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 Post subject: Yolngu people breathe new life into didgeridoos from 1880s
PostPosted: 23.12.2016, 14:04 
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SA Museum, Yolngu people breathe new life into didgeridoos from 1880s
By Sarah Collard, ABC News Australia

Some of Australia's oldest and most precious didgeridoos are producing their distinctive music once again after being carefully restored by the Yolgnu people and the South Australian Museum.

The didgeridoos, which are all more than 100 years old, have been restored specifically for the Adelaide Festival exhibition Yidaki: Didgeridoo and the Sound of Australia.

Three generations of the Gurruwiwi family, including elder Yolngu Gurruwiwi, his son Larry Gurruwiwi and 11-year-old Kevin Dhurrkay came to Adelaide from the Northern Territory's Arnhem Lands to play the instruments that have remained unheard for more than a century.

Mr Gurruwiwi hoped the exhibition would bring a new level of understanding and friendship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

The instruments are just some of the 28,000 Aboriginal items held by the South Australian Museum's Australian Aboriginal cultural collection.

The fragile nature of the instruments meant museum workers had to be especially careful to reintroduce moisture to the didgeridoos through a custom-built dehumidifier.

The museum's senior collection manager, Alice Beale, said the re-humidifying process prevents any damage or warping to the instruments.

"We very slowly reintroduced moisture over a period of three to four weeks to avoid cracking, or paint loss and that [process] has allowed them to be played again and to hear their voice," Ms Beale said.

Traditionally Yolgnu people would have re-humidified the instrument by putting it in a river.

The head of Anthropology, Professor John Carty said the collaboration between the Yolgnu and the museum is a radical move for both parties.

"The yadaki [didgeridoo] exhibition is probably the most exciting and challenging exhibition that the South Australian museum has ever put together," Professor Carty said.

"We are custodians of arguably the world's most important collection of Aboriginal culture collections but some parts of those collections have never come to life before.

"The new exhibition is about bringing those collections to life with Aboriginal knowledge, authority and power," Mr Carty said.

The exhibition opens in March.

Original article here

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