Here is a little story that happened to me:
Nine or ten days ago, on a Friday, I stopped into our local plant nursery to purchase two hanging plants for my balcony. To my surprise, the place was now set up like a farmer’s market. An enthusiastic man - Glen - welcomed me and told me where I could find my plants. Later, he helped me get my plants in the trunk of my car, where I had stored a portable PA system and other musical doo-dads.
Are you a musician? he asked. I told him I play the didgeridoo. He invited me to bring it to their next farmer’s market, next Friday at 3.
After all these years, I’m actually getting pretty good on the didgeridoo. But playing it in public? For an extended time? Cue up the fear and uncertainty.
But I also wanted to play my didgeridoo in public. More than anything else in the world.
I spent the next week practicing my didge through my PA system (very very softly). Prior to this, I’ve only amped-up so I can be heard above the racket in drum circles. I can barely find the power button and have no idea how to work the settings. I experimented with “delay” and “reverb” and all the rest, and practiced-practiced-practiced, incorporating drums and other noise-makers into my routine.
Friday afternoon rolled around. It was now or never. I loaded two didgeridoos, my PA, a drum, and various noise-makers into my trunk, and headed for the farmer’s market. Glen showed me where to set up. A guitar player would be coming in later. I had about an hour to perform.
I’m sure you have all had this problem: How to fill up an hour on the didgeridoo.
Calmly, cooly, I unpacked my gear and got organized. My PA system squealed in protest. I brilliantly deduced that my stomp box was the culprit. I shifted things around. Still that nasty feedback squeal. No more time for fiddling. I unhooked the stomp box. I put my drum in place (a sort of Indian tom-tom on its side), got my noise-makers into position, lined up my didgeridoos, and took a gulp of water.
I started honking on my didge and banging on my drum. I was kind of isolated in the shade trees, so I had no idea how the vendors or their customers were reacting. But I managed to put together six or seven minutes of creditable didgeridoo-ing before putting down my instrument. On my second go, I noticed three girls standing by me.
Do you want to join in? I asked. Three heads nodded enthusiastically.
I got one of the girls to bang on the drum and another to make coyote noises on my spare didge into the microphone while the other girl held the instrument in position. Then I had a brilliant idea. I turned up the delay to my speaker all the way, so that we had a coyote echoing through the canyon. Then I joined in with my animal noises. It wasn’t exactly music, but we were all having an awful lot of fun.
The girls had a way of naturally taking turns, seamlessly shifting from drum to didgeridoo to didge-holder and back again. Their mother came by and snapped pictures. The girls and their mom left, feeling very happy. So was I. The rest of the gig was a snap. I will be back.
Published On: May 26, 2013
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