Sounds of didjeridoo fill art museum Saturday

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Paul “Walking Stick” Taylor lead a workshop and gave a musical and storytelling performance Saturday.

He explained through his Australian accent, “[A didjeridoo] is an aboriginal musical tradition used as a rhythmic base for the dances in the North of Australia. It’s [made of] a trunk of a Eucalyptus tree that’s been eaten out on the inside by termites.”

Though the instrument is relatively new–only about 2,000 years old, as compared to over 60,000 years of Aboriginal art and history– the didjeridoo is widely accepted.

“It’s now been embraced by both white and black Australians as part of our culture. It’s the sound of Australia,” Taylor said.

Twenty-five people attended each of the two workshops on Saturday afternoon, which involved making and learning to play a didjeridoo. Many more packed into the museum for that evening’s performance of Taylor’s Aboriginal story telling and music-making.

Mary Kraljic and Jim Welch brought their son Bernie, 5, for a day of learning.

“It’s a good family activity, learning about another culture,” Welch said.

Workshop attendee Jerry Cooley is known in Brookings for his ability with bagpipes. “I thought it would be interesting yet challenging to learn [to play the didjeridoo],” he said.

Throughout his evening presentation, Taylor easily combined the music of his didjeridoo with his captivating story telling and conversational style.

Taylor talked about the “dream time,” of the time of Aboriginal creation.

He told tales of the rainbow snake, which has a kangaroo head and is decorated with Aboriginal designs. Taylor explained how in Aboriginal folklore, this snake formed the mountains and valleys of the earth with the swinging of its tail, and that water holes, or “billabongs,” were the eyes of the rainbow snake.