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Didjeridoo Summit

Ondrej Smeykal and Stephen Kent’s Didjeridoo Summit was wonderful again this year. This music and these people are just so healing for me. I know from the faces and responses that everyone who experiences a show like this is touched by the energy, as well.

I don’t know what it is about primal music. It takes to us a native place, where we felt each other and our bodies more intuitively and honestly, where “We Are One” wasn’t a mantra yet because we hadn’t forgotten. I reflect on what it is about the didgeridoo that fosters that Oneness. I imagine ancient instruments remind our cells and psyches of a time and place where reliance on one another was requisite for survival. Perhaps in those times, community comfort and love was simpler, too. I always think of the Earth in those days, so pure and unadulterated. I think, “But time marches on. We filled the planet simply because we did. We invented better ways to do our work because that’s who we are.” Invariably I wonder, “When did the power grab separate us from our planet and our integrity? And how could we let it continue once we recognized it? How do we not insist that we save Her?” I just don’t get it. I feel anxiety rise in me that I’m not doing enough. Then I breathe again, because simply being in a community, in a concert like this, is something. I believe that the voice of the Earth comes through these instruments and whispers to each participant, “Come back to me. I want to be your home. I want to be well, and embrace my children.” Writing that, I feel like a New Age, do-nothing hack.

I’m struggling with a recent trauma. It is for this reason that I haven’t written. As I take myself back into the energy of that room, however, this is, in fact, what I received. Getting that pit-of-my-stomach poser shame is my own hubris, I know. I’m willing to accept that I care and would do more if I could.

I came home from the performance praying that those with power and money would be touched by the need of our human family to reconnect with and recover our Mother. I say that prayer again now. I’m so grateful for those in my community who do have means, and use them for awareness and activism. I love the musicians and artists who take us to that place where Spirit speaks, and we hear. I love the people who attend such rallies, meetings, and performances for their desire to learn and share this message, or simply to find relief. Whether you’re there for the first time or for a refresher, this is what you can receive.

And it just makes you happy! Stephen Kent told Marko, “I don’t know what it is about Salt Lake. I get so silly here! I’m usually very serious when I perform.” I’ve only seen an even blend of both. It’s very effective. He’s just the most utterly delightful man. He plays with us! It makes discussions about Aboriginal people and the dire condition of the planet not more palatable, but more… natural. Yes, we are here to celebrate! Yes, we need to get things done. NOW. Otherwise, I just kept grinning at how cute he is up there, haha! I love his style and how he moves when he plays. It has something to do with the way shaking a percussive rattle makes him shake his tail feather. It’s organic and… darling. And who can say enough about his personality and pithy British wit?stephen

My relief and healing began again when Stephen started, though that’s not to suggest I did not deeply feel the passion and prayer that emanates from Leraine Horstmanhoff. She’s amazing, and I look forward to all of her performances. (I enjoyed a house concert in winter last year. I should have written about it.) When you sit with the continuous drone of the didgeridoo, however, with that gorgeous deep breath again, Source knows what you need and gets it for you. Oh man, it was good to relax! (I went to Spain in July and had a very bad experience that resulted in hiding for the remainder of my stay in a safe house for battered women. My attacker was a [female] friend of 10 years.)

I completely let go of my belly and breathed. Soon, I got up and stretched. My soul ached and so did my body. I danced some, but mostly I just stretched. Ondrej Smeykal was playing now, and there’s not a word to describe the meditative place he takes us to. I want to invent a new one. It was very much a feeling of, “You’re right. We took us here!” I felt the energy of everyone in that room contributing to the healing of my body, and thanked them for it. Then I opened my eyes and saw my friend Peter lying on pillows on the floor. He fell 40 ft. in June from an anchor as he started to rappel a rockface, and broke his back. It’s a miracle he’s alive. I went to him and danced and stretched nearby. Ondrej had invited us to close our eyes and go within, “and see what we create. I’m not very interesting to watch,” he said. Inasmuch as he doesn’t dance or talk or play various instruments, I suppose he was right, but he channeled for 35 minutes straight. (My date, a first-timer, told me later, amazed.) I think he played 4 distinct pieces, between which we clapped, of course, but the effect was continuous, pure connection.

Ondrej is mistaken, in my opinion, about not watching him. You’d be stirring inside that magic space and then, sure enough, he’d blow your mind again and you had to look. His aura sucked you straight into his energy! It was so powerful and beautiful. Stillness isn’t boring. It’s peace. How strange to enter quiet against the backdrop of this explosive, percussive sound! Indeed, because of it. ondrej

Ondrej closed the evening elaborating on the theme that became the title of last year’s review: Simple, Complex, and Exact. “With these instruments there’s no restriction or frustration,” he said. “You don’t need a passport and there’s no language barrier.” He couldn’t have known how relevant that was for me. For weeks, I’ve marveled at the good fortune that was mine in Spain. Beyond language limitation, I met and healed with the most beautiful, energetic people. I knew as it was happening that my own resonance attracted safety and love.

It’s been a struggle since my return to maintain that feeling of worthiness and humility. I was fine for about 2 weeks after coming home, and then the bottom fell out. This concert, this connection reminded me. The following week, I made an appointment to begin trauma counseling. I’m also doing music therapy, though I didn’t know that’s what it was when I signed up. I started an 8-wk. djembe workshop that I am rocking, if I do say so myself! It was inspired. I’m the cheapest tightwad you’ll ever meet. I’ve been wanting to join this class for years, but couldn’t justify the expense. Now here I am with credit card debt from an ill-fated trip and, boom, I just did it! It is saving me. And I actually practice! I never did find my on-switch with the didgeridoo. 🙂 But, oh, how I love it!

Tribal music heals the soul.

me with a spanish tanI try to imbue this blog with my personality, yet stay a little more distant from it than my personal blog. I intended it to be a forum for discussions mainly on the didge, naturally, but also on broader native music. It also was a means to highlight the instruments and talents of Marko Johnson, who coordinated the show and is the go-to didge guy in Salt Lake, and a known inventor in the didge world. The man holds the patent on the didjbox, a compact didgeridoo perfect for travel and just plain cool, like its designer. He was the first to alter this instrument in 400,000 years. But this Summit touched a place in me that was deeply frightened. Thank you for bearing with me. Blessings!marko and yanaHere’s Marko playing The Micro Didjbox and Yana holding one of his leather didges at my 41st birthday party. I’m blessed with good friends. Thanks again, C

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Didgeridan Flynn

I’m so excited! I just checked in to Facebook to find that Dan had posted the announcement for an upcoming show in LA with Ondrej and Stephen Kent, whom I’ve heard of but never met. Marko talks about him a lot and by now I recognize some of his music. He’s performing at the Dancing Cranes event on the 14th, as well. Well, this time cousin Dan isn’t listed as pre-show entertainment, but 4th billing as a headliner! Way to go, cous!

It’s not that I wasn’t proud and happy to hear him again as pre-show; It’s just that seeing his “name in lights,” as it were, took me back to the days when I didn’t know him at all, and he blew my mind. I imagined some didge enthusiast going to the concert for another of the 4 names and not even hearing of this guy, in no way anticipating what he will do, this guy who… “ended up being the best surprise of the night!” as I’ve exclaimed after so many live music experiences.

I realized Dan was my first didge idol. I mean, Marko opened my eyes to what this instrument was and what it was capable of, but Dan… I mean, some sounds I didn’t even know could be made on earth. And there he was, right there, circular breathing, pumping out this purcussive, perfectly simple, impossibly complicated call. His was the first signature I could recognize.

Before Dan, the music of the didgeridoo was traditional, tribal, very very unknown. After Dan I asked questions. He answered. He really answered! I found out I love the way his brain works. A friendship was born. And then we discovered we’re family. It happens in Utah. Or Nevada, as the case may be. 🙂didgeridan

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Ondrej Smeykal Returning to Salt Lake City

I met Ondrej 2 years ago when he gave a private concert in Park City at the home of Marko’s friend, Don Fulton. I’m looking forward to his show on May 14th at Dancing Cranes Imports. Especially exciting is that my cousin Dan performs in the pre-show! Ondrej was Dan’s didge idol for years, and when I heard him play in person it was immediately clear why. Mind-blowing stuff! At the time, Ondrej had begun experimenting with just his breath, no lip vibrations. It was surprising to me that I could be so moved by just the rhythm of his breath. I remember getting really philosophical about the human experience, the magic of being alive, and sharing air with everyone in that room. The breathy music was percussive and earthy and made me think of the ocean. At one point, I was listening with eyes closed when I heard the screech of a bird. I looked outside to witness an eagle in a steep, fast dive! One of those moments in life when you feel intensely connected. It was a little overwhelming and a lot AWESOME!
smeykal

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Filed under didgeridoo, Marko Johnson, Salt Lake City