The Didgeridoo

didgerio 2
Modern Day Didgeridoo Player Marcell Ringuet

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I was privileged to see Marcell play, he was the first non- Aborigine allowed to perform at Wild Horse Gallery, a sacred Aborigine site containing many displays of rock art.

A didgeridoo is a wind instrument of the indigenous Australians of northern Australia. Is usually cylindrical or conical in shape and is normally 3 to 9 feet in length. Generally the longer the instrument , the lower the pitch.

Although there are no records stating the didgeridoos exact age, the didgeridoo is commonly thought to be the world’s oldest wind instrument, thought to have been in use by the Aborigine people of the Kakadu region of the Northern Territory for at least 1500 years.

The name may have been originated from the Irish words dudaire or duidire, meaning trumpeter, constant smoker, puffer, long necked person, etc. However , this theory is not widely accepted.

Numerous names for this instrument among the aborigine peoples include Yirdaki which is used by the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land. In western Arnhem Land, the name Mago is used.

After the tree has been cut down and the bark removed, the ends are trimmed and it may be decorated depending on the craftsman’s tastes. A rim of bees wax may be applied to the mouthpiece.

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The didgeridoo is played with continuously vibrating lips to produce the drone while using a special breathing technique called circular breathing.
This requires breathing in through the nose whilst simultaneously
expelling air out of the mouth using the tongue and cheeks. By use of
this technique, a skilled player can replenish the air in their lungs,
and with practice can sustain a note for as long as desired. Recordings
exist of modern didgeridoo players playing continuously for more than
40 minutes 

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The didgeridoo has many uses in the aboriginal culture, it is sometimes played solo as a recreational activity, though it is normally accompanied by singing and dancing in ceremonial rituals.

For the religious and ceremonial rituals, only men play the didgeridoo, while women and men may sing and dance.  The taboo against women playing the didgeridoo is not absolute, although women normally play in an informal setting.

The didgeridoo also had other uses, because of it’s length and weight it made a decent weapon, it was used for war calls to intimidate the opposing side.

It is also suggested that it was used as a smoking pipe,where local hallucinogenic cacti was crushed and placed in the large opening and smoked by elders after ceremonies. The didgeridoo was also used as communication across large distances, as some of the sound waves can be perceived through the ground or heard as an echo. Each player would have his own sound , so that others could distinguish one from another.

There are many different types of didgeridoos, some are secret and only used in ceremonies in Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory.

Learn more of the ways of the ancients.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,

Your comments welcome


 A small town traveler finds adventure and intrigue while investigating a new found spirituality.   Learning self-discovery, and new age thought the author ventures on a journey to the outback of  Australia where he learns the ways of the aborigines and in the process discovers a new way  of life. Less Beginning in America’s heartland follow the author into a foreign land and culture, travel to the outback of Australia and discover the ways and teachings of the Australian aborigine. Discover with the author a journey of self-discovery and of a way of life and culture that is slowly being forgotten and lost.




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