First we heard a strange low pitched vibrating tune, then John exclaimed: “Look, there is a didgeridoo busker outside Waterstones!” I’ve never seen a didgeridoo, an Aboriginal Austrian drone instrument, before, nor many people in Dumfries, I would think, so I thought it was make an interesting photo entry in my Dumfries Diaries project.
I sat on the fountain steps listening to the haunting primeval harmonics, relaxing and soothing, and watched Doonhamers passing by, rushing to complete their High Street chores. A few schoolboys stropped and asked the busker what kind on instrument it was and what sounds it could produce, noticed my camera, giggled and ran away.
When the player stopped for a break I came down for a chat and to take some close up photos, with his permission. I was curious what brought him to Dumfries.
It turned out that he was a 78-year old Dutchman who travelled though many countries and came here to busk on a bus from Carlisle. His bell-flared didgeridoo was made from the endemic hardwood about 240 years ago. Then a family member brought it across from Australia some 60-70 years ago. The flared part of his didgeridoo was decorated with the stones used in non-traditional healing.
“People live without thinking much about Earth”, the busker remarked, “they are out of tune with natural phenomena.”
He believes that his music reconnects his listeners with the voice of the world, makes them resonate with the Earth, relieves the stress of modern life, soothes and heals them.
Perhaps we need to hear the sound of the world again. And Dumfries needs some healing. Aren’t we all?