Mark: Ever keen to improve my understanding of world music, I have been exploring didgeridoo culture–at any rate, I have read the Wikipedia article on the noble instrument. What riches!
A mysterious etymology, for example:
“‘Didgeridoo’ is usually considered to be an onomatopoetic word of Western invention, but it has been said that it may be derived from the Irish words dúdaire or dúidire, meaning variously ‘trumpeter; constant smoker, puffer; long-necked person, eavesdropper; hummer, crooner’ and dubh, meaning ‘black’ (or duth, meaning ‘native’). It is alleged that upon seeing the instrument played for the first time, a British army Officer turned to his Gaelic aide and asked ‘What’s that?’, to which the aide bemusedly replied, ‘dúdaire dubh,’ meaning ‘black piper.’ However, this is unlikely as the Irish word for a black person is actually ‘fear gorm’ (literally ‘blue person’)…”
(That the Irish cannot distinguish between blue and black is a bit surprising. They never seem to have had any trouble telling orange from green.)
And then there is the “List of notable didgeridoo players.” You can’t help but admire these performers, toiling away doggedly on the remotest frontiers of musicianship, unappreciated and unknown. (Except for Rolf Harris, who I remember seeing on the telly in the 1960s, brandishing his didgeridoo.)
We should note, however, that English spellings like “dge” for the voiced common affricate and “oo” for the long form of the close back round vowel, are demeaning and hurtful to persons of aboriginality. The approved spelling is now “didjeridu.”