The Great Australian
Caper: The Outback Waltz
I met Michael Naden, a native Australian in the outback town of Gilgandria in
New South Wales. Michael prefers to call himself by the very aboriginal tribe
he hails from, which is Kourrie. Me and Michael became very good friends.
Michael said he had never met and chatted with another black person who is not
Aboriginal. Why don't I teach you some Aboriginal traditions, he asked. And why
don't we start with the Aboriginal musical instrument called the didgeridoo (or
didjeridu)? Here, here's yours. The idea is for you to blow throgh this hole
here (you can see him pointing at the appropriate orifice).
Hold it like this. And do not try to blow too hard, you will get no sound out
of it (at least not the sound that you want).
Let us try do it standing up first of all. Your cheeks form the reservoir for
air so that you produce a continuous sound even if you are breathing in and
Now that you have mastered that aspect, let us get back to the standard
didgeridoo position. One knee on the ground, and one foot on the ground and you
are ready to nimble.
If your mouse is hurting, says Michael, then you are doing something wrong. Do
not blow all the air in your lungs at the very first blow. Conserve your air.
Your lips should control the release of air. Purse your lips and act like you
are spitting into the didgeridoo (but you will not be!)
I was getting hang of it. My cheeks are now just as puffed up as Michael's. I
was ready to do the Waltzing Mathilda or the Warsaw concerto.
It was beautiful warm evening and the music was in the air! I was ready to play
for the spirit mediums themselves!
Michael's didgeridoo seemed to be much better than mine, and had better sound,
but I was getting better and better night after night.
Michael was now content to allow me to play by myself. I could now play the
Outback Waltz or anything else that Michael told me to play.
The reward: Michael's wife thought I was great, and got a big hug and a hicky.
My hostess, Frances Dunn, also thought I was great. Hugs and hickies all
around. My time in the outback was great. The Aborigines are wonderful people.
Very warm and friendly. I enjoyed being with them.
When I had to leave, I had to say a sad goodbye. I was still a good 850
kilometers from Brisbane. It was a 2 day drive on the Newell Highway through
Dubbo, Coonabarabran, through the border with Queensland at Scanthorpe and onto
Warwick and finally into Brisbane.
Would you want to drive this far ?