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The Didge Breath Boys Hit Melbourne!

Posted by Monday, March 31, 2014 | No Comments
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


Tuning a Didge

Posted by Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 1 Comment
“Tuning a Didge”
ellswood by the fire

ellswood by the fire

 

 

We often get asked here at Didgeridoo Breath – “Lads… what do you mean the didge has a key??” So let’s break it down once and for all now…

 

Key, in musical terms, is another way to describe a note. It could be the Key Signature of a written piece of music – a particular note that becomes the basis from which other notes progress in relation to, and usually come back to. You may have heard a jazz band calling out amongst themselves which “key” they will play the song in this time. They are speaking about a foundation key, also called “the tonic”.

 

In the Didge World, we are dealing with drone instruments that (with the exception of sliding multi-key didgeridoos) by and large have one note/pitch at which they drone…. this note is the key of the didgeridoo!

 

We would love to say that there was an easy formula to guarantee the note of a didgeridoo, but due to a variety of organic factors it can be tricky to pick just by looking at the instrument. For example, if all didgeridoos were made out of uniform PVC tubing, the same width and thickness all the way through, we could easily say that the longer the didgeridoo – the deeper the note. However, an authentic didgeridoo is a Eucalyptus tree hollowed out by termites as it grows over numerous years in the various climates and regions of the continent of Australia.  It could be a Bloodwood tree from the tropics of the Cape, or a Mallee from the rainforests of Queensland.  It could be a Salmongum from the dry wheatbelts of Western Australia or a Stringybark from Arnhemland.  Each of these growing conditions will have an effect on the consistency  & density of the instrument wood. This has much to do with affecting the “timbre” of the overall sound as well as the final key.

 

Still, shape is by far the swaying factor when it comes to the key of a particular didge. Here at Didgeridoo Breath we have didgeridoos as small as they come (just under 1 metre) that may be in the key of F#, for example. We also have huge and heavy didges on the professional wall that may be 1.4 metres long and ALSO in the key of F#.  Although the reasoning behind this is still a bit of a mystery to us (and we like it that way!), we can say however that a large F# will always overpower a small F# when it comes to volume, clarity, and general vibrational juiciness. Let this be a Rule of Thumb for you should you come across a decision between two same-key didgeridoos of different shapes. It is within the first 1/3rd or so of the length of the didgeridoo that the majority of the Key is determined. The remaining portion and shape being the resonator for that note. This is handy information for anyone out there interested in making his or her own didgeridoo. Cut a slice of wood off the top of a didge and witness the key change reasonably dramatically, yet cut the same size piece off from the base of a didge and the key change will be minimal.

 

A didgeridoo maker, once they have cut their tree using ethical & sustainable practices will go about their drying process for the wood. This may take anywhere from a few days to a few years, and can be approached from many angles. Some traditional methods include burying the didgeridoo tree in earth & lighting a fire above, placing it in a flowing river to wash out tannins, soaking it in the salt water of the sea, or air drying over time. For a long-lasting & high quality didgeridoo, we suggest that the longer/slower the drying process – the better and more reliably durable the wood will be.

 

Once dry, further woodwork is done including thinning the walls and widening the interior of the bell beyond the termite tunnel to improve resonance. Thinning back the walls of the instrument will raise the key slightly, or rather; prevent a “muddy” sound.

 

Some didgeridoo makers, once satisfied with their woodwork, will leave the didgeridoo length as is, and let the didge simply speak for itself. Others will “Tune their Didge” as this stage by cutting slices from the mouthpiece to raise the key to an appropriate note. It is important to check closely at this stage because you cannot UNCUT a piece of your didge of course!

 

Assuming the wood is well dried and sealed, the didge length is set, and a mouthpiece is affixed – the boys at Didgeridoo Breath would consider the key SET. You may notice that some didgeridoos on our website will show the Key of the instrument and some numbers next to the Key. For example: D (444Hz), or F (440Hz). This is to say that when we have put our frequency tuner near the didge to measure the key, we have either set it to Common Tuning (A=440Hz), or a more traditional tuning method such as the old Solfeggio (more on that in a later post ya’ll!). Certain climatic extremes may effect the Key of your didgeridoo in the way that they effect the conditions of wood in general. If you own a didgeridoo and are playing in the heat or frost – keep it in your insulated Oilskin bag as much as possible to avoid the wood shrinking/expanding.

 

Before too long, you will be able to develop an ear for the key of a didgeridoo and know what is what. Beyond this you may find that you also develop a greater understanding of which key will work for you or a particular mood at any one time. Everything has a resonant frequency (a frequency at which a substance begins to resonate and come “alive with energy”). Certain keys resonate in our bodies in different parts, and correspond to the major chakras and their match in the colour spectrum in terms of frequency.

 

If you have any interest in these subjects – feel free to write to us and get a dialogue going, or create a post in the www.didgehq.com forums. We are all enjoying working towards a greater understanding of our art and how vibrations effect the nature of all things.

 

– Benni Böötz


5 MUST SEE events this March at DIDGERIDOO BREATH

Posted by Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | No Comments
5 MUST SEE events this March at DIDGERIDOO BREATH

5 MUST SEE events this March at DIDGERIDOO BREATH

Join us here at Didgeridoo Breath this March for an incredible selection of didgeridoo flavoured magic & mystique as we showcase some of your favourites planet’s musical medicine makers…. Mmmmm!

1. SOL-R + KYLE RAVIN + DB CREW
Thursday, 13th of March: 7pm – 10pm

Thursday the 13th of March, will see SOL-R the unique French Gypsy-Groove/Reggae-Ska Freo band sharing their musical medicine with the groovers and shakers that will grace the floors of Didgeridoo Breath.

SOL-R music is inspired by many years of travelling from continent to continent.. True life stories, all original songs written and composed by Bruno Michel, French troubadour multi-instrumentalist now based in Fremantle, WA.Performed by talented local and international musicians on flute, didjeridoo, drums, bass, guitar, xylophone, vocals harmonies with an unique, delicious French touch..!

Kyle Ravin, Illusionist and Master of Ceremonies. Winner of Most outstanding Magician and two time record setter in the Singapore Book Of Records. Multiple Award winning magician and Star of Vasantham’s MAYA.

Blending world class magic and illusion for events with top notch event hosting, Kyle Ravin has been the go to Entertainer and Emcee for numerous corporations Nationwide.

Get ready for a wonderful, uplifting journey which will make your heart vibrate till you feel it in your shoes and jump high on the dance floor! !

2. MATSUMOTO ZOKU
Friday, 21st of March: 7pm – 10pm

Contemporary Stateless Musical Duo, Koji Matsumoto and Reo Matsumoto.

Matsumoto Zoku like fish in the river of life, move with the natural flow of sound and energy. They merge urban vocal beats with the softer edge of the Halo and Didge creating a playful, serene and yet vibrant sound. Their intuitive and unique music is inspired by their extensive travels busking internationally, this creates an original and emotive style and groove. Their music is a unique blend of polarities merging, like the sun and moon, cacophony and silence, they are both urban and wild in their essence.

3. ONDREJ SMEYKAL
Friday, 28th of March: 7pm – 10pm

A one-man Didgeridoo orchestra is perhaps the best way of describing the extraordinary music of phenomenal Didgeridoo player Ondrej Smeykal . His highly original style of play is the result of a life completely devoted to his instrument. For well over a decade and with ever increasing intensity, Ondrej has been developing and redefining his own unique approach to the Didgeridoo. His predominant use of unusually long Didges and “extensions” of up to 4 metres in length, enable him to play incredibly deep tones and to produce a much wider range of sounds and overtones than are possible on regular didgeridoos. Each composition, or song, as he refers to it, is very different in style, ranging from break-beat and organic Didgeridoo techno, to trance, ambient and anywhere in between.

4. JEREMY CLOAKE – Interactive Yidaki Seminar
Thursday 3rd of April: 7pm – 8pm

This is an informal seminar that is open to everyone who has an interest in the yidaki. Jeremy will share some of his knowledge and experiences from working in North East Arnhemland since 2000. Yidaki making and playing techniques will be discussed as well as various styles of yidaki. Towards the end of the seminar people will be given the opportunity to try an instrument with Jeremy’s guidance and there will be Q and A. People of all ages are welcome. The duration of the seminar is usually around an hour.

5. JEREMY CLOAKE YIDAKI WORKSHOPS
Saturday, 5th of April (Introductory Class) 11am – 4pm
Sunday, 6th of April (Advanced Class) 11am – 4pm

Introductory Class
If you have ever felt that the Yolngu playing techniques from North East Arnhem Land  are too difficult to manage, then this is the workshop for you! In this workshop Jeremy breaks these playing styles down into simple and easily learned individual sounds. During the workshop these sounds are practised and refined with many distinctions made regarding tongue position and movement, pressure control and use of the voice. Then they are put together into phrases that are repeated to become rhythms. Jeremy has been teaching this workshop internationally since 2001 and to this day still continues to refine his teaching methods and the content of his workshops. He is a professionally trained teacher and takes pride in delivering accurate and relevant information that is delivered in a straightforward way. This workshop is usually between 3 and 4 hours depending on the size of the group.

Advanced Class
This workshop continues on further with information from the introductory yidaki workshop, so it is necessary to have done it first. The phrases learnt in the introductory workshop are practised and refined then developed. Many different phrases are taught in a way which simplifies their complexity. Participants of this workshop will gain an excellent understanding on the principles of yidaki playing, together with composition skills and playing dexterity. Jeremy has been teaching this workshop internationally since 2001 and to this day still continues to refine his teaching methods and the content of his workshops. He is a professionally trained teacher and takes pride in delivering accurate and relevant information that is delivered in a straightforward way. This workshop is usually around 3 hours, depending on the size of the group.


Si’s Red Belly Black Fibreglass Didgeridoo….Now at Didgeridoo Breath

Posted by Friday, March 7, 2014 | No Comments

SI Red Belly BlackSI Red Belly Black

All of us here at Didgeridoo Breath were didgn’ stoked when the box of Si‘s new fibreglass didgeridoos arrived at the shop last week. A few us were even lucky enough to test them out straight outta the packaging.

Here is our didge test drive of the new Si Red Belly Black fibreglass didgeridoo!

First impressions first, these didgeridoos are LOUD and very POWERFUL! It is easy to get carried away playing the Red Belly Black they have an awesome clear sound, with great back pressure, when playing you just want to play faster and faster and faster.

The Red Belly Black has a unique mouthpiece bowl, custom designed by Si himself. Although most of us in the shop have been playing for quite a while, we found it incredibly easy to achieve the toot on the Red Belly Black with the added bonus of the toot matching the tone of the didge (both in the musical key of F!). There were also mentions from some staff that they found the tone reflective of traditional yidaki style.

The Red Belly Black also incorporates a specialised rubber lining around the bell of the didge, which is a pretty cool addition for any busker or performer who likes to send out their didgeridoo musical medicine for all on a rough playing surface.

Come test them out in the shop for yourself if you are in the Fremantle area, or check out some of our sound samples on the product page to bear witness to the power of the Red Belly Black and have some FUN!
Si’s playing style has long been associated with speed and incredible versatility, now it’s your turn. Harness the ferocity of the red belly black and get didgn’ mate!

RED BELLIED BLACK DETAILS:
• Fibre-glass didgeridoo / plays smoothly with less effort
• Rubber Bell Protector
• 152cm / 5″2
• 2.2kg / 4.85lbs
• Key: F (1st Toot F)


Didgeridoo Breath – Take a look around the shop

Posted by Monday, January 20, 2014 | 4 Comments

We’ve just put the finishing touches on our new video of the shop that gives you a sneak peek at some of the things that happen down at Didge HQ and a bit of a tour, click the play button below and check it out!

Watch directly on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNt5jaks5vg

Special thanks to the guys at Photography Project who produced this video for us.


Sanshi’s Japan Tour with Breath!

Posted by Friday, December 6, 2013 | No Comments

The Breath Trio toured through Japan from south to north just like a typhoon! If you don’t know about Breath, check us out here… www.breathtrio.com

Breath Trio Japan Tour

Kumamoto in Kyusyu

First we gathered in Kumamoto in Kyusyu, collaborating with lots of traditional Japanese musicians, including 21 string Koto (Japanese Harp) player Izumi Fujikawa and Melbourne’s Wadaiko (Japanese Drums) team Rindo. Where we were invited for the Kumamoto Australia week event!

We played the old Kumamoto Castle which has “Crow Castle” as its nickname! We saw a few Samurai-costumed staff there making the atmosphere. We then performed on the Honmaru goten stage twice: once for the moon viewing party night under the September full moon, and the next day with wadaiko groups. Wadaiko is an ensemble of different sized drums creating big beats! I have always dreamed of playing Didge with Wadaiko! Exciting rhythms and power!!!

Anne Norman (Breath’s Shakuhachi player) had her tea show at Sojo University gallery and Reo Matsumoto (Breath’s Beatboxer) and I joined her show! At the end of Kumamoto visit we played at Shintoshin Plaza in front of the Kumamoto Station, where there was a music hall with proper lighting and sound systems. I had wireless microphones on each of my Didgeridoos! I played several times at the concert, huge response and cheers were given…. and that was the start of our journey in Japan!

While we were in Kumamoto, we hung out as Breath and practiced, instead of sight seeing. We would love to come back and discover the Mt. Aso area where you can see the active volcano! Fire!

On to Hiroshima…

Next stage was Hiroshima, we had a concert with Hiroshima’s Shyakuhachi club and players (Japanese bamboo flute) at Aster Plaza, located near Hiroshima Peace Park. I had a morning walk to the peace park to see the atomic bomb memorial place. I saw lots of Origami cranes sent from all over the world wishing for peace. There stood the Genbaku Dome: the only building that survived the bomb within a kilometer from the ground zero. I also, prayed for world peace.

The concert started with us sourcing the sound-gear ourselves. We searched and found a local sound gear company just near by called literally, “sound company”. The helpful owner Murakami-san rented us a PA system and microphones. We met Anne’s old friends in Hiroshima, had a great concert there and an after party too. The next day we squeezed a visit to a sacred shrine called Itsukushima shirine where the goddess Benzaiten is worshiped. She is a goddess of art, so we prayed our journey to be safe and successful: thanks to Tsuku chan who guided us get to there!

Back to my hometown Kagawa

We drove off to my hometown Kagawa via Seto Ohashi Bridge across the Seto inland sea! You will see many islands one after another. When it’s sunset time, the islands will be surrounded by shiny golden sea…. one of my favorite views in this world!
Later we arrived at a Portuguese Restaurant called Mu near Marugame city then met the owner Mushimoto-san who draw the art inside and re-bumped the building with wild taste. His food is absolutely yummy! Both seafood and landfood. We also met Japanese calligraphy artist Mr. Higasa, who took his biggest brush and drew a character “謝” which means “Thank” or “Sorry” which is very interesting both meaning in one character. As you can see this character has three sections that also tied in with the Breath trio! Very thoughtful idea! He finished with a funny caricature of us. The audience was mostly my family and their friends, so I was little nervous to play in front of them, its funny that I don’t get this usually.

We visited my old high school for the special lecturer talking about our life style overseas, the taste of being musicians and living with our passion. We did a mini concert and collaborated with a Japanese Koto ensemble. We received letters from every student in that class later on, and they told us how they were encouraged and inspired with our visit. Thanks to Yoko Kondo who organized this opportunity!

There are more stories to told…
To be continued

Sanshi


Sacred Flutes with Didgeridoo Breath

Posted by Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | No Comments

flutes 2

 

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

 

flutes 1

 


Didgeridoo Breath Friends in the world!

Posted by Tuesday, September 10, 2013 | No Comments

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 by Friday, August 16, 2013 | No Comments

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 by Thursday, August 15, 2013 | No Comments

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!!!