Is the didgeridoo the new cheap guitar? That could be the case among Toronto’s street musicians, as evidenced by these shots at Kensington Market’s monthly Pedestrian Sunday and, yesterday, on the corner of Yonge and Dundas streets across from Dundas Square. You can pair it with almost any other instrument, though a sitar seems a rather eclectic choice, or make it the basis for a one-man band. You can even put three of them together for the ultimate Pipes of Pan (eat your heart out, Zamfir!). Almost guaranteed to draw a crowd.
They’re not terribly expensive to buy. There’s one for sale in Oshawa, made in Indonesia rather than Australia, for $160. Or you can make your own from a length of plastic, wood, or metal tubing. Though the “circular breathing” technique, which allows the musician to keep playing on and on without seeming to take a breath, is tricky to master, you can pick up the basics faster than you’d learn to strum the three fundamental guitar chords.
On the serious side, Australian aboriginals regard the didgeridoo very profoundly and use it in their religious rites. They don’t take kindly to women playing it. An Agence France-Presse story last month quoted Aboriginals warning that Australian girls who were taking up the instrument ran the risk of infertility for playing around with “men’s business.”
Photos by Bill Taylor/Torontoist