As a bit of a surprise, Dave took Juz into Fremantle and guided her to Didgeridoo Breath. Born from a market stall in 2002, this welcoming place is not just about the didgeridoos – it’s about community. It has been molded by people who are passionate about sharing information and experience, encouraging music and creativity and fostering acceptance and friendship.
This attitude was felt immediately when we entered the shop. A relaxed atmosphere where we were greeted with a smile – the perfect place to fall in love with the didgeridoo.
We were given a lesson by Ben Greatwich, a fantastic dude who was so nurturing and patient with us at the start as we produced ridiculous splutters and fart noises. Gradually, the sound started to evolve and before we knew it, we were making kookaburra sounds and experimenting with tongue position and circular breathing. We even got an awesome mini performance that completely blew us away.
While the oldest cave and rock paintings depicting the didge being played date back over 2000 years, the didge has been known to indigenous Australians for over 40,000 years. The word didgeridoo is considered to be an onomoatopetic word that the white men made up based on the sound that the instrument makes. There are many native names for the didgeridoos, depending on the region and the tribe, and it has also been called a drone pipe.
The length of a didge can vary from one metre to a whopping three metres and the longer and bigger the didgeridoo, the lower the pitch. They are made from branches of hardwood trees like eucalypts that have been hollowed out by termites. Once the branch has been cleaned, trimmed and decorated, beeswax is used to line the mouthpiece and Bob’s your uncle.
The fun part of a didgeridoo is playing it. It has a base frequency that the didgeridoo resonates at but the player can create a variety of sounds over the drone by using their vocal chords, tongue position and short bursts of breath. To sustain a drone, it is good to be practiced in circular breathing, which is basically breathing in through your nose while still producing sound on the didgeridoo. This is really tricky, but once you master it, there’s nothing stopping you.
Located at 6 Market Street, this place is a must when you’re visiting Fremantle. Check out the didgeridoos that are crafted by aboriginal makers from around the country before learning to play during one of their workshops.
There are other kooky instruments available to play, as well as boomerangs, drums, pottery, t-shirts and other various souvenirs that would make great gifts for your family and friends.
Phone: 08 9430 6009