Arrival : Northern Australia
Northern Australia is home to a group of people known as Aborigines.
- Arnhem Land, a government reservation, is home to nearly 30,000 Aborigines who maintain cultural practices that have existed for nearly 40,000 years!
- Aborigines are semi-nomadic, so they are usually moving from place to place. They pack light, and have few possessions – usually just hunting equipment (spears and boomerangs) and musical instruments.
- Aborigines are very spiritual and believe that all living things, and even non-living things like wind or fire, have a spirit. The artistic community in aboriginal communities are very inspired by these spirits.
Watch the video, then read on!
- Aborigines play a unique instrument known as a Didjeridu. The didjeridu makes the low rumbling sound that you heard just now.
- Didjeridus are usually made from a eucalyptus tree branch that has been hollowed out by termites! The instrument can be anywhere from 3 1/2 to 7 feet long.
- To play a didjeridu, the musician relaxes their lips and then blows air through their mouth to make their lips buzz and vibrate. The buzzing from their lips travels down the hollow tube and makes the low sound you heard.
- The musician can change the sound of the didjeridu by pushing more air at once, or even by growling and making other sounds into the didjeridu.
How do they hold their breath that long?
- If you listened closely, you noticed that the sound of the didjeridu never stopped during that whole time.
- Aborigines, and other people who play the didjeridu, use a trick called ‘circle breathing’ while they’re playing. To do this, the musician expels air from their cheeks while also inhaling through their nose to get new air.
- It takes a lot of practice, but you can try it! Take a cup of water and a straw, blow bubbles with your mouth and try to breath in with your nose. You’ll know you have it when the bubbles never stop!