What is a Yidaki?
Yidaki is one of the traditional names for the instrument that we know today as Didgeridoo. But there is an essential difference between the two instruments. Yidaki’s are only made by Yolgnu, the traditional aboriginals from Arnhemland, Australia. The technique to play the Yidaki has completely its own texture. The articulation is very strong and the sound, which is traditionally only played on Eucalyptus instruments, has its very own sound structure because of the complex articulation building blocks. The keys are high between the C and the G, in some cases even higher. The Yidaki is played for rites and ceremonies by the Yolgnu, and is often combined with dance, clapsticks and singing. This specific and original style, which is also subdivided into different clans with its own characteristic ways of playing, is a long study. We will not play completely traditional games as Westerners, as these songs remain within the culture and are guarded.
I own two Yidaki. One from 2004, made by Djalu Gurruwiwi. Djalu is one of the older members of the Galpu clan. Is seen as the guardian of the Yidaki and is well known in building and painting Eucalyptus instruments eaten by termites. The instrument has been in the personal possession of the New Zealand, Jeremy Cloake, for 14 years. Is seen as one of the best studied Yidaki players and is internationally known in teaching the Yidaki style. He studied for many years with the Yolgnu de Yidaki, and spread his knowledge about the world as a teacher.
Jeremy about this Yidaki: “This instrument is what is sometimes referred to as Baywara power, the intensity of the lightning. of the rainbow serpent as he travels through the land, spitting lightning as he moves and rumbling like thunder Wititj emerged from a freshwater waterhole at Ngaypinya, a billabong covered in dhatam (water lilies) and gulwirri (palm trees) plus numerous other plants, hence the association with the plant world. ”
The second Yidaki voted in G I bought on request and again from Jeremy. My wish for a very high tuned instrument with authentic painting came after he informed me about a ceremonial quality Yidaki with a rare painting of Mulkun Wirrpanda, a plant medicine elder and artist. Instrument is also manufactured by Djalu.
If you want to learn directly from the source about this style you will have to travel to Australia, indirectly I can share about this style to what extent my own study in this range. The rare recorded video below is made possible by Jeremy Cloake.