THE SERIOUS STICKS DIDJERIDU FORUM

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 Post subject: How some people see us
PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 13:43 
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Joined: 11.04.2006, 09:37
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Location: England - but would rather be out sailing in the Med
I came across this while reading through another forum.

To: didjuk_discuss@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 10:21 PM

This English Ale has an awful effect on me - I get all light headed and then I get this urge to say things that I know are going to annoy people!

I had just been reading the 'Serious Sticks' forum and all this rubbish about traditional and contemporary stuff and I was nearly going to speak my mind but, luckily, I didn't. Instead, I had another beer and relaxed into a rather pleasant state of unconciousness and realised that none of it really matters...

Traditional or contemporary we're living in a rather strange world where fanatical thought will only lead to conflict - acceptance and respect is the only way through - I hope!
Great to see you in Devon!
Cheers,

michael Edwards


Below is a 'Personal Statement' I was asked to write recently about my CD.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I am not in a position to comment upon the cultural and spiritual significance of the didgeridoo for the Aboriginal people of northern Australia – nor is it my place to try to do so. Any interpretation of Aboriginal traditions and beliefs by a non-Aboriginal person is subject to that person’s preconceived ideas, beliefs and values; the intrinsic cultural significance of the didgeridoo can be lost during such interpretation. Many people create their own myths around the didgeridoo and these can misrepresent Aboriginal beliefs and values. My role as a non-Aboriginal didgeridoo player is to share with the listener my love for the instrument; when I play, I play with my heart and soul to create music that transcends geographical and cultural divides. There is a tendency to try to classify didgeridoo music according to whether it is ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’. My view is that only certain Aboriginal players from a specific milieu who have received the proper teaching and instruction and developed the necessary skills and techniques have the ‘right’ to say that their playing is ‘traditional’. All other players interpret this style and add their own unique flair and talents to these fundamental skills and sounds.

In the same way that many traditional Aboriginal songs tell of attachment to ‘country’, my playing style and my music are about places I love and my connection to the land – land that I have lived on and landscapes I have traveled through in Australia and throughout the world. I am deeply concerned about the despoliation of the environment and my music has been a means for me to convey the feelings I have when I perceive and experience beautiful natural forms and landscapes and my sadness when I see them destroyed for short-term economic gain.

I play the didgeridoo with passion; sometimes I play it because I am happy, sometimes because I am sad, sometimes my rhythms tell of my anger and frustration at a turbulent world and at other times my playing tells of extreme peace and connection with something beyond. As my moods change, one thing remains the same when I play – the breath. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast it is always there, being pushed through a piece of hollow wood to create that fundamental haunting drone – the eternal sound of the didgeridoo. My music makes great use of the different shades and colours of mood that can be created through subtle variations to the drone using only vocalizations and tongue, cheek and diaphragm movements. In addition to the basic drone, I like to explore the ‘horn’ note – the sound that is created when the didgeridoo is played with tight lips. The ‘horn’ allows the didgeridoo to be used as a percussive instrument, a tongue drum, and many of the tracks on this CD showcase a wonderful technique that is used commonly by the Yolngu players of northeast Arnhem Land.
Cheers, Mike


Paul

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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 13:59 
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Well, maybe Mike is right and all this really doesn't matter....

But as long as we're having fun doing it, why shouldn't we?
Nobody on this forum ever pretended to be a traditional player - all we do is trying to understand the techniques that traditional players apply.

Might have to have a beer with Mike at the next occasion and put him straight. After all he's only grumpy for 80% of the time :twisted:


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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 14:08 
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Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Quote:
Nobody on this forum ever pretended to be a traditional player - all we do is trying to understand the techniques that traditional players apply.


Well said, Christian. I spent some time with Mike at last year's JT and we had some long conversations about just this point. While my own playing style is clearly influenced by Yolngu techniques, my own idiosyncracies and flairs make it my own.

None the less, Mike's words do resonate.


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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 14:38 
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Location: UK
I try not to get involved in debates over contemporary or traditional. I'm interested in the history and cultural context of the instrument as I'm aware you guys and Mike are too. As Christian said we're not claiming to be 'traditional players', we're just players keen on playing in these styles yet without the constraints of cultural or ceremonial law.

With the publication of at least two 'How to play...' CDs it would seem that the traditional players are keen for others to learn of their methods.

Kyle


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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 15:09 
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Thanks for bringing up the history and cultural context of the instrument, Kyle. Hadn't really thought about that (well, I had, just forgot to mention it in my post . :roll: )

There are lots of cultural mores and milieu that we, as players, may not necessarily understand completely- but tackling traditional techniques has, for me, started me on a larger quest of learning about the cultural and ceremonial law that both developed the didjeridu and places it into a certain context.

The discussion between traditional and contemporary does get a little heated sometimes, and I likewise prefer to stay out of that debate- it only serves to galvanize people's already formed opinions and raise hackles. Not healthy.


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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 16:20 
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Location: In ya flower bed...
Well i just responded to Mike's post above as he did direct the second statement at me.

This is my answer...

Quote:
Hi Mike

You claim not to be imposing preconceived values and beliefs but from my point of view your statement does just that. Saying "only certain Aboriginal players from a specific milieu... ...have the 'right' to say that their playing is 'traditional'" is nothing but racist.

Never in all my musical journey of 37 years have i ever encountered anyone telling me i can't play this or that music because i'm the wrong subspecies of Homo sapien or that my birthplace is incorrect. Would you tell Americans they can't play traditional shakuhachi? Would you tell Africans they can't sing opera? Would you tell the Japanese they can't play Irish trad?

Traditional music all over the world is for everyone who wishes to show respect by investing the time and effort to learn it from a direct tuition lineage of that tradition. Race and place of birth have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it. What it's about is respecting the history of the music and giving up one's preconceived values and beliefs in order to learn to play it properly.

You claim your music transcends all these boundaries, i say you're very much mistaken. It's trad players who have transcended the boundaries - the racial and cultural boundaries that others would throw in our path. Several accomplished ceremonial players have come out of Arnhem Land to teach people all over the world how to play this instrument properly in the traditional manner and many Balanda around the world have welcomed this teaching with open minds and hearts (not preconceived values and ideas of exclusion due to racial heritage and birthplace), have travelled to Arnhem Land at the invite of their teachers and practiced their bits off to perfect their techniques.

For me, anyone who will sit down and learn to play this instrument in the traditional manner gets my full and total respect. And when they can control the full range of techniques in such a manner that they can play traditional tunes accurately then as far as i'm concerned they can play traditionally and that's all there is to it. It doesn't matter if they're blue and from the other side of the galaxy; it's totally irrelevant. What's relevant is that this unique and wonderful musical form is kept alive and taken forward for Humanity's future generations to enjoy - and i don't believe that the Aboriginal People of Arnhem Land can do that alone.

x

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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 17:00 
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Location: Dorset coast line
OOOOOOOOOOOO this is always a subject that really gets people going....

Didge, Yidaki, split wood, plastic pie, carbon fibre, playing trad style or cont. style even playing through your nose does it matter????????????????

I love the sound of any didge/Yidaki no matter how its played or who plays it.........I even enjoy my 2 year old giving it a bad toot lol

I think people just need to concentrate on how they enjoy the instrument and stop worrying about how other people enjoy the instument........

Lets not worry about how we play or what we play on lets worry about what matters and thats Australian aboriginies and their culture............

enough damage has been done lets not make it worse by bickering about silly things...love what you love and dont worry about others.

Phew that feels better :D

I would say that I'm a Cont. player but this does not mean i dont respect Trad playing not just by aboriginal people but i respect the people who endevour to follow what they love and enjoy regarding playing tech.....and I hope to use and gain the knowledge used by trad players to build upon my love and experience of the most wonderful instrument around......

Rob
(this is not aimed at anyone , but it feels good to get it off your chest).


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PostPosted: 24.08.2006, 19:02 
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Location: dacusville, south carolina
i think i will drink till i vomit


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PostPosted: 25.08.2006, 13:54 
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john bylund wrote:
i think i will drink till i vomit


Sounds good to me :D


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PostPosted: 25.08.2006, 14:59 
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Location: In ya flower bed...
john bylund wrote:
i think i will drink till i vomit

Care to expand on that? Not sure why you've written this or how it's relevant to the discussion.

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PostPosted: 25.08.2006, 18:07 
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Loretta wrote:
john bylund wrote:
i think i will drink till i vomit

Care to expand on that? Not sure why you've written this or how it's relevant to the discussion.


I was not sure of the relevence by John but it did sound good to me except the part about the vomit.. lol

Especially after the day I have had..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 25.08.2006, 20:58 
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i do not remember :shock: 8) :D
i did drink 2 beers
no vomit.iam just trying things out ,hate typing,fogot how to spell,don't know much about grammer.
took me 5minutes to do this.


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PostPosted: 25.08.2006, 21:11 
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i am a old fart being a smartass


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 28.08.2006, 15:32 
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Well I guess in defence of 'us lot' and the serious sticks forum, atleast we are actually discussing playing the didge and cultural issues along with the chance to post pics and MP3s unlike alot of other forums :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: 29.08.2006, 01:01 
I am an unapologetic contemporary player. I prefer listening to contemporary playing. Djalu and other masters had said (in effect) make it your own. Many Aboriginal groups believe that imitation is not the best form of flattery, claiming it is tantamount to stealing.


But why can't you guys "live and let live?" Why ask why? In the end, if its what makes you happy and jazzed, that's all that counts. Anything else is just horseshit. Stop trying to make a bigger deal out of it than it is. Make music!


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