It was love at first sight. Or first sound, really. The first time I heard the primal drone of a didjeridu, I was at Esalen in Big Sur. The Wednesday night jam was a weekly event amongst the tubs where the spa was enclosed.
The sacrifice in the view of the cliffs over the Pacific Ocean were more than compensated for with incredible acoustics.
Somehow a didjeridu, a saxophone, and a trumpet made an effective and peculiar trio. But it was the didjeridu that did it for me. The mysterious tones of the didjeridu played into the amplifier of a clawfoot tub soared through the chamber, and I was hooked.
InDidjInUs 2019 - Ondrej Smeykal
That was before the didj player did his rounds for a sound healing up our chakras. I had never experienced music that could be felt, physically felt as the musician played it around me.
Then I was really hooked.
Every time a didjeridu was played, I got excited.
The best New Year’s Eve I ever had, a didj was played as we approached midnight. Even though the headlining band was playing on the top floor, I knew I was in the right place to call in the New Year.
InDidjInUs 2019 - Lewis Burns on didj with dancer Adam and singer Jamie
I especially love to dance to the didj. That tone brings out something buried deep in me. I move in a more thorough, embodied way that gets to all my parts. It’s catharsis in its purest form.
Beloved is one of the more beloved music festivals around Oregon, focusing on sacred music and higher consciousness. It’s lush and decadent, and very Arabian Nights with its exotic trappings. I went one year and had tickets to go to the next.
Then I heard about InDidjInUs a few years ago.
I couldn’t believe there was a gathering centered around the didjeridu. The thought of 4 days of non-stop didjeridu music made my mouth water.
Everybody loves Mama Emma!
The website and Facebook page was so vague, yet so specific, I wondered if it was only for didjeridu players, not didjeridu listeners or didjeridu dancers.
It also seemed that there was some kind of struggle going on about the values of this gathering. One man made very clear that they were not about a typical “festival” party atmosphere, and they’d appreciate it if the festival partiers would go to Beloved instead.
Beloved was on the same weekend.
I asked on the Facebook page if dancing listeners were able to come, or if this was only for didjeridu musicians. Ycats (Stacy spelled backwards) answered that a dancing audience was most welcome.
I didn’t hesitate. I gave away my tickets to Beloved and went to InDidjInus. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
That first InDidjInUs, I went to sleep and woke up to the vibrating drones of didj being played somewhere near. My energy field shifted during that time, and my time there was a profound experience in healing.
I knew I loved didjeridu in music. I had no idea how diverse didjeridu could be when it came to making music.
But one of the most surprising benefits to making such a sudden switch was the genuine sense of community that InDidjInUs provided.
A lot of festivals focus on “community” and “tribe” and “getting woke” and whatever else you can think of that sounds transcendent and cool.
But this group really embodies the essence of community - with the good and the bad, especially when it comes to figuring out conflicts and the fallout that entails. Most of these people I only see once a year in the community that gathers for InDidjInUs.
I just finished my 5th InDidjInUs, and this year was the best one yet. Again, I was in need of healing. Having space when I needed it, and community when I needed connection was crucial, and then there were the various jams going on as well as the stage performances.
Anyway, I included some short clips of the amazing and gorgeous music I enjoyed this past weekend.
And if that’s not something worth writing about, I don’t know what is.