Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Transforming The Sound Of Silence

Music To My Ears

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


On a recent visit to Melbourne's Tullamarine airport, I happened to see these miniature didgeridoos on a shelf in the corner of the souvenir store.

Because I always have my camera bag slung over my shoulder, I walked up to the store manager and asked if I could possibly take three or four shots simply for my blog, with no commercial intentions in mind.

I was given permission immediately and good-naturedly so I quickly tried to get some close ups showing the strong colours and distinctive artwork on their surface.


If you’ve never heard about a didgeridoo, it’s a beautiful, traditional Aboriginal wind instrument. It is simply a long wooden pipe on which complex rhythmic patterns are played more or less on a variation of a single note.

Let me point out that even if you’ve never seen one, you’ve probably heard a didgeridoo on a movie soundtrack. If you saw Paul Hogan’s Oscar-nominated film Crocodile Dundee or one of its sequels, you would have heard its deep, memorable timbre.

Not only are these instruments a natural canvas for Aboriginal dot painting, I’ve also been told that playing them is also a work of art.


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51 comments:

skywind said...

Really very wonderful, very beautiful. Only things the nation is priceless.
Health is the Greatest Happiness
The World at The Present

Artist Unplugged said...

These are really beautiful instruments and made lovely photos. What is the design on them made with, looks very textured.

Cuckoo said...

Yes, I have heard a didgeridoo many times during my stay in Australia, I have seen the Aboriginal dance and am quite smitten. :)

When I was coming back.. I bought many souvenirs, didgeridoo, boomerang and serpentine paintings were part of it. :-)

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

They always make me think of Rolph Harris and cosy times at home as a child watching kids TV. Those are beautiful, are they beaded?

Hilary said...

Beautiful, David. The colours and details are amazing. At first, I thought the photo was of beaded fabric folds, but I suppose that would have been a didgeridon't...

Maggie May said...

Lovely art work on those didgeridoos. They make really good photos.
Anyone who knows of Rolph Harris knows what a didgeridoo is! He is popular in England!

Nessa said...

I want one. I have some South American Indian and SW USA Indian rattles and clay pipes. I love them.

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I've heard of heard of the instrument and think the music that comes fom them are beautiful.

Very nice photos. The colors are vibrant and amazing.

Indrani said...

I got attracted to this for the colorful patterns on them. It must be an exquisite piece worth collecting.

spacedlaw said...

They are beautiful.
Thanks for the visual treat.

Tracie said...

lovely works of art! good for you to ask.. and thanks for sharing :D

blessings,
Tracie

Moannie said...

Is'nt it amazing how colourful all Native art is? My kitchen is Mexican themed after a fashion, blue walls, pink woodwork and mexican platters. Gorgeous!

Moannie said...

Oh, and Rolf is still around with his Digeridoo.Perhaps Australia does'nt want him back.

JC said...

Fantastic shots... love the colors!

imac said...

Beautiful Patterns and colours David, Nicely sptted and captured.

Katney said...

We just enjoyed a Crocodile Dundee movie last week. Playing the digeridoo, I understand, requires a way of "rebreathing" that I know I would not be able to accomplish. Unlike other wind instruments where you blow, with this you play while both blowing and breathing in.

Mojo said...

They are indeed gorgeous! I'm trying to place the sound, but the name isn't registering. I've seen (actually own) the first two Crocodile Dundee movies (or is that all there were?) but I'm not placing these in either of them. It's been a while though.

(My favorite scene:
"No, you can't take my picture..."
"Ohhh... that's right, you believe it'll steal your soul."
"Nah. You got your lens cap on."
A panic!)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

These are magnificent, David! I've never seen them before...

Sheila :-)

Jazz said...

I've tried playing a didgeridoo. It was a resounding flop. The sounds a good player can pull out of those are totally amazing.

Hilary said...

Gorgeous! Is it true that only men are supposed to touch them?

Daryl said...

I click and thought 'those are Didgeridoos' even tho I never saw one before I knew it .. and I was right...

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Absolutely stunning! And I remember the beautiful sounds haunting me as well!

Lee said...

Great shots, David! And I loved the Crocodile Dundee films!

Cheers!

katherine. said...

I love the colors....

ya know...this is not the first time I have wished I could gift shop from your weblog....

Akelamalu said...

When we visited Aus in 1993 we were going to buy a didgeridoo for youngest son as he is very musical. It was quite a big one and we weren't sure we could get it home in one piece so we didn't buy it. How we wish we had, son would have loved it!
The patterns and colours on those in your photos are just wonderful. :)

Bee said...

What, no sound?

Gorgeous -- and the word "didgeridoo" is so appealing.

Stacy Quarty said...

Thanks for sharing the eye candy!

Robynn's Ravings said...

I would LOVE to see one of those on my wall. Wild about the colors, textures, dimensions. Thanks for sharing!

I have admired and enjoyed their unusual and haunting sounds for years.

Tranquility said...

Those are gorgeous!!

cheshire wife said...

I don't remember Roplh Harris' didgeridoo being as colourful as that.

Gaelyn said...

Wonderful! Love the artwork on such a traditional instrument. I found the very difficult to play.

Paula said...

HI, stumbled upon your blog and didnt want to leave without saying how precious they are. Greetings from Florida, Paula

B said...

Those are just stunning. I'm glad you same by my blog so I had the chance to find yours. You've got such amazing talent at writing and photography.

Louise said...

These are so colorful. They don't look painted in the pictures. They seem to be a mosaic. Cool, indeed.

Sylvia K said...

These are so beautiful and colorful! I did know what they were -- thanks to Crocodile Dundee! These are great shots as always! Thanks for sharing!

Guy D said...

Fantastic shots!

Have a great week!
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Eddie Bluelights said...

Superb photos David and I'm glad you got permission from the store manager because now I have a complete understanding of what a didgeridoo. I learned the sound from Rolf Harris and now what they look like from you. The colours are fantastic. Thank you

susieofarabia said...

The Aboriginal dot artwork is gorgeous. It almost looks like beading! Such intricate patterns and fabulous use of color.

The Things We Carried said...

Having spent years among musician, I know the didgeridoo and its fascinating sound. But those photographed here are the loveliest i have seen.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

How neat!They are beautiful instruments,even tho,I don't think I've ever actually heard one.

Suzanne Casamento said...

My sister plays the digeridoo. Fun instrument. Although hers is not nearly as pretty as the ones you took photos of. The colors are so vibrant! Thanks for sharing.

Swarna said...

Thanks for that - last year I got to speak to a didgeridoo player Raymond Stockdale on the HAM netwrok, and he played a piece for us, nice 'live' concert on the amateur radio network!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Aren't they wonderful David, as are your piccies as usual. They remind me of the Native Indian Rain Sticks, that you tip to hear the sound of rain, a rare sound indeed here!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Beautiful instruments, beautiful photos. The didgeridoo produces a sound like no other, I think.

Kelly Martin said...

@Swarna: naughty of them to be playing music over ham radio, that's strictly forbidden to hams in virtually all countries. :)

Catherine said...

When i lived in australia, I really enjoyed learning about aboriginal art...yesterday I went to a great art exhibiyion in Mexico City which linked Australian art from Torres Strait with the work of the Huichol native people here in Mexico...interesting comparisons were made..

Jack and Joann said...

If these musical intruments sound as nice as they look it must be fun to hear them. Great shots. You do great work with your blog.

antigoni said...

Excellent post!

chrome3d said...

Those were extremely detailed and colourful instruments. I usually hear didgeridoo on a Jamiroquai-album. They always have a couple of that kind of songs between their disco funk.

i beati said...

intense beading and color -

Willow said...

The colors and style of the paintings are reminiscent of traditional Papuan artwork.