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Didj List FAQ

This article is a description and primer on the World Famous Didjeridu Mailing List
and it's sister site, Dreamtime: The Didjeridu W3 Server.

This article is provided as is without any express or implied warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, the contributors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. Webified/HTMLized and ascii versions of this FAQ can be found at the following locations:

Dreamtime W3 Server:... http://dreamtime-didjeriduw3server/faq/didjfaq.htm

Revision 03. Last updated:

The following topics are addressed:



1.1.1) Who created the didj list?
1.1.2) When was the didj list created?
1.1.3) Why was the didj list created?
1.1.4) Where is the list server located?
1.1.5) Why is the list server located at Mills?


1.2.1) How do I subscribe?
1.2.2) Why am I subscribed? TAKE ME OFF THIS LIST!
1.2.3) How do I unsubscribe?
1.2.4) How do I send messages to the list?
1.2.5) Where is my message? Did the list receive it?
1.2.6) Is there a digest available?
1.2.7) How do I receive the digest version?
1.2.8) How can I search the digest archives?


1.3.1) What is considered inappropriate?
1.3.2) Is any advertising allowed?


1.4.1) How many recipients are there?
1.4.2) Who are the members of the list?
1.4.3) I want to jam! Which list members are in my geographic area?
1.4.4) Which professional musicians post to the list?
1.4.5) How can I contact them?


1.5.1) Does the list have "pet" projects?

  1. T-Shirts
  2. Music CD, _Didjeridu Planet_ aka DP01
  3. Music CD,_Didjeridu Planet 02_ aka DP02
  4. Edu-Kit
  5. Wandering Didj
  6. Jim Hall's Didj Tablature & Notation
  7. Gatherings
  8. Hall of Fame
  9. Real-time IRC Channels



1.6.1) Are there any topics that have been discussed extensively?

  1. Alan Dargin "Hitchhiker's Nightmare" Thread
  2. Sean Borman Sign-off
  3. aborigine vs. Aborigine - proper grammar and usage
  4. "The Didjeridu Book" & Copyright issues
  5. Didj'n on Drugs
  6. The Great "Profit" Debate
  7. Taboos: Gender & the Didj, B*llroarers.




2.1.1) Which is the correct spelling?
2.1.2) What is the origin of the didjeridu?
2.1.3) How does one play a didjeridu?


2.2.1) What does physics have to do with the didjeridu?
2.2.2) How does one calculate the frequency of a PVC didjeridu?
2.2.3) How does one calculate the frequency of a termited-bored didj?


2.3.1) How did my didj cause my LED clock/TV/Monitor to vibrate?
2.3.2) Aiiiee!! What's this red ring around my mouth?
2.3.3) Didjeridrool: What do I do with excess saliva? *
2.3.4) The Levitating Tissue/ Cigarette Paper / Feather Trick




3.1.1) Who created the Didjeridu World Wide Web Server?
3.1.2) Where can I find the Didjeridu World Wide Web Server?
3.1.3) What is the web server's purpose?
3.1.4) What information can I find on the webserver?

  1. Australian Aboriginal studies resources.
  2. Didjeridu Introduction
  3. Didjeridu Digest - A List Archive
  4. Bibliographic Database
  5. Discography of Didjeridu Recordings
  6. Technical - Building & Repairing Didjeridus
  7. Resource Guide
  8. Instructional - playing lessons and tips
  9. Virtual Gallery
  10. Links
  11. Calendar of Events
  12. Player List by Region




4.1.1) How can I build a didjeridu?
4.1.2) What material can be used to build a didjeridu?
4.1.3) What material can be used to make a mouthpiece?
4.1.4) Are there any potential dangers when building a didjeridu?
4.1.5) How do I prevent/fix cracks in my didjeridu?
4.1.6) What agent can I use to clean disinfect my didj?
4.1.7) How can I better hear my playing?


4.2.1) Is there a discography available?
4.2.2) How many variations of music are there?
4.2.3) Where can I buy recorded didjeridu music?
4.2.4) Who are the most recommended artists?
4.2.5) Which Pop Artists own or play/include didj in their music?


4.3.1) Is there a bibliography available?


4.4.1) Is there a filmography available?


4.5.1) What's your favourite beer?
4.5.2) Are there any drinking songs about the didjeridu?
4.5.3) What's "Damper" and how is it made?
4.5.4) What's "Billy tea" and how is it made?



1.1.1) Who is the owner of the didjeridu list?

Toyoji Tomita is the owner and maintainer of the didj list.
(I still consider Toyoji the owner even tho' I maintain it. Lee)

1.1.2) When was the didj list created?

On or about Thursday, 21 Apr 1994.

1.1.3) Why was the didj list created?

"The Didjeridu List was created to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, dissemination of information and general discussion of the Didjeridu and related topics."

1.1.4) Where is the list server located?

The list server is located at Mills College in Oakland, California 

"Mills College, founded in 1852, is a private liberal arts college located in Oakland, California. The undergraduate student body is composed of women of all ages and backgrounds while the graduate student body is co-educational. Mills offers B.A. degrees in 34 majors, M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in several disciplines, and three post-baccalaureate programs. Mills has a beautiful wooded campus with many quiet spots as well as excellent facilities for everything from fine arts to sciences to campus housing and recreation. Our location in the San Francisco Bay Area gives us access to many educational and cultural resources."

1.1.5) Why is the list server located at Mills?

(It isn't but ...Lee)

Part of the Music Department at Mills College is the Center for Contemporary Music.

For over thirty years, the Center for Contemporary Music has been at the forefront of developments emphasizing experimental methods in contemporary music and its allied arts and sciences. In 1966, the San Francisco Tape Music Center (founded in 1961) moved to Mills College and became the Mills Tape Music Center, and later, the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM). Since its inception, this organization has achieved a strong international reputation as one of the leading centers for innovation in music.

Stuart Dempster was one of the Founding members of the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Toyoji Tomita, Trombone Instructor at Mills College, studied with Stuart Dempster in the early 1970's.

Top | In this Section: 1.2 : SUBSCRIPTION | Subscribe | Subscribed? | Unsubscribe | Posting | Get digest | Search Archives


1.2.1) How do I subscribe?

Go to : and follow directions.

1.2.2) Why am I subscribed? TAKE ME OFF THIS LIST!

You are subscribed to the list because:

  1. You willingly and knowingly sent a request to the listprocessor instructing it to add your name to the list of recipients.
  2. You are the victim of an unknown, malicious, immoral person whom subscribed you to one or multiple mailing lists. Please refrain from directing your anger to the list or demanding the list members take your name off of the list. Only you and the list owner have the capability to remove your name from the list.

1.2.3) How do I unsubscribe?

Go To:   scroll down & enter the email address used to receive list mail.

If this does not work, send a message to and nicely request assistance in removing your name from the list.

1.2.4) How do I send messages to the list?

Once subscribed, to participate you may send messages to:

1.2.5) Where is my message? Did the list receive it?


1.2.6) Is there a digest available?

Yes. At times the list can be quite active and you may find that you don't have the time to read and process all the individual incoming messages.

1.2.7) How do I receive the digest version?

Go to: http://   And scroll down to the edit options area, enter your email batch.

1.2.8) How can I search the digest archives?

Go To:

Top | In this Section: 1.3: CONDUCT: | Etiquette | Advertising policy


1.3.1) What is considered "inappropriate"?

Waaay-off topic posts. A sig longer than four lines. Swearing. Racist remarks. *Excessive* advertising or Unsolicited Commercial Email (SPAM). Trolling (Inflammatory posts). Using CreAtiVE caPiTaLiZatiON, B1FF. If you still don't understand then refer to the User Guidelines and Netiquette.

1.3.2) Is any advertising allowed ?

Yes, but please keep it to a minimum. Examples of tolerable advertisement are: a four-line sig with every post, an informative "full page" advertisement every 12 months, or sending information upon request by the majority. List members are also usually tolerant of sales promotions from others as long as it isn't blatant and an equal or greater amount of on-topic information is contributed.

Top | In this Section: 1.4: RECIPIENTS:| Quantity | Who | Where | Shi's List | Pro. didjers | Pro. contact


1.4.1) How many recipients are there?

As of this writing, there are 241 non-concealed recipients.
It usually fluctuates only by five or ten.

1.4.2) Who are the recipients of the list?


1.4.3) I want to jam! Which list members are in my geographic area?

...or you can go to The Players List web page at: player_list/index.html

...or you can put a name to a face when you go to Lawrence (Shi ) Soto's former Mail List Member web page now hosted by Lee Parker on this site

1.4.4) Which professional musicians subscribe to the list?

Stephen Kent, etc.

1.4.5) How can I contact them?

Some of them are list members and might receive and reply to your post through the list. I say "might" because not all are active members and only post occasionally in their spare time between touring, recording, instructional workshops, etc. Please exercise good judgment when contacting "celebrity" members.


Top | In this Section: 1.5: PROJECTS:| T-Shirts | DP01 | DP02 | Edu-Kit | Wandering Didj | Tablature | Gatherings | Hall of Fame | IRC (chat)


1.5.1) Does the list have "pet" projects?

Yes. Ideas for projects are encouraged. Here's a list of ongoing and past projects:

  1. T-Shirts, Dreamtime T, Just 'DU It, DP01 Tour Shirt, etc.

    Denver Greer (the MAFWG) has had a few non-profit T-Shirt ideas in the past which were very popular. His first was the Dreamtime T, which was a gray shirt with blue "DREAMTIME", and black "The Didjeridu W3 Server" and black line art of the didj players featured on the Dreamtime Web Site.Denver's second T was "oatmeal" in color and presented a parody of Nike's slogan as "Yidaki - Just DU It" and cleverly featured a graphic of a curved didjeridu and it's "swooshing" shadow. Both of these T-Shirts required funding up-front and were limited in number. Alas, they are no longer available for sale.A third T has been discussed but not yet produced - The _Didjeridu Planet_ Tour Shirt, featuring graphics of the cover/CD art and a list of the performers and "roadies", or funding list members, on the back.

  2. Music CD, _Didjeridu Planet_ aka DP01

    Didjeridu Planet (DP01) is a non-commercial, not-for-profit CD project. List members wanted to hear each other's music so a fund was initiated to produce a compilation of their music on compact disc. Tracks were recorded and submitted to the producer, list member Karl Kalbaugh of Henninger Digital Audio. List members also submitted samples of cover art to a website, where one by Kenneth Woodruff was chosen as the cover art for the CD. The result was a professional, beautifully-crafted work of art representing various styles of didjeridu music.

    1. Where can I get a copy of DP01?

      The CD is now, unfortunately, out of print. A second, limited re-master, DP1.5, has been produced and was distributed to list members. Please contact Peter Hadley at to order a copy. When the stock is eventually depleted you might consider asking the other list members if one could part with an extra.

    2. Where are the liner notes?

      The liner notes are at Earthshaking Music's site at:

  3. Music CD,_Didjeridu Planet 2_ aka DP02

    There were a few list members who didn't make it onto DP01 as well as new list members who subscribed after the project was completed. So another not-for-profit compilation was started by DP01 producer, Karl Kalbaugh. Karl turned the production over to David Blonski on Tuesday, October 14, 1997 for unspecified personal reasons.

    As of May 22, 1998 all tracks had been submitted.
    On December 28, 1998 pre-ordered CD's began shipping.

    1. Who created the cover art?

      Kenneth Woodruff has been keeper of the art submissions. The cover art was voted on and a submission from list member Clay Garrett was chosen. Congratulations Clay!

    2. Who is editing the liner notes?

      Dave Crowder is editing the liner notes.
      John Snyder has offered to house both AIFF and MPEG formatted sound clips of each track which will be linked to the notes web site.

    3. Who's did the Graphics Layout?

      The beautiful, charming, talented, beautiful, intelligent, and vivacious Brandi Chase offered to help layout the Graphics. (Did I mention she's beautiful?)

    4. How can I purchase a copy of DP02 ?

      "After the release of DP02 copies will be available from the contributing list members and additionally available at Clarion Music, EarthShaking Music, Joyous Noise Music, Timeless Productions , LA Outback and other Didge retail outlets but the recommended retail price will be $15. Contributors will be able to give out copies as gifts sell them at cost or a slight profit or even at the full retail price if they so desire. I will continue to make DP02 available to list members for a discount price of $10 ea after it's release."

      "To purchase a CD send a check or money order made out to David Blonski or Timeless Productions and write "DP02" on the memo line along with your request. Send it to the address below. For multiple orders we can additionally accept MasterCard or Visa over the phone." -David Blonski, Producer DP02.

      David A. Blonski
      Timeless Productions
      5050 Traverse Creek Rd. Garden Valley, CA
      95633 USA
      Tel. 530-333-1335

    5. How long will DP02 be available?

      "Since I run a small independent music label (Timeless Productions) it should be easy for me to keep the project in print for as long as the List would like. This time around were going to allow it to be used by the contributors in any way they wish including grassroots distribution if they wish to make it a commercial effort for themselves. In that way the folks who are teaching classes and workshops or doing performances can pass them along to their students and fans for their cost or a small profit if they so desire. Likewise, all the contributors have the same access to the project to pass along to friends and family at a nominal cost or small profit. DP02 will also be available for distribution to our friends at EarthShaking Music, Clarion Music, Timeless Productions, Joyous Noise Music, and others who are supportive to the list and working to educate the public about the Didjeridu, it's use in world music, and it's historical and cultural significance." -David Blonski, Producer DP02.

    6. What will be done with any excess funds?

      "If any surplus money is acquired from the sale of this product to the contributing artists it will be used for financing future productions such as the "Wandering Didg" recording and/or DP03. It is also our hope that at some point in time we can finance putting together and "Education Kit" that we would like to make available to interested schools and educators." -David Blonski, Producer.

  4. Edu-Kit

    Unexpected, excess funds were generated from DP01, so a few ideas into which we could funnel this money were discussed. One was to make a number of a Educational Kits comprised of didj instructional video(s), a copy of "THE BOOK "; "Arnhem Land to Internet", and a copy of DP01, then disperse them to educational institutions around the globe. This well-intentioned project was found dead in the aftermath of the "Profits" debate. It will most likely be revived from any additional funds leftover from DP02.

  5. The Wandering Didj

    This project was presented by Guan Lim in January 1997. The premise was to send one of his instruments on a 'round-the-world trip and to have each of the receiving list members record a little of their playing. The recordings could then go towards a future CD compilation. Guan proposed that by doing this we could have some sort of idea of how accent could influence didjeridu style without the idiocyncracies of different instruments coloring this assessment. Although the project was meant to be non-competetive, Guan would award the didj to the submission he judged to be the best. A few semantics were addressed such as cracking due to climate differences, hygiene concerns, shipping/customs fees and quarantines. Discussion of the project was dropped until February 20, 1998.

    On March 23, 1998, Guan sent the didjeridu on it's way. First stop was David Mills in Tasmania. From there it went to Peter Lister in Sydney, then to With that, Guan announced his reasons for discontinued responsibility of the project:

    "I take no further responsibility for Wandering Didj - it is well and truely out of my hands. This project is many things, but simply, it is a symbol of our connection through sharing of breath, our daily exchange via cyberspace, the friendships we have made throught this list, and not least of all the passion we share for an aboriginal musical instrument which is also a cultural heritage object. At times it may test our communication skills and goodwill. Other times it may be an education project that brings the focus back to Australia's indigenous peoples. Creativity will be explored, musical genius further teased out, different playing styles exhibited... Be sure to know that lurkers will have to go public if they want to be involved. Please, no private emails to me asking to be a participant.

    May your spirit enjoy the journey."

    Brandi Chase has a web page devoted to tracking this didjeridu's wayward journey.

  6. Jim Hall's Didj Tablature & Notation

    The booklet James wrote is intended to get beginning didj players (who may have heard very little actual playing) started. Once they know a few simple rhythms, they should have the confidence to begin improvisation.
    The Famous Didjeridu Mailing List
    Didjeridu Tab
    Version 2.0
    Breath line:
    Breath position
    voice same pitch as didjeridu
    voice 5th above didjeridu
    voice octave above didjeridu
    Pitch glide octave to octave
    Phonics line:
    |: text :|3x|
    du - wee
    du ~ wee
    ha' ha'
    wee = uu
    Repeat "text" 3 times
    lowercase text - unstressed
    Uppercase letter - accent letter
    Uppercase word - accent word
    Enclosed "text" is voiced
    Enclosed text is second octave
    Continued sound
    Continued sound with vibrato
    play staccato - (gut slaps)
    Cheek squeezes as in "ga^wit or ga^wee"
    Vowel glide
    Sustained tone
    Timing line:
    w =
    h =
    q =
    e =
    s =
    ^ =
    q_q =
    whole note
    half note
    quarter note
    eighth note
    sixteenth note
    Two quarters tied
    Max. Width:

    Monospaced 10 point;
    72 characters per Didj-line

    (Please us the above setting so that
    the breath lines and phonics line will
    stay together and
    not wrap onlow resolution monitors
    and to leaveroom for copy marks ">"
    Top line of Didj line
    Bottom Line of Didj line
    Insert 2 blank lines between each Didj-line.
Top | In this Section: 1.5 (cont'd): PROJECTS:| Gatherings / Solstices: Boulder, Netherlands, World / Tucson / UK
  1. Gatherings

    1. Solstices

      There have been quite a few gatherings by list members and non-list members to play didjeridu during the winter and (but mostly) summer solstices. Javi asked what the significance was and received this response:

      "The solstices and equinoxes have been the times for ceremonies and festivals in all human cultures on planet Earth. These marking points of the 4 seasons and of Earth's orbit around the sun are giving us our cosmic orientation in time*space. Mankind has allways felt the special significance and energetic qualities of the transition points between the seasons. The winter solstice means the shortest day in the year, and the subsequent return of the light. ..."
      - Rasta Robert, Digest 295.

      Plus, it's an excuse to play.

      By the way, Dr. Guy Grant appreciates all the attention. :) The summer solstice day is also the commemoration of his birth in 1940. "Crack a Cooper's (Ale) to (toast) him."
      (Dr Guy has since deceased...crack a Cooper's (Ale) to him anyway.  (LParker)
      Boulder, Colorado USA

      Dave Crowder organized a big one in Boulder, Colorado, USA in June of 1997. It consisted of :

      "All week live talk radio June 15th - 20th
      Penny Lane open mike 18th
      Workshop @ Mysterium 19th
      Headliner @ Boulder Theatre 20th
      Solstice jam @ Boudler Theatre 21st and camping out afterwards!"

      Now you can hear it live on tape! Dave has three different cassettes available. E-mail him at, and he'll send you, privately, a reply with his new ground mailing address on it.. Then, you send $5.00 per tape to that address. He's only charging this small amount to cover his costs for shipping and tapes because they are NOT professional quality recordings. The play list can be found at

      You can read Ed Drury's interview with Dave for his insight on organizing and execution of this event.

      In June of 1998, Dave held his Second Annual Boulder Summer Solstice Gathering. A journal of events which includes many pictures can be found at

      You can view Brandi Chase's pictorial account at

      In June of 1999 Dave held his Third Annual Summer Solstice Gathering.
      Visit Dave's site for pictures, a travelogue, audio files and a few movie clips featuring a "slide didge" and throat singing:


      On March 26, 1997, Kees Schreuders announced he was organizing a "World Wide Solstice Didj Event" in the Netherlands, similar to Dave Crowder's:

      "on the 21st of june at sunrise a (aboriginal) group in Australia (how symbolical and appropriate), starts the drone sending/passing it on to a next group/event/person westward on the globe. This way the drone and it's spiritual vibrations will travel around the world turning into a uniting celebration/ceremony."

      Orbis Terrarum, Orbis Lacteus.

      Soon after, on April 9, 1997, Adrian Smith presented to the list a similar, yet more 'virtual' idea:

      "OK. Here's the idea: People that are interested in joining a global didg to greet the solstice sun please put fill in an entry on the list below. If you mail your line to me I'll compile them into a single list which I'll post to the mailing list as the day approaches.

      I'd like to see how many people we can get playing in relay fashion around the globe on the solstice - a true world-wide melding of list members and didg players from around the Earth..."
      - Digest 819

      He got about 57+ people from around the world to join in.
      In 1998 he, ahem, pulled together a second virtual gathering.

    2. Didjeridu Dreamtime Party, Tucson, Arizona, USA

      This annual event, is hosted by didjeridu maker and performer, Allan Shockley of Northern Sonoran Didjeridoo Dreamtime Pipe Co. It celebrates Allan's birthday, is held on or about February 13 and features a concert, a potluck dinner, camping, jamming and scheduled visits to Allan's home. You can find a re-cap of 1998's event in the archives of Brandi Chase's site.

      The Annual Arizona Mineral & Fossil Show coincides with this event so you should reserve a hotel or motel room early, if you're not camping..
      and if you are camping, keep in mind that most of the campgrounds have a first-come-first-serve rule.

      What happened in 1999:
      The International Art Center 516 N. Fifth Ave. at 6th Street (old YMCA)
      Date: February 13,
      Time: 7:00pm
      Admission: $10.00 at the door.
      Featured Performers:
      - Stephen Kent & Eda Maxym
      - Merkaba - with Alana Cini, the "wild woman didjer" from Seattle
      - Didginus - with Randy Graves on didj, from San Diego
      - Mandala - Allan Shockley's band
      - And an interstate dig jam with Dave Crowder, Karl Sacksteder and
      Allen Smith
      Preliminary Line-up: (all times pm, MST)
      7:00 pm doors open, Dick Saggio on Flute
      7:30 African Dance Troupe
      8:00 Al's band Northern Sonoran Mandala
      9:00 Dave Crowder
      9:20 Merkaba w/ Alana Cini
      10:20 Allan Smith
      10:40 Steve Kent
      11:30 Karl Sacksteder
      11:50 Didginus w/ Randy Graves

      Raleigh Adams was making a video production of the event but scrapped it when he couldn't obtain the audio masters. (he's such a perfectionist!)

      An excellent pictorial account of the 1999 event has been provided by Brandi Chase at her website.

    3. United Kingdom Didjeridu Gathering

      Laurence Timms arranged a gathering for the weekend of August 21-22, 1999 at Hinchingbrooke Country Park just outside Huntingdon, Great Britain.

      "There'll be loads of opportunities to get together and play didj with old friends and new mates and a chance to hear some real good players. We're also planning to have workshops and lessons, didjes for sale and didj makers plus loads of related activities.

      Parking and overnight camping space available with a chance to didj around the camp fire late into the Summer evening "
      - Laurence Timms

      Visit the official home page at: or read one organiser's diary at .

Top | In this Section: 1.5 (cont'd): PROJECTS:| Hall of Fame | Myths & Legends update | IRC didj |


  1. Hall of Fame

    In May 1997, Dr. Guy Grant suggested a web page be constructed for "..a list of those on the didjeridu list who have contributed mightily to the list (e.g. Toyoji Tomita for starting the list). Another name for it could be an Honor Roll." Guy also nominated Karl Kalbaugh for unselfishly producing the Didj Planet CD. He noted that nominations could be made by any list member, and "should not be made lightly or flippantly". Mike Vande Bunt nominated Sean Borman for creating the Dreamtime W3 Server. Denver Greer suggested jokingly that the premise be changed to "Hall of Flame" because this project was brought up during the "Great Profit Debate". It was dropped due to humbled attitudes and the caring of bruised egos. ;)

  2. Real-time IRC channels

    List member John Madill has a regularly scheduled event on Sunday evenings at 9:00pm EST (GMT-5) but don't hesitate to drop in at your convenience. People come and go all day long, so if nobody is there when you drop in, just wait a while. IRC parameters: Server: , Port: 6667 or 7000 .

    The following is a list of ircnet servers provided by "continuum": (All use port 6667).

    There's also a pretty extensive list and hyperlinks which cover all the IRC networks and servers from around the world, but It is not know if it's absolutely current and total. It can be found at:


1.6.1) Are there any topics that have been discussed extensively?

  1. Alan Dargin "Hitchhiker's Nightmare" Thread
    FTP or by email - (2 parts, 65481 bytes, 27771 bytes).

  2. Allegations of racism and Sean Borman's Sign-off
    (refer to Topic No. 7 in the thread above.)

  3. aborigine vs. Aborigine - proper grammar and usage
    FTP or by email - (1 part, 29519 bytes).
    (no longer available - Lee)

  4. "The Didjeridu Book" & Copyright issues

    1. What is "The Didjeridu Book"?


      Edited by Karl Neuenfeldt

      Soft Cover ISBN 1 86462 004 8, 192 pp
      Hard Cover ISBN 1 86462 003 X, 192 pp

      This book is the first comprehensive study of the Australian Aboriginal instrument the Didjeridu from a range of musical, cultural and sociological viewpoints. Written in an informed but accessible style, individual chapters analyse traditional uses of the instrument; its use in contemporary Aboriginal rock music; the perspective of various accomplished players (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal); and aspects of the instrument's global diffusion in the 1990s.

      The book includes a foreword from Mandawuy Yunupingu, cultural activist and lead singer with the internationally renowned Aboriginal rock band Yothu Yindi. Other contributors include noted Aboriginal musicians such as Kev Carmody, David Hudson and Mick Davison; and leading writers and academics in the field of contemporary music studies from Australia, North America and the United Kingdom.

      The Didjeridu: From Arnhem Land to Internet is a co-publication between John Libbey and Perfect Beat Publications, the book imprint of Perfect Beat - The Pacific Journal of Research into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture, edited by Dr. Philip Hayward, Head of Media and Communication Studies at Macquarie University Sydney.

      The editor Dr. Karl Neuenfeldt has trained in Cultural Studies in Australia and Anthropology in Canada. He has published in a variety of academic journals and has also worked as a professional musician in North and Central America and Australia.

    2. Why is it viewed so disdainfully by the list?

      Mr. Neuenfeldt used quotations from the Didjeridu List archives, quoting list members without their permission and used real names. Many incensed list members felt that they were paraphrased and that he possibly violated copyright law and their privacy when he quoted them without their permission. It was determined through discussion on the list that when doing so, he only breached professional ethics. There was no infringement because it fell under the "fair use" clause.

  5. Didj'n on Drugs

    DRUGS?! What kinda hippie freak are ya? ;)

    This hot topic pushed a few hot buttons when it was brought up in October of 1995. It started off with a list member who related a story of a "friend of a friend" whom had an interesting drug-induced experience with a didjeridu. Another list member "Terry", became disgusted at the notion of glorifying drugs in the forum and quickly and vociferously unsubscribed. A few other list members then denounced "Terry" as being "narrow-minded" but also entitled to his opinion. Another list member, "Keith", related his pleasant experience of when he played his didj while tripping on "liberty cap" mushrooms. Performance may suffer as "Luis" proclaims that (while high) "heard recordings of sessions in which I believed myself to be playing magnificently. Very embarrasing."

    Ed "had occasion to play the didjeridu with some friends after a sumptuous meal augmented by copious shots of vodka (in true Russian style). Much to my dismay I could barely get my lips to vibrate. For about 30 minutes, the best I could muster was a weak 'pppffffffttt' sound." Conclusion: "don't drink and didj!! :)"

    "SESSON" retorts with "I wonder what the rasta community would think of the opinion that if you're stoned you only imagine you're playing well. It can't of course be taken seriously."

    "Mike" exclaims "If drug use helps people get into their didj playing, that's OK. For me, didj playing IS like a drug, so I don't need any artificial help."

    He continues with "I have also found that alcohol use lessens the responsiveness of my lips, so I don't drink and didj. Does that make me a 'Designated Didjer?' ;-)"

    For complete detail you can receive Digest 247 via email and follow the thread through successive digests.
    (no longer available - Lee)

  6. The Great "Profit" Debate

    Unexpectedly, excess funds were generated from DP01, so a few ideas into which we could funnel this money were discussed and discussed and DISCUSSED until DISGUST. Our option were to:

    1. Donate the money to an Australian Aboriginal cause.
    2. Distribute it back to the list members who bought CD's or funded the project.
    3. Make an Educational Kit comprised of didj instructional video(s), a copy of "The Didjeridu Book", and a copy of DP01, then disperse them to educational institutions around the globe.

    A vote was called to decide what to do with the money. All efforts to decide to which project to devote the money resulted only in frustration, flames and anger. The funds were eventually funneled back into remastering the CD as DP1.5 and were distributed to funding list members at cost of postage.

  7. Taboos: Gender & the Didj, B*llroarers.

    At times some concerns with customs and taboos were brought up by some Aboriginal members of the List:

    1. Gender and the didjeridu

      "I am woman. Hear me drone!"

      There is an unproven allegation of an Aboriginal tradition that it is disrespectful or dangerous for a woman to play, own or even touch a didjeridu. This taboo may certainly exist in some, but not all Aboriginal communities. It may also apply only to Aboriginal women, not women in general. In retrospect, some Aboriginal women have explained that it isn't that they are disallowed to play, but that it is their choice not to.Whether male or female, out of sheer respect for the culture, if you are in the presence of an Aboriginal person, it would be best to ask if there are any objections prior to playing.

      Otherwise play to your heart's content!

      You can read Ed Drury's article on this subject as well as Brandi Chase's opinions on gender and the didjeridu in his interview with her.

    2. B*llroarer: Aboriginal objection to use of term.
      Note: * = u

      A b*llroarer is a noise maker traditionally used by Aboriginal men during sacred ceremonies. It is crafted from a variety of different woods into a flat or aerofoil shape and suspended from a long piece of twine or dried animal sinew. When the b*llroarer is forcibly swung at arms length around the user’s head it creates an eerie whirring sound. This sound varies in intensity and volume depending on the speed and force it is swung at. Apparently this instrument is so sacred in some Aboriginal communities that even the mention of the name of it in spoken word or print is frowned upon:

      "This is a sacred instrument to the Aboriginal people of Australia. In fact there is only one elder that is invited to ceremony to use this. Woman are not allowed to see them and they are not an item to be displayed. This instrument is only used in sacred mens ceremonies.." -Kim Jelley, Indigenous Creations. - Digest 621, Topic No. 2

      Again, this is the case of a taboo which is not widespread through out all Aboriginal communities. B*llroarers have been crafted by women Aboriginal or otherwise, and also sold wholesale and retail.

      The word b*llroarer is an English term for this instrument. It is my assumption that it has as many Aboriginal names for it as there are Aboriginal languages. Three such terms according to the Macquarie Dictionary of Aboriginal Words are "burliwarni" and "gilirr" from the Yindjibarndi language and "muypak" from the Wik-Mungkan language. (If any Aboriginal people object to the use of these terms in this document, please contact me and I will remove them.) There are also instruments in existence similar to the b*llroarer from other indigenous cultures. For example Siberian Yupik Eskimos in Alaska have what is called an "avleqaghtaq." Native North and South American cultures also have a similar form of this instrument. So again, out of respect for any indigenous culture, whether you are male or female, it would be best to ask if there are any objections from your audience prior to using this instrument.



"The most interesting Aboriginal musical instrument is the didjeridu. It was only known to the tribes of Eastern Kimberly and the northern third of the Northern Territory. The instrument is an unstopped hollowed piece of bamboo or termite-hollowed wood, usually the latter, about four or five feet long, and two or more inches in internal diameter, with a mouth-piece made of wax or hardened gum. The player blows into the instrument in trumpet fashion.

The Didjeridu is used with other instruments such as the Bull Roarer and Click (or Clap) Sticks. It is often used as an accompaniment to song and dance. It is also used in ceremonial functions. A large version of the Didgeridoo called a Yurlunggur is used only in ceremonies." - Ed Drury

"The wooden variety are termite-hollowed branches or trunks of trees with the bark removed and the ends internally scraped or, nowadays, chiseled and rasped to improve the playing sound.

Some trees used in Didjeridu production are Stringy Bark (Eucalyptus Tetrodonta), Wooly Butt (Eucalyptus Miniata), River Red Gum (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis), Ironwood (Erythrophlaeum Laboucherii) and in more recent years in South Australia, Box Gum and Wattle though the instrument is not native to South Australia.

Bamboo Didjeridus are traditionally hollowed out with a fire stick or hot coals however, in recent times, extension drill bits have been used.

A rim of bees wax or tree gum may be attached to the narrow end of the generally conical tube.

The instrument may vary in length from just under a metre to 2.5 metres (used for sacred rites and ceremonies) however, preferred length seems to be between 1 and 1.5m. The instrument is often decorated with ochre and clay designs and in modern times, carved or burnt patterns may be utilized." - Alistair Black

2.1.1) Which is the correct spelling?

Yidaki. ;)

Didjeridu, Didjeridoo, Didgeridu, Didgeridoo, however it's spelled, is still a non-Aboriginal term for an Aboriginal instrument:

"Approximately forty aboriginal names for it are known where it is used, from the north of Western Australia through the Arnhem Land peninsula to Northern Queensland."
- Alastair Black

2.1.2) What is the origin of the didjeridu?

"The origin of the Didjeridu is not accurately known, though some research indicates it's birth may have been as recent as one thousand years ago (World Archaeology-vol 12, no 3, Alice Moyle). Traditionally, it comes from the north of Australia and is played by males. It is not normally used as a solo instrument, but rather accompanies clicking sticks, singing and dancing. It is used primarily, but not exclusively, in "more open" ceremonies, clan songs and fun songs. Boys learn to play the Didjeridu from an early age, the most efficient player is recognized and held in high esteem. The player may tap out rhythms using click sticks or his fingers on the instrument while playing.

Increasingly, Didjeridus are included in music groups, rock bands, orchestras and in a solo capacity as atmosphere creators for seminars and workshops. The haunting music of a solo Didjeridu touches people's hearts and calls to remembrance our spiritual and earthly heritage." - Alastair Black

"In 1835 a man named T.B. Wilson describes an aboriginal man playing an instrument called the eboro in Raffles Bay on the Coburg Peninsula. It was described as being made of bamboo and about three feet in length. The earliest references to the instrument all occur in the later part of the last century. The hard wood instruments particular to Arnhem Land (yidakis) are usually of "Stringy Bark" and 'woolybutt' in the North and Red River Gum further south near Katherine. There is also documentation of didjeridus made of palm even further south. By the time anthropologist Alice Moyle was publishing her field work in the mid 1970s, aboriginal groups where using found pipes such as land rover tailpipes and water pipes as didjeridus.

Pictures of male figures holding didjeridu like instruments to their mouths have been found in cave paintings discovered during expeditions during the late 1940's. Rings on the instruments pictured in the cave drawings suggested nodes of bamboo. Further suggesting an instrument constructed of light weight material, the players are shown using a one hand grip while playing. While there is some published evidence that the didjeridu made it's appearance in Australia within the past 1,000 years, the aboriginals themselves trace it's history back much further. All the way back to the Dreamtime, the primordial time of the creative ancestors who created this reality." -Ed Drury

2.1.3) How does one play a didjeridu?

As big-screen legendary actress Lauren Bacall would say: "Just put your lips together and ppbpbpbbbppttt!" Okay, maybe the quote isn't exact.

There's a great tutorial by Ed Drury at the Dreamtime Web page:

And another by James Hall at:

Top | In this Section: 2.2: DIDJERIDU PHYSICS: | Physics? | Frequencies | Frequencies (termite-bored) | Pitch vs. Altitude


2.2.1) What does physics have to do with the didjeridu?

Everything! The didjeridu is an excellent example of an instrument that depends on the standing waves of a cylindrical tube closed at one end.

2.2.2) How do you calculate the frequency of a PVC didjeridu?

Length =(V (sound) / (2*freq)) + interior radius of the tube.

For more details refer to Matt Newby's Guide to Making Your Own PVC Didjeridu on the Didjeridu W3 Server.

Also, as explained by William M. Robertson, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy at Middle Tennessee State University.
And another explanation by didj list member Mark Temple and includes a short explanation of conical bores.

2.2.3) How do you calculate the frequency of a termited-bored didj?

Jeff Bavis' theory is thus: "Frequency is 'normally' 1/Time. In the case of a termite didg this needs ammending to 1/DreamTime :)"

And Geoff Brown concludes: Once there termites have been at a stick, the laws of Physics become socomplicated that I dont think any human has yet figured out how to predictthese things. I have seen shorter didjs that play lower than longer ones.Also the overtones that make a nice 10th on a plastic tube vary quite a lotwhen termites are involved. I would stick the the 1/Dreamtime formula, that'llwork well.

Phil Scott has a paper: "('Acoustics of the Australian Didgeridoo' by N.H.Fletcher, more info available to anyone interested), the taper of a typical termite didg certainly affects the fundamental frequency, as does the internal diameter. He gives the following equations:"

Call the diameter of the narrow end d0, and of the wider end d1. The effective length, l, of the pipe is the actual length plus an open-end correction of 0.3*d1 - that could be the diameter effect mentioned by some in this discussion.

Now, we define a taper parameter, g, for the pipe thus:

g = (d1 - d0)/d0

He now gives two equations due to Morse (1948) and Nederveen (1969) for the resonant frequencies of the pipe.

Morse shows that for small taper (g less than about 0.2), the frequency fn of the nth impedance maximum is given approximately by:

fn = (c/4l)*[(sn -1)**2 + (8g/(pi**2)]exp0.5

where c is the speed of sound in air. Thus for a cylindrical pipe (g = 0), the lowest mode corresponds to a quarter wavelength in the pipe, and successive modes have frequencies in the ratios 1:3:5:... When the taper is finite (g > 0), the mode frequencies are slightly raised, the lower modes being the most affected. The mode frequencies are thus less widely separated than for a cylindrical pipe.

Nederveen's analysis, which applies for all values of g, shows that the node frequencies fn appear as solutions to the equation:

2*pi*f*l/c = n*pi - arctan(2*pi*f*l/g*c)

"Fletcher comments that for intermediate values of g, the frequencies can be found by solving Nederveen's equation numerically.

The results are similar to those from Morse, basically that a taper raises the frequency of the fundamental while raising the frequency of the higher harmonics in somewhat less proportion. Personal comment: I guess this is one of the reasons that higher modes (the "toot" effect) seem to sound much nicer in highly tapered didges than in straight pipes.

Elsewhere in his paper, however, Fletcher comments on the possibility of perturbations in the bore of the didg affecting the frequencies in unknown (and unknowable!) ways. I guess that's his way of allowing that, for a didg, freq = 1/dreamtime...."

2.2.4) Given the speed of sound is dependent on altitude, and that V is 13543.3 in/s at sea level, can a didjeridu change pitch when taken to a different altitude...?

Speed of sound in a gas (air) is related to pressure and/or temperature which change with altitude so yes the pitch should change. With increasing altitude the speed of sound decreases so the pitch should also get lower. I guess you could use this fact to tune your didj when playing with other instruments.. just get everyone to walk up and down a large mountain until you're all in tune. -Chris Groves

Top | In this Section: 2.3: PHENOMENA: | Vibes | Du-Hickeys | DidjeriDrool | Levitation

2.3) DIDJ INDUCED PHENOMENA (or stupid didj tricks)

The didjeridu can, by itself, be an entrancing instrument.. but this is just plain weird!

2.3.1) How did my didj cause my LED clock/TV/Monitor to vibrate?

It didn't. The resonance caused your *head* to vibrate there-by inflicting you with "Didj-eye syndrome". (Don't worry, you'll have a complete recovery the instant you stop droning. ;)

"... this effect is the result of the 'flicker' that is always present on your monitor. You can see it a little bit by waving your hand in front of it... your hand will not be a blur in front of the screen, rather a strobe type effect. Or like when you see on the news on the TV when they are showing a scene with a computer monitor in the background, how it 'rolls'. This is all just the scanning of the CRT at a particular rate, usually 60 cycles per second or 60Hz. When filmed with a video camera, such as on the news the shutter speed of the camera is out of sync with the scan rate so the flicker is visible. When you drone yer head vibrates just right to allow you to see this also. Another way is to chew on hard candy and look at your screen, or jar yer head with yer hand while looking at it.

Also try looking at things like didjital clocks on yer VCR, microwave, etc... while droning the numbers seem to float at times. Try it, its cool." -Ron Sill

2.3.2) Aiiiee! What's this red ring around my mouth?

It's most likely just the result from extensive didj play.. otherwise known as a "Du-Hickey". (coined by list member, Angus Steward). However, you could be allergic to your beeswax mouthpiece. Try using a mouthpiece made of clarified wax, alternative materials or using none at all (bare back).

2.3.3) Didjeridrool: What do I do with excess saliva?

The concensus is let it flow or give it a gulp (icck!) between breaths.

2.3.4) The Levitating Tissue/Cigarette Paper/ Feather Trick

"I don't know all the physics involved, but you make sound with the didj by actually vibrating the column of air in the tube, as opposed to just air moving out. With the vibrating, air actually moves in and out through the didj, so if you were playing with the didj resting on a dusty floor, you would eventually have the dust in your mouth! If you try your paper trick with a very thin piece of paper (like a cigarette paper) it will hover and vibrate at the end of the didj. It's a good way to practice a smooth drone while circular breathing, to keep the paper hovering at the didj end." - John Pascuzzi, Digest 1295, Topic No. 1

As demonstrated by Stephen Kent at his workshops: "Have an assistant hold a 1/4 piece of cigarette paper just in front of the end of the didj. Start playing (on the other end!). Once the drone is established, have your assistant let go of the paper. It will hang there in front of the didj, visibly vibrating, and it even moves in and out! Applied physics in action - amazing!" - David Seghers, Digest 586, Topic No. 6

"If you begin playing faster it can even travel up inside the didj." - Mike Spencer-Harty, Digest 1046, Topic No. 5

"Just a quick and possibly obvious note... everybody keeps mentioning the "cigarette paper trick" because that's the way Stephen has shown it. For those who don't have this paper handy, just tear the corner off a tissue, use a feather or something. the feather, in some peoples opinion, is more aesthetically pleasing to do it with, anyway..." - Randy Graves, Digest 1047, Topic No. 4

Top | 1. List / Origins, Subscription, Searching, Rules, Recipients, Projects, Hot Topics | 2. Didjeridu / Physics, Phenomena
Web / Dreamtime W3 | 4. More / Resources, Discography, Bibliography, Films, Misc./ Beer!, Tucker
Top | In this Section: 3.1: DIDJ'N ON THE WEB: | Dreamtime W3: / Creator | Location | Purpose | Information



3.1.1) Who created the Didjeridu World Wide Web Server?

Dreamtime: The Didjeridu W3 Server was created by Sean Borman and announced to the list on Sunday February 5, 1995 17:01:43 EST. You can read Ed Drury's interview with him to learn more about Sean.

3.1.2) Where can I find the Didjeridu World Wide Web Server?
           Used to be hosted at Mills College  until they dropped it in 2004?  It's now hosted by Lee Parker


3.1.3) What is the web server's purpose?

"The objective of the Didjeridu W3 Server is to serve the interests of the growing population of didjeridu players around the net world. To provide accurate and informative information concerning all aspects of the Didjeridu. To expose readers to Aborigine art and culture. Foster a respect for the instrument, and its originators. The site is non-commercial. It has neither commercial sponsors nor any affiliation to any commercial organization...

This W3 site should be fun to use. A place on the net where we can share ideas, hints and tips about the didjeridu and didjeridu playing. I'm sure that you all have something to contribute to your fellow didj players.

I would be doing a great injustice to you the didj enthusiast, as well as the Australian Aborigine people, if I did not attempt to address wider issues such as Aborigine culture, spiritualism and their political repression. It is my duty to ensure that the material in this project fosters an understanding of these issues. As the Yidaki becomes assymilated into many non-Aborigine cultures, we must not risk losing the history and meaning associated with the instrument...

I do not anticipate making this project my own, I wish it to be the property of all of its users. I am laying down the foundations for the site, however alone I cannot do the project justice.
Without your assistance, the project will flounder and die. With your cooperation we can put together a great site which will benefit us all. "
- Sean Borman


3.1.4) What information can I find on the webserver?


    Links to Australian Aboriginal Studies resources.

    Includes: General Resources, Koori Web Resources, University Programs, Governmental Web Resources, Aboriginal History, Australian Native Title Documents, Aboriginal Languages Aboriginal Art & Culture and Online Databases of Interest.


    What's a Didjeridu ? - Myths and Legends - History. (Note: the Myths and Legends section is temporarily unavailable due to objections from some indigenious Australians.)


    The archive of the didjeridu listserv postings.
    You can get them by anonymous ftp from .
    (no longer available - Lee)

    The ftp archives usually take longer to amass to the current digest. To obtain the most recent digests You can request them through the list server by email. (Refer to Section 1.2.8)


    Literature related to the didj.


    Extensive list of Traditional, Non-Traditional, and Instructional Recordings. Also, Cover photos, Audio samples & Reviews.


    Building & Repairing Didjeridus.


    Addresses for information and services such as reputable didj makers and sellers, instructional materials, mail-order CD's & tapes, etc.


    Playing lessons and tips. Includes audio!


    Aboriginal Art, - Photos of didjeridus and more.

  10. LINKS

    Related WWW sites.


    Calendar of upcoming didjeridu related events.


    Database of Didjeridu Players around the globe.



4.1.1) How can I build a didjeridu?

There are a number of ways to build a didjeridu listed in the Technical Corner of the Dreamtime Server: technical/index.html

4.1.2) What material can be used to build a didjeridu?

  1. WOOD
      Stringy Bark (Eucalyptus Tetrodonta)
      Wooly Butt (Eucalyptus Miniata)
      River Red Gum (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis)
      Ironwood (Erythrophlaeum Laboucherii)
      Mallee eucalyptus (at least 4 different species are
      commonly used in Western Australia.)

      Box Gum and Wattle from So. Australia,
      (the instrument is not native to this region)
      Douglas Fir

    1. Poly-Vinyl-Chloride (PVC)
    2. Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS)


    1. Century Plant
    2. Agave

  5. REEDS
    1. Bamboo


  7. AUTOMOTIVE "BOG" (aka Bondo)



    1. Golf club tubes

  11. CANVAS



  14. METAL
    1. Aluminum
    2. Brass


  16. Let your imagination go wild!

4.1.3) What material can /should not be used to make a mouthpiece?

  1. Can be used:

    1. BEESWAX
    3. HOT GLUE
    4. PVC (end caps)

  2. Avoid


      As the result of past discussion about the use of polymer clays such as FIMO and Sculpey, it has been determined that even though the material is certified as "non-toxic", it is advisable that it not be used for construction of anything which would come into contact with the mouth. This is due to leaching of plasticizers from the material. Also, accidental burning of the clay during the baking process can produce toxic fumes, and one should avoid inhalation of the powder residue during any drilling or sanding processes. For more info, read the Polyclay FAQ.

4.1.4) Are there any potential dangers when building or playing a didjeridu?

  1. When working with the Hogweed plant you should avoid making skin contact with the sap:

    "The sap of the (Hogweed) plant, while it is fresh makes the skin oversensitive to sunlight and can give cause to serious blisters. So to be on the safe side, I use to harvest them at the end of their life cycle, when they have produced seeds and are already drying. Then I choose a clouded day, and wear gloves to not touch the plants directly when I cut them. Then let them dry for some weeks. Wax won't stick to the mouthpiece when it is not dry enough, so that's a good indicator, and takes a little patience, before it's ready to be played. I personally never encountered any problems with handling hogweed, with the precautions I take. Working with liquid polyesther resin (with agave) seems at least as risky as working with giant hogweed." - Rasta Robert

  2. When heating PVC materials:

    Not only should one be careful from burning one's self when heating and bending PVC, but should also wear a respirator to prevent the inhalation of dangerous fumes. PVC emits chlorine gas as a byproduct during the heating process.

  3. When handling polyester resins.

  4. When preparing polymer clay.

    Refer to Section 4.1.3 above.

  5. Fiberglass Dangers.

    One list member thought of making a didj from Fiberglass. It was discussed that back pressure while playing a didj of this material could cause the spun glass fibers to enter your lungs. You don't want that, now do you?

  6. Bio-Hazards

    You should be aware of any air-borne contaminants that might be in your surroundings when playing your didj. Why? Because when you play, you are creating a back pressure of air. Not only are you breathing out of the instrument, but you are also breathing in any smoke, dust, fumes, bacteria, fungus, mold or air-borne particles from the open end of your instrument into your lungs. One list member, Javier G. Villanueva, found a wonderfully resonant area inside an empty grain silo...

    "... Only problem is that there is a nest of pigeons living in a portion of the silo, and consequently a small pile of their droppings. This poses a problem because of a bacterium that can infest droppings (I've heard of it mostly in association with bat guano and spelunkers). The bacteria become airborn in disturbed dust particles and can cause fatal respiratory difficulty. I did play for a tiny bit of time in the silo, but was fearful for my life and left soon thereafter. I'm contemplating getting a filter mask and cleaning it out a bit, given clearance from the museum to do so. .." -

    With a little web research he found reference to his assumption:

    "Histoplasma capsulatum is another fungus and histoplasmosis is the respiratory infection that can occur with exposure. Again, this fungus is associated with guano."

    List member, Dr. Guy Grant, warned him of contracting "psittacosis", which is commonly referred to as "pigeon fancier's lung".

    According to another list member Dr. Larry Preuss,

    "Psittacosis is caused by a microorganism, and the "Pigeon fancier's lung", also referred to as Bird Fancier's Disease or Budgirigar Fancier's Lung is one of a group of hypersensitivity pneumonias, and these are not due to an infective organism. Psittacosis can be treated with antibiotics. The only treatment for Farmer's Lung, Humidifier Lung, and Bird Fancier's Disease is avoidance of the source, and steroid (cortisone) therapy."

    Never the less, Javi was determined:

    "I've cleaned most of the guano out of the inside of the silo. I also knocked the nesting platform away. Pigeons are disgusting! There was about two and a half feet of guano that they were nesting on top of, and within it was the decomposed body of a pigeon. Yuck. With the destruction of this nest, I have probably put out a family of birds (there were no eggs, so I didn't take any lives), but I don't feel too bad about it given what I found. I didn't come down with any nasty diseases. There's a bit more clean up to do, and I anticipate that I'll wait until late spring before I didj away in it. I'm excited about using it, though."

4.1.5) How do I prevent/fix cracks in my didjeridu?

Note: Refrain from applying liquids; oil, water or otherwise to the painted side of a didj decorated with natural ochres. The result will most likely one big smear of colors and one very dissapointed didj owner.

"When I get a new wooden didge, I immediately apply 'Tung' oil (it is natural and nontoxic) inside and out, at least acouple times, and I haven't had a didge crack yet! But it will darken the wood somewhat."

"Three has been some controversy on the newsgroup over the use of the words 'natural' and 'nontoxic' in relation to Tung Oil. The oil itself is apparently nontoxic and natural, but it does contain petroleum based solvents that are not. Once the solvents have evaporated it is completely safe (there is agreement on this), but there is some definite controversy over possible health risks to wind instrument players since there is no reliable data on how long you must wait after application before it is 'natural and nontoxic.' Evidently the manufacturers' claims of nontoxicity are based on the dried product, not the liquid. As long as you let the Tung Oil dry until there is no odor at all, it should be safe."

"Try 'Hopes 100% Tung Oil', it has nothing added to it! When you apply the oil, after allowing time for the oil to soak into the wood, it is best to wipe off the excess, if you don't, as the oil dries, you can get a sort of gummy build up or a sticky residue. It takes quite a while for 'Hopes Tung Oil' to dry, because there is not the added petroleum products, that expedite the penetrating process and speed up the drying. Once the didge has been thoughly oiled, a couple times, inside and out, it can be cleaned out with water."

"I have heard of others using lemon oil (the type used for treating butcher block cutting board surfaces) and food grade flax seed oil or olive oil. I would be hesitant to use these, as could there be a possiblity of the oil getting rancid?"

"I have seen some people have allergic reactions to these products,and others(like epoxy) so always use caution in choosing what works for you."

"To sweeten up your "didge breath", I have used a couple drops of some different fragrant "essential oils", inside the didge, like sandalwood, lavender, musk, they can make playing a scent-u-all experience." Reverend Robbin Roy Palmer

For more in-depth reading on the physics and chemistry of wood, refer to "Wood, Oil and Water" by Raymond and Lee Dessy.

4.1.6) What agent can I use to clean/disinfect my didj mouthpiece?

  1. Tea Tree Oil

    "Some of you who are worried about 'safe' didjing might find it worth a try to check out Alan Shockley's mouthpiece disinfectant. I tried it out for a time, but went back to using my tea tree oil. I use about a 1:20 dilution of water soluable tea tree in water and use a spray bottle to just spray the mouthpeices from time to time. Before I use any of these types of products, I put a little on the back of my hand and wait a day to see if the formula is going to give me a worse rash than any organism which they are going to kill."
    - Ed Drury, Digest 172

  2. Alcohol, Grain (Vodka)

    "When I started making beer last year one of the books I was referencing stated that Vodka is one of the best bacterial disinfectants to use (especially since it won't affect the taste of the beer). I've been using Vodka to disinfect the beeswax mouthpiece on my didj for the past several months and haven't had any problem with rashes to date. I soak a tissue with the Vodka and apply liberally to the mouthpiece every couple of days. An extra plus is it doesn't harm the paint finish (unlike rubbing alcohol which is what I used prior to Vodka) and it tastes good too.

    WARNING: I did try wiping the first 6 inches inside the didj with the Vodka and after about 3 weeks the didj smelled so bad I had to wash it out with a tooth brush. Apply to mouthpiece only!!!" - Michael Zirolli, Digest 176

  3. Alcohol, Grain (Everclear)

    (sic), or whatever trade name is popular in your area, is anywhere from 153 to 190 proof grain alcohol. That will sterilize a lot better than lower proof stuff, but is a lot more flammable and may dissolve some of the wax, too." - Carl Ramer, Digest 178

    Everclear may have TOO high an alcohol content to be useful as a disinfectant. Surprisingly, once the alcohol content reaches 70% (that's 140 proof) it is relatively inefective at killing germs. Vodka was suggested because it has just enough alcohol (40% to 45%) to do the job and doesn't leave your didj smelling like a distillery (or skid row). - Mike Vande Bunt, Digest 179

  4. Commercial Disinfectants

    "Well folks, there is always the musical instrument disinfectants, marketed for clarinets and other woodwinds. You can find these at any non-rocker music shop. Allan Shockley also sells his disinfectant, made from distilled water, trace alcohol, and cypress. He sells it in a convenient spray bottle, and I squirt a bit into the mouthpiece end every once in a while, when I start to notice an odor. It really seems to work- the smell goes away for quite a while, so I believe it really works, rather than simply covering up the scent. And the spray is nice- it works with less liquid than you usually send down the pipe while playing anyway, so I wouldn't be too concerned about causing cracking.An even cheaper route, but one that involves more soaking, is fresh-squeezed lemon juice- a great disinfectant. This'll work well for pvc or agave, something you're less worried about cracking. Anyway, there's my custodial suggestions."
    - Randy Graves, Digest 990

  5. Ventilation

    "Thank you all for your suggestions. I conclude good ventilation of the didj after playing is of prime importance. In situations when I haven't time to let the didj dry natrually, I'm going to have to take a more active role...perhaps opening the case in the van when we travel, finding a suitable swabbing method, etc."

    - Dennis Leas, Digest 990


4.1.7) How can I better hear my playing?

  1. You can build a portable corner or "pyradu" called such because of it's resemblence to a pyramid (actually a tetrahedron, but pyradu sounds cooler than tetrahedru). A pyradu is a simple tool easily constructed of plywood, glass or other materials and is used to reflect the sound of your didj back to you. For a quick and easy pyradu, you can take 2 pieces of 1/4" plywood each 24" square, cut one in half diagonally, then fasten them together perpendicularly into a corner-like shape.

  2. You can hollow a gourd and cut it in half.

  3. Play into the open end of a 5 gallon bucket.

  4. If you own a djembe or dombek, you can overturn it and play into the open end.

  5. Play in a shower stall! Running water is optional. Laa Laa laa!

  6. Construct a PVC or ABS plastic "didjeri-U".

  7. Mic' your didj and play through an amplifier! Look out Hendrix!


Top | In this Section: 4.2: DISCOGRAPHY: | Where | Music Styles | Retail didjs & CD's | Artists / Pop


4.2.1) Is there a discography available?

Yes. The extensive discography at the Dreamtime Web site includes Aboriginal field recordings as well as instructional and non-Aboriginal recordings. You can find it at:

4.2.2) How many variations of music are there?

Wherever your imagination, or your didjeridu, can take you. Traditional, Contemporary, Celtic, Ambient, New Age, and Rave are just a few of the unlimited styles that can be applied to this versatile instrument.

4.2.3) Where can I buy a didjeridu or recorded didjeridu music?

Didjeridus and recorded didjeridu music aren't always easy to find. You could hunt through local used/specialty instrument shops, or the "World"/"New Age" section of local new/used CD shops. Or you could mail-order from some of the reputable dealers established through the list. Clarion, Earthshaking Music, Joyous Noise Music , zZounds, Aboriginal Art & Culture Center, Art Culture Australia, LA Outback.. are just a few examples of reliable businesses you can purchase from. For more, check the Resource guide at the Dreamtime W3 Server:

4.2.4) Who are the most recommended artists?

  1. TRADITIONAL (in alphabetical order)

    David Blanasi
    David Hudson
    Alan Maralung
    Bob Maza
    Various - Australian Institute for Aboriginal Studies
    Yothu Yindi

  2. NON-TRADITIONAL (in alphabetical order)

    Alastair Black
    Alan Dargin
    Dr. Didg/Outback
    David Hudson
    Stephen Kent/Trance Mission
    Adam Plack/Nomad
    Steve Roach
    Johhny "White Ant" Soames
    Yothu Yindi

4.2.5) Which Pop Artists own or play/include didj in their music?

Kate Bush
Tracy Chapman
Miles Davis
Madonna (owns but doesn't play)

Other celebrities:

Whoopi Goldberg

Top | In this Section: 4.3: BIBLIOGRAPHY: | Where


4.3.1) Is a bibliography available?

The following is a short example of the extensive bibliography which can be found at: bibliography/bibliography.html

Mutant Messages Down Under
Book : Marlo Morgan Illustrated by Carri Garrison

Songlines (INCLUDE ISBN)

Aboriginal Men of High Degree
Book: A.P. Elkin ISBN 0-89281-421-7

Australia a Natural History
Book : Howard Ensign Evans and Mary Alice Evans

Australian Aboriginal Paintings
Book by Jennifer Isaacs

Australian Tea Tree Oil Guide
Book by Cynthia B. Olsen

DIDGERIDOO Ritual Origins and playing techniques
Dirk Schellberg

The Didjeridu: From Arnhem Land to Internet
Soft Cover: ISBN 1 86462 004 8, 192 pp @ $25
US Hard Cover: ISBN 1 86462 003 X, 192 pp @ $38 US

Didgeridoo: a beginner's guide.
Magill, SA: Alastair Black. Black, A. (c 1994).

Top | In this Section: 4.4: FILMOGRAPHY: | Where


4.4.1) Is a filmography available?

Below is a (very) short list of theatrical releases other than "Crocodile Dundee" which are Aboriginal-related or make reference to the didjeridu.

The Right Stuff, USA, 1983 ( one very short, but powerful scene.)

Cast: (partial)
Sam Shepard
Scott Glenn
Ed Harris
Dennis Quaid
Fred Ward
Barbara Hershey
David Gulpilil

The Last Wave, Australian, 1977

Cast: (partial)
Richard Chamberlain
Nandjiwarra Amagula
Walter Amagula
David Gulpilil

Walkabout, Australian, 1971

Jenny Agutter
Luc Roeg
David Gulpilil
John Meillon
Robert McDarra
John Illingsworth
Hilary Bamberger
Barry Donnelly
Peter Carver
Noelene Brown
Carlo Manchini

Top | In this Section: 4.5: FILMOGRAPHY: | Beer! | Drinking Songs | Damper | Billy Tea


4.5.1) What's your favourite beer?

Guiness (UK)
Thomas Hardy Country (UK)
Courage Best (UK)
Draught Bass (S. Wales, UK)
Honeysuckle Ale (Huntingdon, England)
St. Bernardus Sixtus (Belgium)
Delirium Tremens (Belgium)
Geuze, Faro and Kriek (Belgium)
WeisBier (Salzburg, Austria)
Bishof Pils (Winweiler, Germany)
HefeWeizen Dunkel (Austria)
Cooper's Sparkling Ale (AU)
Toohey's (AU)
Castlemaine Dry (AU)
Sheaf Stout (AU)
Coors Lite (USA)
Old Growler (Atlanta, GA, USA)
Cock and Bull ginger beer (Oakland, CA, USA)
Tabernash Lager (Boulder, CO, USA)
Pete's Wicked (Palo Alto, CA, USA)
Sam Adams (USA)
Ellicottville Nut Brown (Forestville, NY, USA)
Old Brown Dog Ale (Portsmouth, NH, USA)

4.5.2) Are there any drinking songs about the didjeridu?

But of course! :)

Here's one contributed by Paul AhChee Ngala:

"AN ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIAN LEGEND ABOUT BEER! We thought all you beer drinking didge playerswould appreciate this song written by Harry Williams (Born Erambie Mission, Waradjuri Tribal Group. It explains how to drink Australian Beer thru a didgeridoo."

"My Homemade Didjeridu" - 1978, ABC Sydney.

Nothin' seems to turn out right with everything I do.
I'm just a country Koori with a home-made didjeridu.
Whenever I feel lonely, whenever I feel blue,
I sit down by the campfire and play me dijeridu.
Play me didjeridu, play me didjeridu,
I sit down by the campfire and play me didjeridu.

Well my tribal songs and legends I only know a few,
So I play country music on my home-made didjeridu.
And when I go to Fitzroy to have a drink or two,
You'll find me sippin' Carlton Draught thru me homemade didjeridu.
Me homemade didjeridu-du, me homemade didjeridu,
You'll find me sippin' Carlton Draught thru me homemade didjeridu.

4.5.3) What's "Damper" and How is it made?

Camp bread. Or a little slice of heaven. Depends on who you ask.

"Damper made with wheat flour is certainly not traditional, but the concept of damper itself is. In both central and northern Oz, traditional dampres are still made on occasion but this has largely been replaced by the use of white flour as it is a far less exsertive practice.

In the north, the flour was produced from cycad seed (like sago palm), usually of the genus Cycas. Preparation is critical as these plants produce a slow acting, accumulative poison - cycasin. This the same stuff that causes Guam disease. The seed coat is cracked and the seed allowed to dry for a few days in the sun before pounding and soaking in a nearby flowing stream for 7 days. The mixture is then reground, mixted with water to make a doughy paste and cooked in the ashes of the fire to make a bread. This bread is highly seasonal, but will keep for weeks. The Yolngu produce large quantities and take the opportunity to get together for bunggul (ceremonies). The bread is considered sacred.

In central Oz, damper is similarly made by grinding the seed of various grasses and also from a wide range of Acacia spp. The Pitjantjatjara collect the seed from wanganu (Eragrostis eriopoda, grind it and mix it with water to make an edible paste which can be eaten raw or cooked in the ashes to make a damper.

There are about sixty species of Acacia (wattles) in central Australia, the Pitjantjatjara using about thirty of them as a source of seed for flour production. They also used other parts. Some have edible gum (tjau) and others edible grubs (maku - commonly known as witjuti). The seeds (kalka) are collected and cleaned etc., the seed is softened (because it is like rock - I'm not kidding - that's another story), mixed with water to make a paste (latja) and cooked in the ashes. They look like anzac biscuits, and have a coffee flavour.

I often go bush, and every trip is enhanced by damper production. Sometimes I cook it straight in the ashes, other times I use a camp oven (a large cast iron thing - like a dutch oven). I usually add various dry fruit and nuts to the mix. It is consumed with gusto and lashings of golden syrup. Alternatively, you can twist the plain flour mix on a stick and cook it over the hot coals. Then fill it with golden syrup or jam (fruit preserve) with cream. A pot of billy tea and a southern night sky and I'm in heaven - dingoes and shooting stars.........." -Peter Lister

Digest 633 Topic No. 10
Digest 635 Topic No. 1
Digest 637 Topic No. 2

4.5.4) What's "Billy tea" and How is it made?

Nectar of the gods.. or maybe just camp tea.

"We boil water over the campfire in something we call a billy (or billycan) - it looks just like a tin can with a wire handle. You may have seen illustrations of people doing this, often with the billy suspended from some kind of metal frame or a branch. Those of us who know how to boil a billy don't use these additional contraptions and sit the billy on the edge of the fire or on the coals. When the water is hot you toss in a handful of tea leaves and magic, you've got billy tea. The best billy tea has a nice light smoky flavour - this can be enhanced by throwing some gum leaves on the fire while the tea leaves are infusing. Naturally, boiling the tea is a no,no - there is nothing worse than stewed tea. Aborigines often have a billy sitting on the fire almost continuously and just keep topping-up the water and the tea leaves. Their tea is very black and strong and very sweet from adding a lot of sugar. Pitjantjatjara people (anangu) call a tin, 'tjampita' (from 'jam pot') and their billies are often made from these jam (preserve) tins. But they have a different name for their billies - 'wayatjara'. The tin has a handle added made from a bit of fencing wire'. 'Waya' is their name for wire, and '-tjara' is a possessive term, so literally it is 'having a wire'." - Peter Lister


Kevin Polley (
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Revision 03. Last updated:11/02/07 -lp