Noisy Toys interviews:
Dean Wolfe - Didgeridoo player
NT - What got you interested in the didgeridoo as an instrument and tell us a little background on how you started playing and making them.
Dean - I was at the Whole Life Expo, and I saw a gentleman playing the didgeridoo, back in 1995, and I was just amazed at the sound that was coming out of this tube. It was magical. It brought me back to a time and place that made me think I was in Australia in a different lifetime. That’s the only way I can explain how I felt. It was wonderful!
NT - So you felt that this music was something you could identify with right away, even though you don’t have Australian roots and have never been to Australia?
Dean - Yes. As soon as I heard it, it called to me basically. I was drawn to it like a magnet. It sounded like something similar to a heartbeat or Mother Earth’s heartbeat. You could feel it more than anything, and how you feel is very important. I was just really, really excited to hear that. So, I bought the cassette and took it home and listened to it, and made a didgeridoo out of a PVC pipe, that was simple to make, and I started practicing.
NT - Obviously you’ve progressed from the PVC pipe version. What do you use now when you make them and do you have special ways to make them your own?
Dean - I now make them out of bamboo, which is naturally hollow. You just take out the nodes between, and I use a two part resin polyurethane to coat the inside. It prevents the bamboo from cracking. I coat the outside, too. I also make them out of agave flower stalk which is not hollow naturally. I have to split that and core it out, glue it back together and then resin coat the inside and the outside to also prevent it from cracking. Yucca is also used, and is very similar to agave. It’s the same procedure. It takes about ten to twenty hours to make each didgeridoo from scratch.
NT - Do you make them only for yourself or would you sell any?
Dean - I do sell them. I make them out of gourds as well. The mouthpiece at the top is sometimes made out of the top of a gourd, and the bottom bell end if the piece of agave or bamboo (obviously) does not have a flared end, I put a flared end made of gourd on the bottom to make the sound expand more. That’s the latest thing I have been trying. I went to the gourd festival in Fallbrook recently and played on stage for a little bit and showed people how I make them out of bamboo and gourd and agave.
NT - That was your first public performance on the didge, I understand. How did you like it?
Dean - It was wonderful. I thought I might be a little bit more nervous than I was, but it wasn’t that way at all. It was what I love to do. It was just my heart calling and expressing myself through the didgeridoo. As I played,
the didgeridoo basically played for me. As I play through it, intuitively I feel energies from all around and I just lose myself into it. It’s wonderful.
NT - I know that some people like to take them and go to natural places, like forests or deserts. Do you have any interest in that or does it just take you to places no matter where you are?
Dean - I love to play to hollowed out tree trunks, when the trees are still living. I play out in nature as much as I can, and I also am a Reiki healer. I use sacred symbols to put my hands on people and send these sacred symbols through my hands into the body. As I play the didgeridoo I am also using the sacred symbols and intuitively playing around the physical body to align the frequencies in the body back to alignment. Depending on the key of the didgeridoo, you’re able to specifically tune in to that frequency of the body. It might be a low “A” or a “B” which I prefer because it is a low tone. Depending on the length of the didgeridoo, you get different frequencies.
NT - What does the vibration from the didgeridoo do for you and what does it do for other people when you share it with them?
Dean - When I play the didgeridoo to someone I usually concentrate around their aura, not directly touching their body, but intuitively I go around in circles, figure eights, using the sacred symbols.
NT - Is there something about the actual vibration itself that works with this?
Dean - Yes. As I’m playing, the vibrations are also going through my body and I am feeling them almost as much as the person being played to. Now as I play to the people, and afterward I ask them how they feel, because that is the most important key. How do you feel? Or what did it make you feel? People have told me that they feel they are on a boat on a river traveling, and there are birds. Or they just feel peaceful. I have not had a single person dislike it.
NT - How long have you been doing Reiki? When did you incorporate the didgeridoo with it?
Dean - Reiki was just introduced to me. My girlfriend took me to an initiation meeting and as I was initiated I also went into a slight trance and it was the most wonderful thing. I felt pretty close to God. That’s the only thing I can think of to describe how I felt. As she was initiating me, it was the most wonderful feeling. My whole body tingled, and in every pour of my body I could see blue sparks coming out. It was pretty incredible. I have not done too much with Reiki, but didgeridoo comes naturally as just a part of me. It’s second nature, and it just takes over me and I’m just the vehicle that is generating the vibrations.
NT - Have you done research on the origins of the didgeridoo in Australia? Do you have any desire to watch the Aboriginals play?
Dean - Yes. I would some day love to visit Australia and witness that. I read a magazine called “Didgeridoo and Company,” and in these issues they tell about the origins of the didgeridoo. They estimate it at 10,000 to 40,000 years old and they use them in ceremonies and it takes you into a dream time. The didgeridoo is used for telling stories. I’m not too knowledgeable about the history, and I would love to go over there (Australia) to play with the elders and hear what they have to teach me.
NT - What do you do when you’re not playing your didgeridoo? Tell us a little about the other side of you.
Dean - I work with stained glass windows. I make them from scratch. Right now I’m concentrating more on repair of stained glass windows for the residential market and churches. I work for a stained glass company. I do all their installations of the leaded glass windows they produce. It started as a hobby 25 years ago, and in my mind it’s still a hobby. Now the didgeridoo is just calling me. This is my next venture.
You can reach Dean at: DeansDidge@aol.com.
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