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On November 11th, 1989 at the Multnomah Art Center.
The White Cockatoo Performing Group performed it's first concert in Portland
to a standing room only audience. The White Cockatoo Performing Group comes
from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. This region is rich
in Traditional Aboriginal ceremony and law and the homelands of some of the
culturally strongest of all Australian Aboriginal Nations.
The audience was quite moved by the music and dance. At intermission, I had a chance to talk with many excited viewers who came to me to express their appreciation for our efforts to bring this tour to Portland. Some of them were quite emotional and obviously moved by the experience of this cultural sharing. Some of the images here were taken by Robbin Palmer after the performance when those who wished to stay and meet the performers had the chance to meet these wonderful people. Sales of the new David Blanasi CD, "Didjeridu Master" were brisk and if you haven't got your copy yet, they are available here in Portland through Australian Originals.
Tour manager Geoff Toll provided an excellent slide presentation which showed images of the musicians home country and provided an informative narrative description of the music from Western Arnhem Land which helped our appreciation for the unique musical experience we were witness too.
The company is led by the Didjeridu Master, tribal elder and ceremonial law man, Mr. David Blanasi. People call David "the bomb" because he plays the Didjeridu very hard. "No Mucking around!". David Blanasi has toured the world since the 1950s and has been a respected and valued performer, particularily for his skills and wide repertoire with the didjeridu accompaniment for ceremonial song and dance. David Yirindili and Jack Nawilil are songmen and elders of the Maningrida community. Their knowledge of corroboree songs and dreaming make them Australian national living treasures. They are indeed wonderful people with great humor. Geoff Maliwanga and Crusoe Kurdal are skilled dance men. Both delightful people with wonderful smiles and expressive movements on stage.
The picture on the left shows Jack Nawilil and David Blanasi in traditional ceremonial paint.The famous Didjeridu Digest was well represented at both the workshop and the concert. Robbin Palmer supplied this picture (on the right). From left to right, we had Larry Soto (Portland), Rick Dusek (Las Vegas), Robbin Palmer (Florence Oregon), Charlie Schmick (Asland OR), John Burrows (Olympia WA) and Tom Lange (Portland OR). Mr. Blanasi gave a two hour workshop the night before the concert in which local didjeridu players had a chance to meet a Wugularr elder and ask him questions. He was joined by virtuoso songmen David Yirindili and Jack Nawilil.
Photos (from right to left) David Blanasi and Lisa Drury relax after performance. David Yirindili, veteran performer answers questions at workshop. Rainer Malinoski hangs with David Blanasi after Rainer has David sign a didjeridu made by David he bought several years ago in Germany.
Jackie Nawilil paints Crusoe Kurdal prior to performing, David Blanasi and Jackie Newilil, professional songman and didjeridu puller team, Geoff Maliwanga - gifted dancer and one of the funniest human beings I've ever met is all business before the "big show".
Didjeridu Master David Blanasi (photos provided by Geoff Toll) The White
Cockatoo brings together Aboriginal artists from Arnhem Land in the Northern
Territory of Australia. The group was formed by tribal elder,
didjeridu virtuoso and master craftsman David Blanasi. It's
first CD, entitled Didjeridu Master David Blanasi , features an
entire corroboree recorded live in Arnhem Land. Didjeridu Master is
available in the US through the following fine retail outlets :
Australian Originals in Portland Oregon
Joyous Noise in Baltimore Maryland