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About the Didgeridoo

Often referred to as the world’s oldest wind instrument, the didgeridoo is a uniquely iconic symbol of Australia, its Indigenous people and Australian culture. The Melbourne Didgeridoo Festival will recognise, acknowledge and respect Yolngu people of NE Arnhem Land as the traditional owners and custodians of the didgeridoo.


Djalu – key information
Date of Birth: c. 1937
Moiety: Dhuwa
Homeland: Ngaypinya
Clan: Galpu
Language: Dhangu

Djalu the chief custodian of yidaki (Didgeridoo)
The Yolngu people (people of NE Arnhem Land) can be divided into two moieties – Yirritja and Dhuwa. In the Dhuwa moiety, the Galpu clan is recognised as the primary custodian of the instrument.
Djalu’s father Monyu instilled in his son the importance of culture and gave Djalu the responsibility of looking after the didgeridoo for the Galpu clan. As chief custodian of the instrument it is Djalu’s role to ensure that it is treated with respect and is passed on to the younger generations.

Djalu the elite yidaki (didgeridoo) craftsman
Djalu’s instruments are prized for their highly resonant qualities and shapely aesthetics. His ability to select the right sort of tree to craft into exquisite musical instruments is legendary among his clansmen and testament to his unparalleled skill and vast knowledge. Djalu’s superior instruments are traded across oceans, with dealers and collectors clambering to buy his best pieces.
Djalu explains that when he is making an instrument he blows his spirit into it in order to release the power of the yidaki.

Djalu the master yidaki (didgeridoo) player
Djalu is recognized by Yolngu people and indeed worldwide as master yidaki (didgeridoo) player and ceremonial leader. Djalu has shared his outstanding playing skills with Australian and International guests at the Yidaki Masterclass annually from the time of the inaugural Garma Festival in 1999 through to and including 2007.

Djalu the person
In between hosting the throng of overseas visitors who make their pilgrimage to his ramshackle house in remote Arnhem Land, Djalu balances his time between family, community, ceremonial and public duties. In his community, Djalu is a highly respected elder and a Christian leader.

didgeridont2 Stax is a professional didgeridoo maker and teacher who is also a member of The Didge Circle. Please refer to his website for more information regarding the didgeridoo. Stax will be at the festival performing and doing workshops. Make sure you say hello!