June 18, 2010

Didgerido-ing My Thing

Some of you may know that I have thrown myself into the magical world of playing the didgeridoo. Here's whats been going on. I went to Australia in 2000 to study printmaking. I bought a didgeridoo there. It was in Cairns (prounounced: Cans) that I purchased this didgeridoo. I ran into a man playing one of these didgeridoos for minutes on end. I was mesmerized watching him play and listening to the drones, crackles, twangs and buzzes flowing from the instrument. He stopped, looked up at me and said, "It's an amazing journey." That was pretty much it for me, I had to get one.

I learned different sounds, but ran into a blockade trying to understand this 'circular breathing' stuff. How do people breathe in AND out at the same time. I couldn't do it. I gave up and my didg' became an ornament for showing friends and impressing girls.

Fast forward to April, 2010. I am in Kauai, studying yoga, right,.. you guys know this. One of the girls in the training with me has this boyfriend named Jim who has a didgeridoo. And I don't know what it was about this guy, or this didg' or what, but something in me said, "it's time to play this instrument again." So, I bought one at the local music shop, a plastic version, painted in the traditional Aboriginal way of the dreamtime serpent. 

I practiced and practiced, the sounds came back to me. I expanded on more sounds. Still the circular breathing wasn't there, although I became committed to learning so I can fulfill on this dream I had of playing in the New York City subway system. I first became aware of this dream after I saw this, check it out. 

I left Hawaii still practicing. Practiced more at the Dharma Siddha Buddhist house in Berkeley, CA. They were happy I was playing. I was happy too, but I knew I had lots left to learn. I came back to New Jersey and watched countless circular breathing tutorials on YouTube, it still wasn't helping b/c I wasn't circular breathing, which basically means I can play well, but for only 15 or so seconds at a time, maybe. To circular breathe would mean I could go out into the streets and fulfill my dream and mission of playing in the subway and being a busking musician, an artist but only once I get this breathing technique.

When I was in Berkeley I met a woman who could play and circular breathe. She said it was all feeling. That wasn't good enough for me at the time though. I needed linear, concrete examples on how to breathe, move my cheeks, flicker my tongue. All of it. I also met a man at the same house I met this woman at and he was giving me all kinds of equations for breathing circularly. But that didn't help either. Was I ever going to get this!

Yes I was! I got it. I got it last friday night! And, I have to say the woman who taught me to just feel my way into it was right. It's a total feeling instrument and my teacher. And last friday night, one week ago right now, I was playing in the W4th subway station on the B,D,F,V Downtown and Brooklyn platform fulfilling a dream. How did it happen?

Didg'in da' subway from brandon waloff on Vimeo.

Earlier that night I was in my room around 8:45 playing, probably just going to stay in and drink a beer with Doug and Olivia when it just clicked. Just like that. I couldn't believe it. I was now ready to go play in the subway! And good thing for me b/c with my recent financial shortage I was planning to play the next day, even if I didn't get the breathing down. Perfect!

It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I have had in a while, different than Hawaii. This was me on my edge, as a man and I was SUPER ALIVE!  I made a few duckets but the best part was talking to a 10-year old girl and her mom as they gazed in curiosity.  

Since that night the interactions remain to be the best part of this whole new endeavor I have taken on. West 4th street, Broadway/Lafayette, Central Park (that was a free concert I gave to the people), Washington Sq. Park, Madison Sq. Park and Union Square have all seen me to this point. Coincidentally at the same time I have begun to teach yoga. I've played 6 times now in New York City and have taught yoga 3 times last week. Since playing I have met 3 yoga teachers also who want me to play with them in their class as well as some other juicy opportunities that have surfaced where I can play music.  

I feel I am living out of my heart and am completely in alignment with my passion right now. I want to create music. I want to develop this sound with inspiring mantra's and trance-like effects and play across the lands and be a yoga teacher and didgeridoo player for my students. You don't think I'm serious? Oh, I am. Just you wait. 

Throughout this past week I have felt more connected to yoga, to it's practice and how much of an honor it is to teach this lineage. How does the didgeridoo connect to yoga besides playing for classes? I am playing. Yoga is a practice that can loosen up the tightness of everyday living, lighten up our outlooks and enlighten our souls. Naturally playing didg' in the streets has come from lightening up and living day by day, listening to my heart, shutting up my head and remaining present to my dream. Yoga means union. Yup, that's how.


1 comment: