ll take your loot..

It was in one of these caves the festival was to take place. She was as tall as she was wide, and I’ll tell ya, it was the one of the grandest caves these eyes have ever seen! There was a reclining Buddha about 30ft across at one end of the cave and another sitting in lotus and basking in the afternoon light through three holes in the roof of the cave that looked like a face to the outside world.

So anyways, the show must go on and it did. There were scientific sound experiments, animations and films projected on the walls, traditional puppet theatres and of course music. That’s where I came in. I was to play flute and didgeridoo during a puppet performance, the theme, good verses evil. The show started with the sound of a shakuhachi flute and Thai drums and xylophone. The puppeteers came out 3 per puppet and danced to the beat of the drum. The sounds were mystical and bounced all the way through the ancient cave, that coupled with the visuals of the puppets and puppeteers who were dressed in black and white and wore full face masks was amazing.

The show started to get fiery with monkeys fighting and even a crocodile getting evolved, so we thought this the best time to introduce the didgeridoo sounds, I tried to follow the battle and used many vocals and shouts that bounced through the cave and sounded as if there was more didges than one. The battle was over with the crocodile s arrival and I felt it right to wash away the fight with a long soft toot.

Most people there were amazed by the sound of the didgeridoo, and I was asked to do an interview for a local TV station, it felt nice to spread the good vibes that this instrument takes wherever it goes.

Well that just about does it. Good times, good people and a good festival. All good aye!!

 

Thanks for reading my rant, many good vibes to you and happy didgin’

Elliot

 

 

 

 

BREATH Launch off from Port Town 10/8/13

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

In case you haven’t heard yet; Sanshi’s fusion band BREATH has been conceived, and is wowing audiences around the continent with their breath-based fusion beats!

Their first album “Ocean Breath” is now out and was launched right here at Didgeridoo Breath in Fremantle, WA.

These three players bring an incredible combination of talent, sounds and colours:
Anne conjures melodies that sing through the shakuhachi, inspired by the time and place, and the sounds offered by her musical partners;
Sanshi plays didjeridoo with a power and creative flare that combines rhythms of Arnhem land with street tribal;
Reo simply astounds with what he is able to create with his mouth. There is a synthesizer and drum-kit hiding in there somewhere!

They play music rooted in the moment: Intuitive music-making that builds evocative soundscapes and then bursts into rhythms that makes you want to get up and dance. Combining the haunting and meditative sounds of shakuhachi with the mesmeric and pulsing drone of the didj and the playful soundscapes of Reo’s mouth and breath.

It was a colourful night in the shop and the love was felt by all.

A big thanks to guest performers Toshinori Sakamoto (taiko), Lee Buddle (sax, recorder, frog and slide flute), Jun Ando (guitar) and Aiko Ushizuka (Mystique dance). And an even bigger thanks to friends who came to hear us and celebrate the release of Ocean Breath.

Though they weren’t there, Breath members thanked their two Silver Sponsors on our Pozible Campaign: Matt Reed and Kirsten Larsen – for their generous donations in helping us complete the CD project. also thanked our other Breath Angels – those who ordered CDs and downloads as a part of Pozible.

Breath trio will be touring in Japan

September-October 2013! so if you are in the area, don’t miss out for the Breath Encounter!!!

 

NAIDOC Week in Fremantle, 2013

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

NAIDOC is a week of celebrations held each year in July throughout Australia, to celebrate and commemorate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s culture, history and achievements. These particular events are celebrated not only by the Indigenous community, but Australians from all walks of life. We here at Didgeridoo Breath are always in full support of all celebrations, and what better way to support NAIDOC week then to be lucky enough to teach some Indigenous and non-Indigenous boys from Christ Church Grammar School some cool techniques on the didgeridoo. A number of the Indigenous boys were from Kununurra and another from Broome. Three boys could already rip a few sounds from the didg’ while the others picked up new techniques along the way. Over a period of six weeks, Zac was teaching the young men some traditional rhythms in preparation for their NAIDOC week celebrations. Zac was invited to share in the celebrations at Christ Church Grammar School (CCGS) in Claremont, Western Australia, where the boys performed the didgeridoo piece, followed by a traditional Kununurra dance, accompanied by didge and clap sticks. Zac told us here about the performance and how incredible it was to see what he had showed the boys, and of course to see some traditional dance from the North-West. We look forward to keeping in contact with the CCGS young men over the next few years to see how their impressive didge playing is going.

Here are some quick facts about NAIDOC Week.
–    NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.
–    With a growing awareness of the distinct cultural histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NADOC was expanded to recognise Torres Strait Islander people and culture. The committee then became known as the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC). This new name has become the title for the whole week, not just the day. Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect the important issues and events for NAIDOC Week.

DB Staff & Friends Didge Concert Warms off the Winter Warnings

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 in Uncategorized


It was our absolute pleasure as always to host a relaxed and open plan gig right here in store this past Thursday 18th July.
The lineup was super juicy, and the turnout was even better!
Sanshi welcomed one and all and settled to space into a creative lounge room of colour and sound. The deep didges were released from their stands…. and away we go…. not to land again for some hours.
Joining Sanshi on stage was nine-year-old Coen from Kalamunda (Perth Hills). Seriously….. this young man, who has been playing (in this life) for only one year journeyed with the style, pace, and energy that only a well-seasoned player can understand. Jaws hit the floor as Coen revealed his innate understanding for this most ancient of instruments and excitement rose as we paid witness to the very future of the Didgeridoo world. Far out young master.

The DB Boys felt in fine form as their numerous sets transcended the sense of time – listeners all took their time in floating back down to breathe into their bodies again before the room was full of applause! A great sign ☺.
Is four didgeridoos in the key of D too much?? Nuzza! We spoke of Zac’s travel to Mongolia and the home of an entirely different drone – the Khoomei. The Dharma Darts gave a fine example of several different styles of Khoomei (Mongolian style overtone singing), beginning as individual tones, then in 4 part harmony accompanied by the Shruti Box & Udongo. A one-way ticket to Overtone City. Yezza!

Another stand out performance was made by UN – a collaboration by Japanese & Korean musicians Tak & Sam. These guys took contemporary technique and expanded upon it into a psychedelic organic electro trance fusion frenzy that left the crowd hungry for more! Amazing control from two diligent players that have only been playing for a year or so. Such a fine example of what can be achieved when your enjoy putting your energy into using a didgeridoo.

Other notable sets included a surprisingly South-West sounding didge/guitar combo by travelling muso Junando (Japan) with a flavor we could all relate to down here, an introduction to Capoeira, its amazing rhythms, and the Brazilian Berimbau by Lee “Ourico” Coumbe from Capoeria Cordao De Ouro Perth (www.capoeiracdoperth.com.au), Florian from France who has been here with us for his entire didge journey thusfar – practicing during shop hours to hone his skills after 5 months and now enjoying the stage, and Steve Andrews – the newest member of the DB Team performing an original composition in key of C (base chakra) aimed at sending down roots to ground ourselves (not hard in a room for of didge players) accompanied by friends.

We like to end these cozy sessions with a bit of a bang, so to wrap it all up it was “out with the drums” all sizes and shapes! Voice of the Goddess channeled by our good friend Skye, didge in high demand and high supply, sitting still? – no alibi! So come down next time and try ☺
We aim to host events like these once a month here at Didgeridoo Breath. So if you have the urge to visit our humble and funky port town of Fremantle, Western Australia – come make yourself known to us and share your sounds with the people. These nights leave us all feeling connected and close, relaxed and invigorated, and above all inspired.

Until next time brothers & sisters.
Warm Vibrations
The Didgeridoo Breath Team.

New Arnhem land Yidaki and wood carvings have arrived!!

Posted: Saturday, February 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

The arnhem winds came blowing into fremantle today and with it came an awesome batch of yidaki and wood carvings!! Keep posted for web uploads videos and photos… happy vibes from us Didgeridoo Breath mob. 🙂