Is an excellent Italian didgeridoo crafter and player, maybe one of the best crafter i have ever known. I was very lucky to have the first workshop of my life with him.
- Andrea Ferroni -
So, why the didgeridoo? What attracted your attention the first time you heard it?
I’d like to tell you poetical stories about it. But I don’t. I’ve met the first Italian didgeridoo festival 5km far from my house just by coincidence. What a luck!
I’m a technician. My first question was simply: ‘How does it work?’ I started to appreciate the sounds later. It became my favorite instruments in few weeks.
I also loved the variety of people at the event. I thought it was a good chance to meet people from every part of Europe and even more.
I know you recorded your first album after only two years playing, and the didgeridoo skills that you learned in so little time are really amazing, with a really unique style. I think a good method and a strong discipline are very important to have good results. Do you have this? And in life in general?
Absolutely. I practiced at least 3 hours a day, every day and even more during the weekends. In general I make a lot of work to listen to myself, to understand what I have to improve, where I make mistakes and where my limits are. So I practice every day on everything I like. I create my own exercises to push my limits ahead. But I’m not sick 😀
I continue till I love what I’m doing.
I do apply this method on everything I study.
Then I compare myself to the best players in a really honest way
What was the greatest satisfaction in your career, as a player and as a craftsman?
the greatest satisfaction as player had been taking part in the most important European festivals till the end of the European Golden Age of the didgeridoo. It was a great honor to play on the same stage with the greatest didgeridoo players. Some of them look disappeared now.
As teacher, I’m so proud to have supported several students for their career. William Goldshmidt for example played at the Swizzeridoo Festival a couple of edition ago under my suggestion. He had a great show.
As maker it is a great satisfaction to see people all around the world playing my instruments. This job gave me the chance to study acoustic as a self-thought person. I could cooperate with the ‘Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia’. I use this study for acoustic simulations in my engineering office.
I saw that an association, ‘Arti e Tradizioni’ offered different kinds of workshops like making good natural bread, beer or cheese, or for couples, the art of bondage and several more. And of course, about didgeridoo and music in general. Is there a common purpose that guides you in promoting these kinds of arts?
Everything started with the didgeridoo. We had the ‘Yidaki Cultural Association’ from 2003 to 2010. It was mostly focused on didgeridoo only.
Then I learnt some interesting points about Nonverbal Communication, aesthetic and composition. I decided to study at the three year course in music therapy to improve my skills.
At the same time I studied new musical instruments and organized more workshops.
The new association ‘Arti e Tradizioni’ space (since 2011) is bigger than in the past. I thought it would be a pity to leave the space used only little time for the didgeridoo only.
The association purpose it is different than in the past. Now we take care about music and art in general and on everything about environment, ecology and personal growth. So we create workshops about home-made food; it’s great for families to stay close together and get satisfactions from their own work and socialize.
We also dedicate some workshops about communication during relationship, sentimental education and sexuality with University teachers. It’s absolutely great. I honestly think life is so various that has to be lived entirely.
But we do not forget our main passion: the didgeridoo.
We teach how to play and compose with didgeridoo, how to make wooden and fiberglass didgeridoo. I don’t know other spaces where it is possible to learn how to design this kind of instrument following physics acoustic bases like we do. It sounds not so humble, but I’m proud of it.
Can you imagine the evolution of the didgeridoo world in 50 years? How?
Well, in 50 years it’s so complex. I predicted the last ten year changings during a letter to ‘Didgeridoo Magazine & Co.’ (who’s reminding this magazine?). Few festival represented few huge fires. Many people arrived there from every part of the world taking away the knowledge about that fire. They replicated it in several cities. Today festivals are smaller but didgeridoo players are pretty everywhere. From a point of view the scene looks down. The reality is the old didgeridoo scene did its job.
In the next 50 years didgeridoo will be more or less popular depending mostly on mass media and viral videos.
I would compare the didge to the ukulele. The ukulele approximately disappeared 20 years ago, but when few pop bands started to use it again, it became again so popular. That’s it
You played among the biggest European didgeridoo festivals and you shared the stage with the new school and with the old school of the didgeridoo world. What changed?
From the point of view of people who don’t know much about the old school, what would you say to a new didge player?
Nice question! It’s sometimes sad. Without any offence, there are didgeridoo players they are simply the monster of the didgeridoo.
A professional player and especially teachers have to know them. They are the history of the didgeridoo. So… if you don’t know Michael Jackson (the didge player, not the pop singer) from Australia, Matthias Mueller, from Switzerland, Ali Andress from Austria, Ansgar Stein from Germany, even Ondrej Smeykal from Czech is not so much around has in the past (since I see), Dr. Didg from USA, etc, etc.
… and what about traditional music for example?
The history teaches us what it has been already done and it suggests us the direction where to go
What would be the most important thing to do and not to do for good learning?
Practice, practice, practice they say. I would add with passion, every day, with a clear objective. As previously said, a musician knows what he is not able to play. So, he has to be honest with himself.
Last but not least, look for a small group of people to encourage each other… and avoid people they slow down your work. They can be met for a beer in other situations 🙂
Your investigations about the physics of didgeridoo are very impressive and relevant. What is the strangest project you undertook? And what is waiting for us in the future?
What a question… I’m working on optimization shapes for engine cars components. It could be possible that I find a way to use the same technologies with the didgeridoo. I risk becoming unpopular but… I think all the studies on this field slowed down because are not so necessary.
Except tuning requests, didgeridoo players very rarely know something on color tone of the sound. The result is nice compositions with a very bad sounds. Too much reverb and fat sound. Overtone lines completely destroyed by huge bells.
You know, I made a workshop longer than 150min that is freely on the net for this purpose (on request). I think knowledge would be better than a great instrument that is not used in the right way.
Andrea, if you come to Latin America you are really welcome!
Thank you very much, and a big hug!!!
Why not? Ok, yes, I know why. It’s far and I have little time… but let me think about it.