80's Didj'n

GONDWANALAND formed by Pete Carolan and Charlie McMahon in 1981 were the first group to base songs on didj riffs.  When the band started to tour full time in 1985 Ed Duquemin joined on drums. 

Although Aborigines of Northern Australia had played didjeridu for perhaps 2,000 years didj was never the focus.  Gondwanaland placed the didj centre stage and showed didj could be a strong presence in contemporary music.


TERRA INCOGNITA (vinyl 1983/ CD 1990).  Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst called this ‘a seminal album’.  It was the first time didj was played with regular rhythms, making it a base for contemporary song arrangements.  Film makers used ‘Terra’ tracks for its distinctly Australian ambiance.  Analogue keyboards, guitar and drums are also original sounding on ‘Terra’.  Tracks like ‘Anthem’, ‘Drought’, and ‘Emu’ have become didj standards played by young Aboriginal players as well as others.
LET THE DOG OUT (1985) is a live recording with a more rocking feel.  The wilder energy of ‘Dog’ developed from the need to satisfy audiences at Outback roadhouse pubs and city stadium gigs.  Still intent on explaining new sounds GONDWANALAND also played blissfully calm ambient songs like ‘Ephemeral Lakes’ that celebrate the vast space of the outback.  ‘Danger’ in contrast is about a crew coming to town to ‘let the dog out’ after a long stay in the bush.
WIDE SKIES (1991)  is the Gondwanaland trio’s most intricate recording.  For this record the band maintained their mix of ambient outback songs and more strident tracks.  Check out www.carolan.info