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The Wandering Didj was a project of the Earth Mills Didjeridu Discussion group following on the heels of the first Didj Planet album. Those who added their names to the Wandering Didj List committed themselves to recording a 30-second clip on the instrument without accompaniment or enhancement. The group hoped the recordings would demonstrate how differences in language, culture, and personality influenced the sound of the instrument. Guan Lim provided the didjeridu, David Blonski agreed to format the sound files for use on the web or for future use in a more professional recording. Mike Spencer-Harty maintained a master list of addresses and Brandi Chase kept a record of where the WD was and where it had been. Where ever possible, the WD passed from hand to hand.

The selected instrument was an E fundamental, plain, red-ochred eucalyptus didjeridu. A journal, wherein participants recorded their thoughts and any interesting stories about their part in the story, accompanied it on its journey. Its entries were never posted online.

The Wandering Didj began its journey from Melbourne, Australia in March 23, 1998, transited Tasmania and New South Wales (via James Dowling friend of Peter Lister and “international courier”) before arriving in Canada (East then West) and the West Coast of the United States. Dave Nelson make a protective traveling case and Denver Greet took photos of the signatures added to the instrument along the way. It moved inland where in 2001 and was never heard from again. David Zemnick in Tempe, Arizona was the last known recipient.

The Wandering Didj

The Wandering Didj

The Audio

04.21.98 Chris Riley Launceston,Tasmania AU 05.08.98 Peter Lister Sydney, NSW AU 09.16.98 Robert Hughes Fredericton, NB CA 11.18.98 John Burrows Olympia, WA US 12.01.98 Ed Drury Portland, OR US 03.19.99 Robbin Roy Palmer Florence, OR US 06.22.99 Richard F. Man San Francisco, CA US 07.01.00 Brandi Chase San Diego,CA US 07.01.00 Randy Graves, 1 Randy Graves, 2 San Diego, CA US 03.01.01 Rick Dusek Las Vegas, NV US

The Log (no pun)

Subject: Wandering Didj Date: Monday, March 23, 1998 4:00 AM From: Guan Lim

Hey everyone, Wandering Didj is wandering! First stop is David Mills in Tasmania. From there it will probably go to Peter Lister in Sydney.

I take no further responsibility for Wandering Didj - it is well and truelyout of my hands. This project is many things, but simply, it is a symbol of our connection through sharing of breath, our daily exchange via cyberspace, the friendships we have made throught this list, and not least of all the passion we share for an aboriginal musical instrument which is also a cultural heritage object. At times it may test our communication skills and goodwill. Other times it may be an education project that brings the focus back to Australia’s indigenous peoples. Creativity will be explored, musical genius further teased out, different playing styles exhibited…Be sure to know that lurkers will have to go public if they want to be involved. Please, no private emails to me asking to be a participant.

May your spirit enjoy the journey.


Subject: Wandering Didj–what it’s like Date: Tuesday, March 24, 1998 4:40 PM From: Guan Lim

Mike asked:

And Guan, has it got a case yet? ;)) Oh and what’s it like!!

No, unfortunately no case. I haven’t got a case and have never needed one since I have no need to transport my instruments. What I did was wrap the didj in bubble wrap which should give it some protection. The bubble wrap can probably be re-used quite a few times, although at a certain stage, a few extra layers might be needed or a whole new wrap used. Unless someone wants to donate a case along the way…

What’s it like? It’s a nice instrument, traditional sounding; in fact, it was the first instrument I played that sounded like anything I have heard on those old Alice Moyle field-recordings. When I put my lips to it I knew I could not put it down again so I bought it!

It is painted with red ochre with no motifs. It has a flared mouthpieceshape with no wax. I would guess that its provinence is Top End somewhere,but exactly where I don’t know although I do have a few suspicions. Thedealer whom I bought it from didn’t know (and probably didn’t care!).

The instrument flares gradually and is nicely shaped and fairly tough. Real nice sound, warm and rich harmonics. The overtones are easy and tight. Maybe we can put up sound samples on a web site dedicated to this?


Subject: Re: Wandering Didj Date: Wednesday, March 25, 1998 5:11 PM From: Guan Lim

I haven’t been keeping a list and I don’t think one exists. This is where the organising becomes interesting! It is certainly a job for more than one person…I had thought that one way to do this is by asking for the next participant where ever the didj happens to be. Thus, David Mills might ask now who might be interested in receiving the didj next. The next recipient will do the same thing, and accordingly send it to the closest request…


Subject: Re: Wandering didj Date: Wednesday, March 25, 1998 3:06 PM From: David Mills

Drin asked:

OK, so for those of us who appear to have missed the current status of the WD - Has it already begun its journey, or are things still in the planning stages?

I’m sitting here in Tasmania (south of mainland Australia) going wild wating for this baby to arrive - I believe Guan sent it last Friday, so it should be here by now. Perhaps today ???

So the journey starts at wandering didj’s southern extereme.


Subject: Wandering Didj has arrived ! Date: Thursday, March 26, 1998 8:05 PM From: Dave Mills

Yep, I raced home at lunch time cause I thought she would have to be here today

I spent 10 minutes playing her at lunch time, and it was all new territory for me ! This is a very responsive and lively instrument. She lips smoothlyand effortlessly between drone and up to 3 overtones - this is a real challeng to harness this versatility. The drone is bright, and because of this will be coloured alot by the space people choose to play in - get those cogs whirring for those magical acoustic spots.

It is a solid instrument, and well selected for the project - the versatility will mean a great diversity of styles will be able to comethrough. Well done Guan!


Subject: Wandering Didj - what to send on Date: Wednesday, April 15, 1998 12:24 AM From: Dave Mills

Well, after an incredibly badly timed glut of work, I finally got to sit down with wandering didj and a microphone - I would have loved to have more time to do it real justice, but I guess it’s part of the nature of the project. I have 2 tracks in entirely different styles, and as yet am not sure which one to use.

SO, my question now is what to send on ? I have bought the journal - while there were some great hand made paper books etc that would have been great, I decided it would be good to have one that can roll up and fit inside the didj case. It is recycled paper with a marbled cover. I will leave the front page blank for someone with more artistic inclination than myself.

There was talk of sending on a copy of each recorded track. Is this really a good idea ?? I thought the idea was to see what people come up with from this instrument, totally independantly. I would suggest that maybe hearing other peoples tracks would influence people and we may not end up with as diverse collection as we would have otherwise - just a thought.

Was there anything else I was supposed to send on ??


Subject: Wandering didj update Date: Thursday, May 07, 1998 5:45 PM From: Dave Mills

Chris has finished with the didj and it’s on its way to Peter. Chris’ recording is winging it’s way towards me, where I will burn both his andmine to CD and send them on to David Blonski . My confession is that the journal is still with me !! (sorry guys-followed by a barage of excuses that no one wants to hear). I will finish my bit over the weekend and send it on to Chris on Monday. It is obviously important that the journal catches up with the didj before they leave Australia.

Will post an edited RealAudio clip of my submission on my website soon (will announce the URL once it is there).


Subject: Re: wandering didj journal Date: Thursday, May 14, 1998 10:00 PM From: Dave Mills

Peter Lister wrote: >It’s loud, so I need to fiddle with things a bit before I do my recording to ensure there is no distortion in my final recording.

Everyone in the project take note of what Peter says here: My submission was recorded in a bit of a rush just because of my work schedule around the time the didj was here, and as a result there are a few peaks in the recording that I am now kicking myself for, and sound more obvious every time I listen !! I may have taken the ‘no outboard gear/effects’ directive a bit too seriously in removing my pre-tape (er…. disk actually) limiter.

Learn from my mistakes ! Blowin’ with the roaring 40’s


Subject: Re: wandering didj journal Date: Thursday, May 14, 1998 8:11 PM From: Dave Mills

G’day all

It was a relief to finally get time to sit down and do my wandering didj journal write up. Hopefully now the journal can catch up with the didj before they leave Australia. The journal is soft covered so it can wrap around the thinest point of the didj and hopefuly still fit in the didj case. There are plenty of pages for everyone ! - I’m afraid my entry turned into a bit of an essay, but I hope it is info that people find interesting/informative.

I left a page for any artistic types to do a colourful first page - not really my tallent.


Subject: Re: Wandering Didj Date: Thursday, May 07, 1998 5:36 PM From: Peter R Lister

Guan wrote:

Just wondering whether Wandering Didj is on schedule. The last I heard, Chris Riley is supposed to pass the didj on to Peter Lister, who would be the last link before the Wanderer goes overseas. Is everything going to plan?

It’s due to arrive at my place TODAY…so all is good in the world Peter (pursing and flexing his lips in anticipation)


Subject: Re: Wandering Didj Date: Sunday, May 10, 1998 5:51 PM From: Peter R Lister

G’day fellow blowers,

My partner just called from home (she’s sitting there waiting for our child to decide to emerge into the world…any moment now…) and the WD has just arrived. I’ll be popping home for lunch today….and I’ll let you all know what I’ve discovered within it…..

Peter R Lister - doin’ a bit ‘o didjin’ Down Unda


Subject: the wanderer Date: Thursday, May 14, 1998 6:23 PM From: Peter R Lister

Well as you all now know, the Wandering Didj is in my hands. You also know I’ve been a little occupied with other events in my life, but I have managed to find time to play it a little.

I have spent some time contemplating telling you all about it, then I thought, maybe you don’t need to know the details, or maybe you’d like to be surprised like I was when I unwrapped it. I also thought that if I said too much, you’d each modify your playing style to suit, hence defeating in part the concept behind the WD.

So if you all want to know the detail, ask me. Otherwise I’ll only share with you the basic outlines….

The instrument is different to what I expected. In Ruth’s(my partner) words it looks quite elegant. Gently curved over its’ entire length, so if a rigid, straight case is to be used, it will have to be a absolute minimum of 90 mm internal diameter. As either Dave or Chris already mentioned, it’s a beautiful dark red ochre applied with a PVA base as a fixative. Beautifully worked with a rich sound. I must say though, that the wanderer is truly a challenge to play. For those of you that love this kind of a challenge, you won’t be able to walk past it without picking it up…it begs to be played, and the harder you play it, the more it responds.

That’s probably as much as I should say at the moment. I’d be happy to provide a more detailed description of what it’s like if people wish it.

Oh, I should mention that it arrived with 5 cracks in it - none of them leak and I’ve discussed at length, the options for ‘repair’ with Guan. I’ll probably oil the interior with raw linseed.

Well gotta go, work beckons.


Subject: Re: wandering didj journal Date: Thursday, May 14, 1998 9:45 PM From: Peter R Lister

The WD is now with me and I just ducked home for lunch and played around doing a bit of recording on it. It’s loud, so I need to fiddle with things a bit before I do my recording to ensure there is no distortion in my final recording.

It’s really growing on me..so I’ve decided to abscond with it…I’m gonna go and hide somewhere and never let it leave my hands. Only kidding.

I’m passing it on to my personal courier (my mate James) who’ll carry it to the US. He leaves Oz on the 25th May and it’ll probably be unloaded in New York.

I no longer have the emails relating to this..are you near NY Peter Hadley? or has my memory failed me again???


Subject: Re: Wandering Didj Repair Date: Tuesday, May 26, 1998 5:58 PM From: Peter R Lister

Just a very quick note;

I spoke with Guan about repairs prior to doing anything. Obviously it was preferrable to retain the original ochre coating with as few blemishes as possible - this would be extremely difficult with any kind of glues or, in my experiences, with beeswax or propolis. The cracks are very fine and would be difficult to get anything inside, especially something as solid as wax. Smearing the surface to force it into the crack would blemish the exterior. We both had experience with oiling, and thought this was the best option, and Guan we felt that an organic oil such as linseed was preferrable to a mineral oil. I coated the interior with raw linseed, using a small piece of foam on a bit of fencing wire. It may need oiling again during its’ journey, and I would recommend treating it the same as I have thus far (I think Guan would be happy with that).

On a different note, James called me from the airport at NYC this morning at 3 am. , WD in hand… unfortunately the phone line crackled and was cut immediately, so I don’t know the current state of play…..


Subject: Wandering Didj: status Date: Wednesday, June 17, 1998 12:15 PM From: Robert Hughes

Greetings, didj blokesses and blokes.

You know those bumper stickers that say “This may be a Heap, but it’s in front of you” ?? Well, I feel a bit like that today. Like a heap? Well… maybe! but mostly in front of you lot…you see, you can all ponder on the wandering didj…where is it? ….what does it look like?….when will I get it?…. but I am in front…I HAVE IT…I am in control, heh hehe heh hahahaaaa!

So, Guan, Peter, Mike, Brandi and others tracking this beastie…you can rest easy, it is still in circulation and in good hands. James Dowling, Pete’s buddy from the U of W. Sydney hort school, and designated Wandering Didj International Courier, called me up about 10 days ago. About 10 minutes before he did, I had just warned my wife Jen and kids that “Hey, an Aussie-sounding bloke might call sometime about a didj”.. Lo and behold if it didn’t happen right after the words were spoken. Jim wasn’t sure then of his itinerary…we discussed some options for exchanging it, then I had to go travelling. A week or so passed and no word…hmm thinks I, maybe he’s headed somewhere else, so I sit down and type an email to his host friends up in the Gaspe peninsula, about a day north of where I am. Pete sent me those details.

Next day I’m at work and the phone rings…it’s the local bus depot, with 2 packages for me. So down I trot in my lunch hour..no idea what was there…out comes the guy with what is obviously a didj, and the accompanying notebook! It must have been on its way before I emailed. Telepathy again?

I must say I feel privileged to be the first official North American playing recipient. The history of objects is facinating: I was thinking of the tree, where it grew, who cut it and fashioned it, traded or bought it, where it has been so far, travelling in cars, vans and planes, zooming across the sky at 40,000 feet and 600 mph. . Imagine seeing a didj go by at that speed! Crossing the oceans. And now it’s wiggled its way all the way to the sleepy Canadian Maritimes. It’s a warm, humid, cloudy, damp, west-coast sort of weather here on the east coast at present. Conditions which promote introspection and a tranquil state of mind. Apart from that, it’s probably good for the didj.

I delayed unwrapping it until I got home, so the family could share the unveiling. “It looks weird!” pipes up Lucy (12). “Hmm”, says I, untaping layers of bubble-wrap on the kitchen floor, and noting old mailing labels from Australia still attached. It’s a plain instrument, a bit like a big long thin gourd, very thin below the mouthpiece, gently flaring to about 9 cm at the “bell” end (but it’s a parallel exit, actually). Red ochre colour, just like that red rustproof primer you use on old cars. No decoration apart from the signatures - nice touch! The bottom 2/3 is fairly straight but the upper part curves. Picture an almost-straight banana: the mouthpiece at the stalk end. So, to play it….I’d say that this is not a didj that plays itself. You have to warm it up, and in my view it demands energy, power, and concentrationto make it really speak, then it seems to want to go fast and loud.

I had a hard time to find the first toot, but once I got it, it’s loud. Upper toots..I haven’t got them yet. Maybe I won’t! Pete, your journal entry says “big mouthpiece” I thought it was almost crampingly small! Must be me big lips. It’s a bit buzzy, a bit like Guy Grant’s didj on “Cyclone Tracy” (DP01). The journal is already interesting. The oil coating on the didj looks solid…nice linseedy smell. No wax on the mouthpiece, which is cut straight across, i.e. flat. This is a no-nonsense didj, folks. I did a light leak test, couldn’t see any cracks, although Pete’s entry spoke of them. A careful surface exam did reveal 2 or 3 very thin cracks and at least 2 of these did fail the kiss test, so they are leaking a bit of air. I will ponder that and see what I can do. The didj also needs a better case than the bubble wrap….I will investigate a tube carrier.

So there’s the first Canadian report, didj lovers. From here, I would say it makes sense to ship the didj west across Canada then down into the western USA, but it may depend who is travelling where, when.

Oh BTW, where do tapes go…Dave B, is that you again??

Cheers, Rob (alias “The Heap”) Fredericton, New Brunswick 46N, 66.5W (where it’s still cloudy an’ drizzly an’ about 20C)


Subject: proposed WD trajectory Date: Friday, June 19, 1998 1:16 PM From: Robert Hughes

Hi gang.

Mike S-H wrote:

Well other Canadians are Dave Nelson/ Wendy Pearson Canada John Grivetti Vermont

Yes….but…I feel obliged to point out that Vermont is not actually IN Canada. At least, it wasn’t this morning. :) :) Even if they are Canadians. Maybe you sniffed too much N2O, Mike! :)

Well it’s Friday on the list, time to lighten up a bit…been a heavy week, a couple of megs of hot debates. Good stuff though. Hey Bill Hudson, you still there? What about another issue of Didj man, to give us a laugh! There’s been plenty of plot material!

Anyway, a good weekend to all the N. Am;’s and Euro’s….the Aussies are already into it.

Cheers Rob - F’ton NB (where it’s humid and sluggy)


Subject: RE: Wandering didj Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 14:30:39 -0300 From: Robert Hughes

Hey Brandi Nice to hear from you. I am valiantly struggling to catch up on the list after returning from a canoe trip. I don’t think it is possible to catch up unless I spend about 3 straight hours scrolling, which I don’t have time to do. 37 digests unread!!! What a dilemma. I just read the bit about you painting a pool or something.. sounded hot…then the didj uni guys resigned. That’s where I’m up to.

Yes I still have the WD. Drin was suposed to be sending a shipping tube he had supposedly made, but I have had no luck getting it from him, he has been going though some probs as you will know. So last week I got some stuff together and built one myself, it is v. tough and will last the duration I’m sure. I am planning to send it on to Dave Nelson in Fort St John, British Columbia, next. From then on it will be a negotiation with whoever is closest to Dave. I assume it would go down the west coast….wend its way east (eventually, sometime about Y2K) and then head overseas…Europe etc.

The WD does not play itself. It needs effort and power, definitely those folks with “industrial diaphragms” will get the most from it. But when it’s warmed up, it honks. I have not recorded anything on it (too busy really) but I just heard my recording debut track is going on DP2 so maybe I should try. That was a nice surprise! So that’s the situation, I am planning to get the stick in the mails very soon and will let y’sall know when.

“so many didjs…so little time….”


Subject: WD whereabouts Date: Tuesday, September 15, 1998 1:06 PM From: Robert Hughes

Hi there Dave,

Well you are no doubt wondering where the WD is…..it is now making its way to BC and your pick-up point. It took me a bit longer than expected to get it off, sorry. Last week was v. hectic at my place. Our eldest daughter, about to turn 17, left to start her last high school year in Switzerland (snif…snifff….WAAHHHH!!)… well it was OK actually, although we were a bit traumatised to see her go. But she is having a great time and learning a lot. Then as part of this exchange deal we welcomed a Swiss 17 year old to our house…..all action…one out, one in….he’s a bright guy and he even helps with the washing up!!! To cut a long story short all the WD stuff is done, recording, signing, writing in the log book etc, all packed up and consigned to the postal system.

So, there’s two actual packages. The didj is in my mailing tube and the log book is separate, about A4 sized in a much taped-up envelope (recycling, you know). The didj will be unmistakeable. You will probably get some funny looks when it gets delivered. I did when going to the post office with it. I guess the most obvious comment will be “what’s that then, a bomb or something?”. And good grief, Canada Post employees are enough to make a saint lose control. I had all the costing done ahead to compare with courier costs etc. Then they slap on a label costing twice as much as they quoted before….charged me oversized rates..when it wasn’t oversized…so I then challenge that….they can’t measure it, no tape, any fool can see it’s less than 2 m, but oh no, that’s an unsurmountable problem…on it goes, phone calls, consultations, finally a tape is found, labels removed….customer service was probably better 200 years ago. OK! Rant over.

The real cost is relatively low so I have just covered it. I hope the onward leg from your end is OK. Where do you plan on sending it when you are finished?

I hope you enjoy the didj. It is not an artistic wonder but it has an earthy sort of feel. I found the mouthpiece awkwardly small but that can’t really be changed. Let me know when it arrives!!

PS have your Swiss Army knife or a phillips screwdriver handy to open the tube !!!


Subject: WD, I GOT IT I GOT IT !!! Date: Tuesday, September 15, 1998 4:08 PM From: Dave Nelson

I GOT IT I GOT IT I GOT IT I GOT IT I GOT IT…

If you haven’t guessed by now, I have the Wandering Didj. The WD landed on my door last Thursday and the journal only came yesterday.

Robert Hughes, I must thank you for being so patient with all of my pestering. The case is perfect.

The didj was not what I expected and at first I was a litle dissappointed. That soon passed, because I can’t put it down now. After the addition of some bees wax to pertect my oh so delicate lips, it’s sounds have been heard throughout my neighbourhood, and countryside. It sure is a lively one, and I actually believe that has improved my technique. I hope to take a video (for myself) and some pics (to include in the journal). Up here in Fort St. John B.C. the fall colours are in full swing, and I hope to capture them with the WD for everyone to enjoy. Well I am going to go play


Subject: Wandering Didge Date: Sunday, October 25, 1998 10:08 AM From: Dave Nelson

Hello All,

No I don’t have it right now. I met a store owner this week (Doug) and he has showed a huge interest to the WD. I could not say no when he asked to share the experience. We played together last night and had a splended time. Doug has to sign the journal and paint his thing on the WD. Once this is done and I get it back, off it goes to John in Olympia. I know that there are scheduled stops for the WD but ones like Doug’s will add to the experience. Sorry to all for the delay.

Dave in B.C. 56’N, 121’W


Subject: Fwd: WD Its on its way Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 11:37:19 PST From: Dave Nelson

Hi John, and all

Well, it is finally on its way. The journal was sent by reg. post today at lunch time. The WD how ever has a story with it so here goes. Canada post would not send it internationally because of its size and shape. They suggested that I try the airport. So off to the airport I go. I was able to send it to Sea-Tac Airport the same day. Yes that is correct the WD is at your airport. Can your believe it? I was told that it would arrive @8:30pm. your time. Of course this was considerably more money but I figured that I did have it for a while, and it seemed only fair that I get it to you in style.

It flew by Canadian Cargo with Air Waybill no.018-51425010. The airport code for Fort St. John is XYJ. I was asked what it was and how much it was worth, and after an explanation of what a didjeridu was I was told the you will have to pay to get it out of customs, and that your bill would be directly proportionate to the declared value. The least expensive value of declaration was $100.00 CDN for its size and shape. It is a real bummer when it comes to border crossings and I hope that it will be easier for the WD and its senders to do it next time.

Please tell me of its “hassle free”(I hope) pick up and all that stuff. Enjoy and share the music Dave in B.C. 56’N, 121“w


Subject: Re: Wandering Didge Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 21:08:27 -0700 From: Dave Nelson

Helo Everyone,

The WD has left Canada via air because the silly Canadian Post said it was “oversized”. The journal however, was able to travel by snail-mail. John Burrows should have the WD by now but I have not heard back from him. John, if you are geading this, I hope that everything went smoothly and that the customs charges were minimal. Pls let me know John. Enjoy, I did.


Subject: Fwd: Re: Its on its way Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 11:45:27 PST From: Dave Nelson

On Fri, 06 Nov 1998 09:06:52 -0800, John Burrows Wrote

Hi Dave! Wow - I didn’t think you’d face quite so many problems getting it across the border! Sea-Tac is about an hour away, but it’s no biggie. I’ll have something to look forward to this weekend ;-)

I need a contact number, however, as I cannot find any listings for Canadian Cargo and the couple people I talked to from other airlines at Sea-Tac were less than helpful. Do you think you could find out how I can get in contact with them to pick it up? Thanks!!! John

Hi John, I just got off the phone with Canadian Regional and got some info for ya. I was told that the WD will be at the Avia Cargo building at 2345 south 156 St. Sea-Tac International Airport. Ph. 206-433-3966 WB#018-51425010

I should have checked to see if Olympia had an airport. I had no idea that it is so far away. Well, I guess its better than waiting for it in the mail. I just hope that you are not shafted with huge customs charges. I have my fingers crossed. Anxiously awaiting the outcome Dave in B.C. 56’N, 121’W


Subject: WD journal entry Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 11:45:27 PST From: Dave Nelson

Hi Brandi, I know that I am late on this matter but I though you might like to post this on the WD web page for me. Thanx.

WD Journal Entry for Dave Nelson.

I could not believe that a real authentic didjeridu was coming to visit me here in British Columbia. I would be lying if I were to tell you all that I was not tempted by dishonest and even criminal thoughts. That all changed when it showed up. Being part of this on a global scale, and it being an instrument like the didjeridu made those thoughts disappear.

I was like a child on Christmas morning opening that gift I was waiting all year for. Well, it wasn’t what I expected, “very thin, and oddly shaped.” No cracks were visable. I found myself a little disappointed, but the WD grew on me. It is definetely a high pitched rhythm didj which (I agree) takes more air than I am used to.

The first night I found myself almost disliking it, but the days to follow altered my previous impression. I actually think that it has improved my technique, from basic sound manipulation, and especially circular breathing. I will never forget the WD because it was here when I nailed circular breathing. Excellent back pressure!

This is the first “real” didj that I have had an extended time to play. I have three that I have made myself, and a fourth is soon to follow. They all use different construction methods. I have dreampt and longed to own a real didj and the WD has strengthened that desire. I am unaware of any other didjers/didjists in town, and I really enjoy the list even though I don’t post often. I have been playing seriously now for 2 years, but my first exposure to the didjeriduu was about five years ago when I blew my first drone.

Fort St. John is a small ( 15,000 ) town in the northeast corner of British Columbia, which is the western most province of Canada. Being originally from Toronto 15,000 is tiny, and to make matters worse, we are two hours from a town twice its size ( Grand Prairie, Alberta. ), seven hours from Edmonton. You probably get the pictire. On the possitive side it is quite beautiful. The rocky mountains are less then an hour away, and for those of you that are familiar with the Canadian Rockies, you know that they are absolutely beautiful.

Being this far north, 56’ N, The winters are long, ( snow by hallowe’en, gone bt May) cold, (-40’ C for 2 1/2 weeks, -50’ C is not uncommon but expected), and dark, (Dec 21 the sun rises @ 9:40 am, and then sets @ 4:45 pm). The summers, yup you guessed it, short, warm, and light, ( June 21 the sun rises @ 3:30 am and sets @ 11:45 pm). You only see maybe 15 stars during the summer, because the sky never gets dark enough. The Nothern Lights happen throughout the year, but are the best during the fall.

From here the WD will cross its first border to the States. John Burrows in Olympia is its next stop. Well John, enjoy and share the music.

Dave in B.C. 56’N 121’W Fort St. John, British Columbia. Canada.


Subject: Re: Wandering Didge Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 19:56:10 -0700 From: John Burrows

Well folks, the Wandering Didj has arrived! It was a bit of a bureaucratic nightmare getting it out of US Customs, but after two trips to Seattle and talking to a supervisor, I finally managed to get them to let me take it home today.

I’ve only had a few minutes to inspect and play the WD, but for those of you waiting to get your lips on it, it will be well, well, worth the wait!

This is an amazing instrument…. beautiful shape (love the flared mouthpiece), very resonant, lots of back pressure, a wonderful, mellow overtone, sharp harmonics…. Ahhh…. it will be tough to let this one go. I’m going to try to get a little something recorded this week and then I’ll probably hand deliver it to Ed Drury in Portland.

Has anyone checked what key its in? Sounds like its somewhere between an E and an F. Many thanks to Guan for sending this didj off to the world! I can’t wait to hear the recordings.


Subject: Wandering Didj Status Date: Sunday, December 06, 1998 1:52 PM From: John Burrows

Yesterday, I bid a sad farewell to the Wandering Didj. It is now in the caring hands of Ed Drury in Portland, Oregon. I’ve had a wonderful time with the WD, but I’m sure my other didj’s are glad it’s gone – maybe I’ll start playing them again ;-) Enjoy!


Date: Sunday, December 06, 1998 3:19 PM Subject: Re: Wandering Didj Status From: Shi

Thanks for the update, John … I can’t wait!!

Ed, Is there a plan yet for the order of Portland didjers? I’m not even sure who all is here in Portland that is on the WD list.

Bright Blessings, Lawrence (shi)


While in Oregon the Wandering Didj passed through the hands of Ed Drury, Lawrence Soto, Dave Delacy, Tom Lange, Denver Greer (MAFWG), Robin R. Palmer, and Charlie Schink.


Subject: WD trip continues Date: Saturday, April 24, 1999 1:42 AM From: Deputy Didj (Raleigh)

well,,,,,here’s the way it all went,,,Charlie Schenk (whatttaguy) and two of his companeros came down as they were passing through the area,,,(,with >others to visit further south we could not convince them to stay longer,,,but maybe next time,,,) well anyway,,,,we all played with some of my didji’s that i have here,,,and to my total amazement his 6 yr old son Dylan,,,was going around tooting and growling etc on every single one of the didjis’’’…now let me tell you all that some of the didji’s are BIG….like the huge one some of you played at the campfire at tucson,,,,,, tooooooo much,,,,hard to believe he was doing this,,,so I videotaped him,,,,and he will be included in the tv show im producing for the 7th or 8th (that saturday) next month,,it will have diginus, Allan Shockley ,,,,Allan Smith, Elvin from S Cal…..Karl Sackstedder,,,,stephen Kent,,,and even me on there,,,along with charlie me,,,and Dylan,,,and then a cameo of Dylan hisssself …..reason to be proud there Charlie,,,,,then out came the WD….and Charlie respectfully played on it,,,and passed it off officially to me,,,,(have pix,,,,and will send them to i guess John Madill?) to get them posted up,,,or is there a special WD site to post them???? anyway,,,,,she’s a bit tough at first,,,,takes a lot’o diapraghm and if you were raised up on one like that,,,it would be easy,,,but im more used to the big bore easy players,,,,after the first night,,,i did not warm up to the sound of it very much,,,but then on the second and third trys it seemed to accept me i guess,,,and playing it is easy,,,not my playing style still,,,but an honor to part of such a large event….passing the breath on…..I noticed right off that it looked like a dead animal on the mouthpiece,,,it was only the remains of what wax was still on there and about a pound of carpet knap and hairs from who knows where,,,so i put on a nice new was mouthpiece,,,and it will leave here clean and pretty,,,,all ready to collect carpet fuzz,,,heeeeee I was going to embed a small sheriff’s badge on the end of the didji,,,but thought better,,,i would have to glueit on,,,,so instead i will sign it,,,,and do my part in the journal…..it will be my honor and pleasure to turn it over to my friend David Blonski,,,,late next week hopefully,,,,ill be doing some video with David and I at the church i think,,,,just to check the acoustics with the WD,,,,,can’t wait,,,,,well,,,ill get my inny and outty mail boxes straightened out here soon, and will rejoin you all on the net soon,,,,,love ya all……..Deputy Didj (officially in charge for the present of the WD)


Subject: WD/Sacred Accoutic Space/health issues… who could ask for more? Date: Monday May 3, 1999 From: David Godzilla Blonski

Well, I gotta say that I’m pretty excited…. Just took the hand off of the Wandering Didge from the Deputy, Raleigh Adams, down in Sacramento. We met at the Franciscan Church that he attends and I’ll tell you folks, Raleigh is not exaggerating when he describes this place. It was joyous just to stand in this place and absorb it’s beauty and spirit, let alone to be allowed to play in this sacred place. I must admit it felt a little odd at first,… playing such a primal and primitive instrument amongst the high arches, prolific stained glass and statues of the saints, but Raleigh was quite matter of fact about it. Once I began playing the reverberance of the hall was pure magic and I at once began to feel comfortable and allowed the space to move my playing.We played a number of Didgeridoos while there… a couple of Agaves, some traditional Eucs and then we had a passing over of the WD. I finished up by playing a little from a 4 ft long bass bamboo flute to satisfy my melodic yearnings. Yes… it was a delightful morning and Raleigh and his wife Linda captured most all of it on video tape… Way cool!

What to say about the WD,… She’s an elegant little lady and I think it accurate ‘for me’ to describe her in the feminine. With the unusual flare at the mouthpiece I would describe her as having full lips with a slender neck and throat. Then with a graceful arch she flares ever so gently to her mid section where her proportions even out with a slight undulation just before the bell which remains even without flaring. One is tempted to treat her softly and gently and Raleigh gave her a blessing to produce a calming effect as the didge is played but I’m finding that she has the opposite effect on me. I find her to have quite a sassy attitude and is incredibly responsive. She doesn’t have a big voice (low bottom end) and is not very responsive to vocals but she responds incredibly to power playing so don’t be fooled by first appearances and impressions…. This baby can scream. It’s quite possibly the fastest and most responsive didge I’ve laid my hands and lips on so far. Upon the first couple of playings I was driven to fevered states of passion and blistering speeds. I’m sure that it’s the fastest that I’ve ever played. Now after our first passionate embraces I’m beginning to explore her subtler nuances and I’m finding her very articulate… certainly not the tonal quality I’m used to (I’ve been enjoying big booming Agave horns lately) but her expressivity is really quite amazing. There are so many things I want to try out on this didge but unfortunately I have very little time…..

Up to Reno to record with the band once called Pangea on Tues. and Weds (Thanks BTW for all the name submissions). On the way home from Reno I stop in at Lake Tahoe to sit in with another band on Weds. evening. Friday I head to Shasta for a Fiddle and Art Fest over the weekend and then Monday John Arntz comes out to my studio to record a little with the WD and then he’ll escort the Didge to the coast and all the WD participants in the San Francisco Bay area. Only one short and busy week,.. I’m not sure I’ll be ready to give her up that soon (sigh…). Sometimes it’s terrible to fall in love so easily. Feeling sorry for me yet? Don’t I’m having one hell of a good time even if the pace is a bit frantic at times.

So why, your asking, does Blonski mention health issues in the subject line? Well as it turns out the Deputy has been suffering from a head cold for the last four weeks that he hasn’t been able to shake. In our hand off ceremony Raleigh played a few licks and then handed it over to me and then I began to play. I’m not too worried, I haven’t been very prone to catching colds since taking up the Didge (and I share didges with thousands annually) but I’d say this will be as good a test as any. Don’t worry… I’ve got some of Allan Shockley’s Antiseptic Didge Spray to treat the didge with before passing it any further. So far so good… but I’m going to make myself up a ‘Magic Potion’ preventative home remedy just to be on the safe side. Disclaimer….Just so you know… I’m a professional and you shouldn’t try this at home. Well, that’s it for the moment. I hope to have something recorded later in the week… I’m just not sure which direction to go with her… subtlenuances… power playing… blistering speed… Oh what the heck,.. a one minute everything but the kitchen sink passion play, Isn’t that all that us guys are good for anyway? (Hehehe..) David A. Blonski


Subject: WD rocks at Cinco de Mayo Bash! Date: Thursday, May 06, 1999 From: David Godzilla Blonski

Well, even thought it’s 4 in the morning here in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains I still had to write this post to let you now how things have gone for the WD and me. Monday was the handoff with Raleigh at the church… Tuesday and Wednesday was spent in Reno, Nevada with the ‘Artists formerly known as Pangea’ (I took my list of names but nothing has stuck so far). They were so impressed the WD and it’s story that they now want towrite a song around her as part of one of the CD projects we’re working on. Then on the way home I stopped in to sit in with the band “The Bodhi Tree” at a Cinco de Mayo bash in South Lake Tahoe. The band already had the crowd rocking but we raised the roof another notch when I kicked in with the WD. We started out one set with three of my ‘Performance Didges’ and the crowd nearly went through the roof. It was an awesome evening and I made a lot of new friends. “Bodhi Tree” really cooks and is among the most impressive bands I’ve seen recently… the percussionist already had one of my didges that he plays occasionally in the band but I think I hooked the other two members this evening and they offered to play on my next CD project. If they do I’ll really be tempted to use “Blonski and the Beaters”. The Bodhi Tree voted best band in South Lake Tahoe…. They definitely have my vote! Check them out! I didn’t arrive back home till 3 in the morning but I’m still so amped from tonight’s gig that I can’t sleep. Yeah… the Blonski boy has been strutting his stuff and having the time of his life… It just gets better and better….


Subject: WD @ BOULDER? Date: Friday, May 07, 1999 From: David Godzilla Blonski

Brandi wrote:

I think its important for everyone to get private time with the instrument, at least a week and learn it personally. I think its a solo thing, where the participant expresses, with as little outside influence as possible."

While I been very vocal about keeping the WD moving and getting it into as many hands as quickly as possible I have to agree with Brandi,… specially since I now have the didge. I’m already working on various devious schemes to allow me to keep it for a couple of extra days… at least until we (the Artists formerly known as Pangea) have a chance to compose a new song for her on Tuesday and Wednesday. When John shows up on Monday we’ll spend the afternoon recording in the studio… if I can come up with something to take to the band I’ll hand it off then… If not, I’ll arm wrestle him for possession so I can take it up one more time to meet with the band so we can work on the new song and then I’ll mail it down to him or another person on the list on Thursday…. unless of course I can come up with another devious plan. So unless there’s another N. Cal participant that want’s to take advantage of my offer to record their WD track here in my studio, the WD’s visit with me will only last a week to a week and a half at most. For those with a curious nature, the WD’s firstyear on the road has averaged to about one participant a month…. Since it’s hit the US the pace has picked up a little and I’m hoping that California will average out to 2 or 3 participants a month. So while we all have waited or wait with a certain amount of anxiety it’s best to not hold ones breath. As far as Boulder is concerned… As good as the idea sounds, the WD seems to travel at it’s own speed. If it happens to fall into the hands of someone coming out to the gathering at the right time it may very well turn out but it may be a hard thing to count on. Even at top speed it will take two or three more months just to make it through California, then it’s on to Nevada, Arizona, Utah and then probably Colorado. She’s been on the road for over 1 year and 3 months so that’s really quite an amazing accomplishment already… Looks like we’ll be following her travels for years to come. David


Subject: WD - Reality Check/Back from Shasta Fiddle Fest Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 From: David Godzilla Blonski

“So it really comes down to the person that has the WD at the time of the gathering,….”

I feel that you’re right on target here Shi. Hmm,… interesting discussion that developed here while I was gone over the weekend. I hope that no one took my original post about the WD going to Boulder as being against the idea of the WD being at the gathering. I just stated that it had a life of it’s own and if it falls into the right hands at the right time then cool! But since the WD travels at it’s own pace it may be a difficult thing to orchestrate and count on. Personally, I’m all for the sharing thing… I took it to band practice… I played for a couple hundred gyrating party animals at a Cinco de Mayo bash and I even took it to a Fiddle Festival where it had exposure to thousands of people. In less than a week I’ve played it in Sacramento, Reno, Tahoe, and Shasta. If the WD wasn’t headed to SF in a few days I’d take it to another even larger music festival at Yosemite but (sigh..) I’ve got to follow my own advice and keep her moving. I’ve loved performing with the WD and sharing it’s story… I think that it has too cool of a story not to share… I’m even considering writing a story for our local paper(s). I’ve also had a half a dozen grateful pullers take a turn with the WD. I know that when the WD makes it to San Francisco that it will go on display for a few days at Clarion as an honorary member of the “Wicked Sticks” collection and that Stephen Kent plans to do a public performance with the WD. So it appears that the WD will have private time and public exposure alike. Who knows?.. we may even see a collection of press clippings included in the journal after a while. In the meantime I plan to have a great time working with John Arntz in the studio tomorrow so I hope to have a couple of new audio clips to post on the WD site in a few days… a friend with a digital camera took a few pics so maybe I’ll include a pic of me playing the WD at my Didge display at the Fiddle Fest and maybe I can grab an image off the video that Raleigh & Linda shot in the Church. My advise on this on-going thread is everybody take a deep breath and let go…. Regardless of what any of us think, the WD has a life of it’s own and it’s just passing through. Those of us fortunate to participate will be able to interact with her n the way we feel best for our personal situation. I perform… next person may hide away in their room… next person will go sit on a ledge overlooking a canyon or river… someone else will take it to a classroom… It will all be… simply perfect.


Subject: Wandering Didge Date: Monday, May 17, 1999 From: David Godzilla Blonski

From: John Arntz: “Alison Jane Arntz was born on Monday, May 10 at 4:16 in the afternoon- precisely the time that I would have been playing the WD at your place- perhaps even recording something. Baby and mother are doing well. I am very proud of them both. Since she surprised us by coming early we are ctching up (our house is somewhat taken apart because of a remodel…) My email is also giving me fits, so i have not been able to receive in more than a week. This is a long way of me saying that I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Please send the good news to the list. When i resurface in a while I will connect with Clarion for the WD. Meanwhile I hope to connect with you some day and thank you again for the offer to come to your place and play. Thanks for everything!” John Arntz

BTW - the Wandering Didge will be dropped off with Fred Tietjen at Clarion’s Wicked Sticks Gallery tomorrow. Clarion is likely to be the central hub from which all the participants in the San Francisco Bay area will connect for their turn with the WD. I plan on recording my WD track tonight so I hope to have it posted soon. David


Subject: WD at Wicked Sticks Gallery Date: Tuesday, May 18, From: David Godzilla Blonski

Well I dropped off the WD (sniff) with Fred Tietjen at the Wicked Sticks Gallery at Clarion Music in San Francisco and it’s in good company with the finest collection of Didgeridoos in North America. I’ve got to tell you that I’ve been to Clarion several times over the last couple of years and the new collection that just arrived is by far the best I’ve ever played. Fred handed me didge after didge that blew my socks off. If your on the west coast and you have the opportunity I’d make a point of checking these instruments out. They have a backroom where you are free to play… even for hours at a time if you want,… and no purchase is required. These are rare one of a kind sticks made by Djalu and Howell… Yes, at $600 - $1000 they are a bit pricey but they’re the finest didges that money can buy and considering the fact that if you wanted to purchase the finest flute, sax or guitar available you’d have to spend $20,000 or more it makes these instruments seem pretty reasonable. Clarion also has a very flexible layaway plan if you find something that you absolutely must have but need time to finance the purchase. But honestly, even if you have no intention of buying one of these ‘wicked sticks’ you should still make it in to try out some of these amazing instruments. Along with having an hour with the most incredible collection of didges this reporter has ever seen I additionally got to have a very informative one on one chat with Fred while dining in Chinatown. Like our good friend Peter Brady, most of Fred’s knowledge of the Didge and Aboriginal Culture comes from direct contact with the Aboriginal Community. When Fred returns to Australia to Document the 5 day Djalu Didgeridoo Workshop we’ll all be able to benefit because, in addition to putting together a slide show presentation at Clarion, he is also getting ready to put up a Web Site that will document Djalu’s work and the information will be nearly 100% Aboriginal source material. I, for one, have always been impressed by Fred’s personal integrity and years of commitment to serve Aboriginal Artists and their Community. The outstanding quality of the Wicked Sticks Collection is just one of the results of this and I applaud Fred for his efforts. BRAVO!


Subject: It’s mine, all mine! Date: Monday, June 14, 1999 From: Richard F. Man

Haa haa hahh. I now possess the Wandering Didj. It’s mine, all mine!!! Heee haaa hhaaaa… I will rename it as Richard Man’s didj, heee heee…. mine mine mine, all mine, no one else can have it…. If anyone tries to take it, I will turn it into the WHACK’ing Didj.

Did I say it’s mine…. heeee heeeehhh (Silently bow to the general direction of Australia, where Guan Lim lives, what a great guy, I’m glad our ancestors come from the same “clan” in China.)

p.s. in case it is not quite obvious, I haven’t quite turned that looney yet. It will be a sad event when it leaves, sniff. – // richard


Subject: WD Wandering Experience Date: Wednesday, July 7, 1999 From: Richard F. Man

By this time tomorrow, Geoff Brown will be the proud holder of the WD, time to write down my thoughts.

I have the WD probably longer than most other people. However, while in my possession, it wandered to the Boulder Solstice Gathering, and to the Yosemite Karate bootcamp. My guess is that over a dozen other people have tried it during this time. This little wandering is captured by the picture my wife Chris did on the WD. As an aside, Charles Schink left a very clever mark. It means “Traveling.”

The WD is one of the most versatile didjs I ever played, and I have played with some of the most awesome didjs in the Clarion’s selections. It is very easy to play, but also has immense depth for advance players. The tonal range is very wide. The (falsetto) vocals came out very loudly, much better than most euc didjs I have played. As with most didjs, it taught me quite a few lessons. Regretfully, while it has the right shape of a traditional NE Arnhem Land didj, my attempt at Yolngu rhythms made slow improvement.

Too bad that my recordings do not do it justice, perhaps the WD should continue to make its round around the world so that we can see how much we improve and change the second time we meet it. With its slow progress, I’m not sure if anyone can wait for the 3rd round ;-)

One last thing, it came with a thick wad of a beeswax mouthpiece. I suspect it did not originally come that way. The earlier WDers please enlighten me. In anycase, I took a good chunk off but package it with the didj so the future holders can add it back if they want. I removed all of it once but that did not result it a clean toot. Feel free to experiment.


Subject: WD & Waxed Mouthpeice Date: Thursday, July 8, 1999 From: Richard F. Man

What an interesting thread! I would venture to guess that Peter Lister is right - a big reason why all people I’ve met who tried the WD, including newbies, said that it is easy to play is due to the wax mouthpiece. I can confirm that w/o the mouthpiece, if nothing else, my toots do not end clearly. e.g. even with a little bit of the mouthpiece, I can get a clean toot for many seconds, whereas without it, the toot loses cohesion after a short while. And my wife, who is a rank beginner, can no loner get a good drone now that I ripped the mouthpiece off. Your mileage may vary of course and no doubt stronger players can get better results. I am also intriqued by Chris Riley statement that “..then again the mouthpiece is small and thus makes it easy to play without the wax.” Not to make judgement or anything, but this may indicate the size of Chris’ mouth ;-) Oh well, the WD seems to be taking a life of its own, transforming itself and people associated with it… As I said, I will (yes will, since Geoff is busy today…) package the wax in a small bag with it. I’d recommend not putting much on, if any, to try to keep the original spirit, if it still applies…


Subject: WD & Waxed Mouthpeice Date: Thursday, July 8, 1999 From: Chris W. Man

Well, I guess I oughta put my tuppence in…. And here I was thinking the WD was supposed to be a really great didj that most people (even us newbies) could get a reasonable sound out of - a sort of “didj ambassador” spreading the “faith” as it were. Expecting everyone to be able to play it well unwaxed begs the question of whether it is reasonable to expect that all sorts of different mouth and face sizes and shapes (not to mention didj experience) ought to be able to even get a decent sound out of any didj anywhere without alteration. After all, my kid plays on a 1/4 size violin, not my full size one ;-). Maybe expecting one size fits all from any didj is a bit much? Just a thought. — Chris W. (Richard’s wife)

PS: Although she can’t circular breathe, our 8-year-old daughter can usually get a better sound out of any didj than I can! ;-) PPS: The WD circled the Grizzly Giant Sequoia 3 times at Yosemite - I guess it’s picking up the Land’s sacred blessings everywhere..


Subject: The Wandering Didj, redux Date: Monday, September 06, 1999 From: Richard F. Man

Did I say I saw the WD at the Blanasi workshop? Geoff was passing it off to John there. I took the advantage and played with it a little bit more. It really is a wonderful didj, equally suitable to traditional style, and the non-traditional styles (balanda, balanda, balanda, hee hee).

And just in case John Madill is not killing all message with WD in the title, and to annoy him, I overheard someone say, “go play the wandering didj, Blanasi just played it.”

For the record, I have not seen the journal, and neither has Geoff, as far as I know. The journal appears to be having its own wandering journey ;-)

Oh finally, I did play one of Blanasi’s old didjs - it went through a tour all cracked and stuff which they patched up using massive amount of “craft’s glue” and honeybag. It plays very nicely. For the Sunday workshop, I picked up a nice WAL traditional stick from Clarion’s collection (they don’t have much of those). It worked out really nicely. Nice and loud ;-) It’s in the “Permanent Collection.” (I kind of did that on purpose - pick out a stick in the permanent collection, then I don’t have to worry about controlling opening the wallet ;-) I’d say these two sticks are equal in quality.


Subject: Wandering Didj Date: 9/2/99 From: Geoff Brown

Hi Folks,

I am the guilty party who has been hoarding the WD for too long. Unfortunately, I have an excuse… it has been a hard time around here. First my father-in-law died (after a long illness), then while we were away for his memorial, my mother suffered a serious stroke.

One of the few fun things I ahve done in the last 2 months has been to do a bit of WD recording with Randy Rood over at Emeryville Recording. That didj is definitely fun to play.

So, I hope I have played something with sending to David, and I really want to get this delightful instrument wandering again, so who’s next???

I think it would be John A. from the north country or John B. from SCruz. Anyone else? Ideas on how to make a handoff? If it is John B., my daughter will be heading down SCruz way (where she is a student) fairly soon. Replys should probably be just to me as


Subject: Fw: Wandering didj Sent: Thursday, November 18, 1999 12:37 PM From: Geoff Brown

Mike and John,

It arrived at my house yesterday and is now officially reunited with the case and log book. The log book is getting to be quite a story. By the way, if you ever need anything packes, nover mind the pros - ask John Bobeda, I think that package would have survived a small tactical nuclear strike. It took me half an hour to unpack it. My only complaint, John, is that I didnt get to see you.

I have emailed John Arntz about passing it on to him.


Subject: Re: The Wandering Didj, redux and more Date: Thursday, September 09, 1999 From: John Bobeda

To all wandering didge participants, Yes, I did pick up the wandering Didge from Geoff Brown and right now list member Joe Gentile is visiting with it. Since, Joe was in the area visiting , I passed it on to him till the end of this week. I will have it for at least a week, then It will go back to Geoff Brown so that he can participate in applying his mark to the famous stick.

From Geoff, the plan is to get it up to John Arntz and then back to SF to “The Armadillo”, and hopefully south to the palm desert…..who knows..damn thing does have a life of it’s own! Yes, we did get Mr. Blanasi to give it a shot and it was doccumented on 35mm film by Fred.

The journal does exist, It arrived at Clarion 2 weeks after the didge had been moved on so it is not up to date. I will get it from Fred and we can attempt to retrace the steps of the naughty little stick, and see if we can get it current.

I will be happy to mail it to the first participant who picked it up at Clarion when it first arrived, if we can figure that one out. I’d be happy to handle the journal as a project and bird dog it to whom-ever needs it.

How about this, If you participated in the wandering didge project…experienced it and made a sound file and got it off to David B. send me Email with details, dates etc. Some of this info is on the webpage but I’d like it anyway. Make sure that I have evough info to contact you and we can reconstruct the journey of the Wandering Didge. I will follow through and get it to you and we will get the wandering journal wandering. If you email me, please put WD Participant Info in the title so I won’t miss it.

The Wandering didge is in good health and do’n it’s thing so, let’s let it flow! California central west coast, US of A


Subject: Wandering Didge Journal Date: Wednesday, September 15, 1999 From: John Bobeda

Hi Brandi, Fred sent me the Wandering Didge Journal so we can bring it up to date. The Journal sat at Clarion all this time and has not been with the stick! Fred said that it arrived a week after the WD left Clarion in May.

It’s up-to-date as far as David Blonski, (to when he handed it off to Clarion). So, I’m attempting to get it to the person who picked it up from Clarion. I think Richard was that person. I emailed him today and will see that the journal gets back on the road to finally meet up with the instrument.

The instrument is still with Joe Gentile in Morgan Hill, I’ll get it the end of this week if I can, It’s in good hands. I’ll put in some energy to bird dog the journal. The Journal is as interesting as the didge! There are some great entries, I think it’s well worth the effort to get everyone to make an entry.

I’ll keep you informed about the situation, Not only does the Wandering Dige have a life of it’s own, but the Journal has taken on the same temperment!


Subject: Re: WD Journal-Alive and Well! Date: Thursday, September 16, 1999 From: John Bobeda

Hi Mike, I’m responding to your question about the WD journal on the list for others to read also.

The Journal is in good hands, I have it at the moment, and will send it to Richard Man. From Richard, then, it will go on to Geoff Brown in an attempt to bring it up to date. It will then come back to me where it will meet up with the Wandering Didge and all will be current. There was a time lag where the Journal was held up in the mail and the stick traveled ahead of it, nasty little thing..has a mind of it’s own! But what can you expect from such a fine instrument.

I’ll have it for about a week, I hope! Then the whole Wandering package will be back together and move on to John Arntz and on and on.

The Wandering Didge and the wandering journal are in great shape and both are very unique in character. When this project is completed the journal and the didge will be well doccumented by the individuals who participated.

For those who are waiting for their turn, It will be worth the wait. If you are interested in the project maybe contacting Brandi Chase is the best place to start, since she is mapping the slightly convoluted trail of the wandering stick. Any thoughts Brandi?


Subject: WD Date: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 5:55 PM From: John Bobeda

Hi mike (Spencer-Harty),

Yes, I do have the Wandering didge. I’ve had it for approx 2 weeks and I’m ready to move it on. I don’t know if Geoff brown contacted you yet or not to fill you in on the situation.

We, Myself, Geoff, Richard and others in the bay area did not receive the journal during the time that the didge was handed off to us. I got the journal before I got the didge and sent it to the first person in the bayarea who had not made an entry. That Was Richard Man. Richard is supposed to sent it to Geoff and then back to me so that I can make an entry. We will then be caught up with the journal and the didge. When the ndidge was handed off to me, I gave it to Joe Gentile whop mwas visiting the area for a week, (Morgan Hill Califortnia). Joe’s daughter was a little slow in getting it over to me so I’ve just really had a short time with it because of time constraints.

I contacted Geoff Brown yesterday about getting it up to him so that he can do the journal and put his sig on the didge…It looks great, sounds great and is in fine shape.

My plan is to get the didge to Geoff the end of this week if I get the journal back from Richard. I can drive it up to Geoff’s place which is about an hour away. Geoff will then do his thing….he has already recorder it so he shouldn’t have it very long.

Geoff stated that John Arntz has asked for the didge so he was going to send it up to him next….I think he is a little north of the bay area. We want to get the didge, the journal and the flight carrying case all back together into one package before it moves again.

That didge is really a great one especially for more traditional style playing and it also has some great harmonics..Guan really did a service for us all!

Please let me know it all of this works with your plans and if any changes need to be made. The Idea of this instrument getting from one person to another in a week is not working out because of everyon’s time constraints and the travel factor…took me two weeks of calling and calling to get the didge. It was a little upsetting til I realized that this didge has a life of it’s own and that’s all part of the deal.


Subject: Wandering Didge is on the move. Still weaving? Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 7:22 PM From: John Bobeda

To Mike Spencer-Harty, David Bolnski and Geoff Brown; I packed up the Wandering Didge and the journal and sent it by UPS to: Geoff Brown

The Tracking number is 1Z950X410349719965 The package number is #31477 The package is insured for $1,000 US Pick up can be arranged by calling UPS at 1-800-PICK-UPS if necessary.

If for some reason Geoff can not pick up the package it will be returned to; David Blonski. I used David’s address as a return address rather than my own so that It will indeed move on in any case and not come back to me.

The Didge is well packed with 3 layers of bubblepack and 2 layers of cardboard and tightly taped the full length of the package, I don’t anticipate any damage but, the insurance was in case it is lost in the mail. I think that we should be ok on this, since the didge started out packaged in a simular fashion. Someone should check out the 5 cracks to make sure it’s not leaking. Remember the cracks happened in I think Tazmania as mentioned in the journal.

Geoff has the case, so now the case, the didge and the journal should all get back to gether again. I hope that this is not an inconvenience to Geoff or anyone else. It looked as if I would not have been able to make a trip up to Geoff’s place so it seemed a reasonable alternative. All of our phone numbers are listed with UPS just in case we need to be called.

It’s outa my hands now and it feels great! I’m glad to have had a shot at the didge and be part of the project but I’m also glad to see it move on! If this didge ever gets back to Australia it should go on exhibit…what a neat project!


Subject: Re: Wandering Didge is on the move. Still weaving? Sent: Monday, November 15, 1999 4:20 AM From: John Bobeda

Hello Again Brandi,

To answer your question Below: Geoff asked for the Didge back because he didn’t sign the didge and also didn’t make an entry into the journal because Fred T, had it in San Francisco but didn’t let anybody know Until I asked him to send it to me.

Geoff also has the traveling hardcase which was with the didge when I got it. I’m just glad that it will all be together again and that Geoff has to deal with getting it to the next person. He asked for it back before it moved out of the Bay Area and I promised I’d get it back to him once the journal arrived. Since he is one of the original subscribers to the Mills list I felt that I should honor his request. I was in the middle of this thing for too long and wanted to make sure that the Didge didn’t come back to me so, that is why I put David Blonski’s name and address on the return…just in case, Geoff has a problem with the delivery. Geoff seems to have a very tight schedule now that he has retrained as a massage therapist. He also has been getting several Didge playing Gigs. It didn’t look as if we were going to have any time slots that coensided for the next few weeks so that’s why I sent the didge rather than the hand carried route


Subject: Wandering Didj Date: 6/4/00 From: Steve the Masked Armadillo

I now have the wandering didge. After over 2 years of waiting and reading and listening to other’s stories about it, the WD is now resting comfortably in my apt. here in San Francisco. I retrieved it from Laurie Hatch tonight after spending a truly wonderful day up on Mt. Hamilton in the Santa Cruz Mountains.


While in the San Diego Area the Wandering Didj also passed through the hands of Adrian Smith, Chris Canole, Kenny Elvin.


Subject: Wandering Didj | San Diego Date: 7.18.00 From: Brandi Chase

The wandering didj has made it to Southern California after revisiting half of the participants who had it over two years ago. Steve the Armadillo passed it off to me while we were in Seattle, but forgot to bring the journal. He still has the journal as far as I know, I am waiting for him to send it to me before I hand it off to Adrian Smith.

I can understand why so few people have recorded themselves playing on the instrument, its not any easy one to play. Especially after we removed the wax mouth piece that was on it, because Peter told us when he had it, there was no such mouth piece. After removing the wax from the instrument it went from hard to play, to darn near impossible, at least for my little lips.

But that is not the only difficulty with the Wanderer. I think that Guan chose this instrument for the experiment because of its nature: it sounds great when played a specific way, and that way is foreign to most all of us. Since I’ve been mucking around with it, I can hear so much potential in the different sound qualities and harmonics, but I can’t begin to understand how they should be assembled.


Subject: Wandering Didj | San Diego Date: 11.04.00 From: Brandi Chase

Hardly more later, Here is it November 4, and I’m just getting around to writing about the WD at our house. Gary + Chris of Tucson Didj Gathering fame visited us one fine evening in August and got to have a blow on the wanderer (thankfully after it had been repaired) and dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in our now old neighborhood. The repair pictures are below.

We sent the Wandering Didj off with Adrian Smith shortly before the Didjeridu event in Joshua Tree, and I beleive it is still with him now. He probably looks a little like this as he’s playing it

Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith


Subject: Wandering Didj Date: 7.18.00 From: Randy Graves

Repair

Repair

So the Wandering Didge joined the Randy/Brandi/Mister Lister road trip at the end of June in Seattle, Washington, where it had travelled with Steve the Armadillo. Unfortunately the journal didn’t come with it. We’ve been waiting to receive that before continuing the didge on its way. But there has been another complication… sorry to be so dramatic…

It started when we first pulled it out, and saw the hunk of yellow wax on it. We were of course mortified! We knew that it was a traditionally made didge, made to be played without wax. I knew that part of Guan’s original purpose in selecting this didge to send around the world was to give everyone a taste of a traditionally made didgeridoo from Arnhem Land. So we pulled off the wax in a frenzy, and then were surprised to find a HUGE mouthpiece that very few people could play very well. The shape seemed very uncharacteristic for a traditionally made stick.

So, I bashfully figured okay, I’ll put as little wax on it as I can get away with.

But it still didn’t seem to play quite right to me, and struck me as odd because it seemed very different from any didge I’ve ever seen. I even joked that maybe Guan was purposefully giving us all a didge that was hard to play.

This week, I tried to subtly mention something about this to Guan as I was suspicious, and sure enough, he confirmed my fear that someone along the way decided to do some work on the wandering didge by thinning out the wood at the mouthpiece end. The exterior of the wood is about 5cm diameter, but the bore was originally only about 3cm, so that the wood is thick at the top. This is typical of instruments with flared mouthpiece ends such as this one, which is what made me suspicious. The mouthpiece has now been thinned out thouroughly to at least half again the original mouthpiece size. Not only does this make the didge very difficult for most people to play without lots of wax, but it also drastically changes the back pressure of the instrument, because you’re blowing into a huge bore that then narrows down very small before flaring our slowly again.

I’ve discussed with Guan what to do about it. The first reaction of course was horror. This was the first traditional didgeridoo that Guan ever got, and the mouthpiece shape was a crucial part of that. The project was supposed to be about spreading around what a raw traditionally crafted didge is, and what it’s like to play one. So for an unknown amount of time, that purpose has been somewhat spoiled.

We are going to continue the didge on its way after I attempt some alterations on it. I’m going to use some wood filler to try and fill in the wood that has been removed, and try to return the mouthpiece to a flat surface with about a 3mm diameter. It won’t of course be the same as it was, but hopefully it’ll be close, and will be closer to the original backpressure and playing response that it had.

We are curious where and when this happened, largely so that we know who out there got the experience of playing this instrument as it was crafted by the Aboriginal maker, and who didn’t. So if all of you out there who have seen the instrument can email me privately and let me know what the mouthpiece was like when you got it. Compare what you played to the current image Or of course if you did the work, please let me know privately. We don’t want to make it public necessarily and make a scene for anyone, we just want to know who saw what, and possibly discuss the issue.

This of course was an unexpected result of the Wandering Didge experiment, but also is very interesting. As happens with a lot o traditional didgeridoos, someone tried to improve the wandering didge by thinning out the walls- trying to make it conform to a more normal western idea of what makes a good instrument. It’s the difference between working with the natural bore of the tree and an aesthetic more along the lines of “it’s not done until all the work that can be done on it has been done.” So we have definitely learned something about the difference between traditional and non-traditional instruments, and how people around the world will react to that difference!

LATEST UPDATE! John Burrows, the first USA recipient, confirms that the work was done before he got it. Yet Rob Hughes, first recipient in the Western Hemisphere, commented long ago about it having a small mouthpiece that needed no wax. So it seems to have happened somewhere between the few people who had it in Canada. You can’t pin this one on the Yanks!

JOHN BURROWS:Friday, July 28, 2000 : Wandering Didj Morph:

I would be very surprised if anyone did anything more than put some wax on the mouthpiece. I was the fourth person to get the Wandering Didj. The picture you have on your website looks exactly how it looked when I took the wax off. In the picture you can still see the red ochre/paint inside the mouthpiece. Unless someone carved the end out and then repainted it, I really doubt someone took a knife or chisel to the mouthpiece. As I remember, it always had a largish mouthpiece – I think that’s why Robert Hughes said he put wax on it initially, as he wasn’t able to get a good sound out of it when it arrived.

For someone to take it upon themselves to “improve” the yidaki in this way would be especially surprising considering no one has decided to try and attempt any serious repairs to the cracks. (I always thought it would be more likely for someone to unwittingly try to fix it by giving it a glue bath or something.) And when I tried it at Ed’s house last month, it had the same img/feel as I remember in Dec ’98. I just think it can be a very challenging instrument for some people as it’s so unusual compared to any instrument I’ve ever seen.

I truly hope no one was rude enough to alter it permanently. Putting a wax mouthpiece on isn’t terrible, but taking wood away is another story altogether. Cheers, John

Dave DeLacey: Sent: Friday, July 28, 2000 : Wandering Didj Morph

Hi Randy, Double-check this with Ed and Shi, because it has been a while, but I think that’s roughly the size of the mouthpiece when it was up here around Xmas-NY’s of..what, 99? It did have wax on it then, but not the huge glob I keep hearing about. It didn’t close the diameter much if any. And I do remember that the bore coned at least some at the top, because it was the first I’d seen that did.

But how much? That’s where I can’t say for sure, and begin doubting what I remember about it. ~4.5cm ( if I read you right) sounds bigger than I remember it, but 3cm sounds small. It was noticeably bigger than the one I was playing at the time, which is/was a tad more than 3. Not much help, am I? :)

Btw, I was talking to Ed about it a few days after the workshop, and he mentioned the mouthpiece was a bit big for his taste. He didn’t say anything about it being bigger or different than he remembered, though. He might have been the only Portland host of the WD to have enough experience with different (and different styles of) sticks to notice whether it seemed unusual or not. I’d take his word for it. Wishing this helped, Dave DeLacey Portland, Or.n

Chris Riley: Monday, July 31, 2000: Wandering Didj Morph:

Brandi When I had the WD it had a large landing approx 1/4" or wider with a central hole approx 1 1/4 - 1" oval type central hole. Looking at the web picture the mouthpiece has been widened by at least 1/4’ overall. Will look at home to see if some of the picies I took show the mouthpiece. Cheers Chris Riley Tassie Oz

Shi: Monday, July 31, 2000: Wandering Didj Morph

I remember it having some wax on the mouthpiece. I did not know about it’s original condition so wasn’t looking for any alterations. One thing I did note though (I’m not sure if I put it in the journal or not) was the “thinness” of the upper section of the didj. I found that it was unusually thin walled for being on the upper part of the stick and the part that is probably going to be supporting alot of weight if you were to pick it up by the mouthpiece end. At this time there were also some tiny cracks appearing in this same area that were being filled with wax. Not sure if this helps out any but that is what I remember. Although it’s been some time ago. Bright Blessings, Lawrence


Subject: The Wandering Didj Date: 08.19.00 From: Randy Graves