Ancient Woodwind from the Land Down Under

Friday, November 14th 2008, 6:16 pm
By: News 9

By Christian Price, INsite Team

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Phil Jones, known as the Didgeridoo Medicine Man, brought his spirit breath and ancient instrument to Oklahoma City University to teach his techniques to students. Jones travels all over the world sharing his message and passion for the didgeridoo.

What is so special about this one note instrument?

"We believe a conservative estimate would be around 10,000 years old, which would make it the oldest woodwind known to modern man," Jones said. "The remains have been carbon dated in Australia between 40 and 50,000 years old."

click here for the history of Aborigines

Jones has been a musician all his life. His band, The Unknown Blues, landed their first number one hit in Australia in 1966. His passion for music led him to learn how to play his homeland's native instrument.

Click here to see Phil Jones and The Unknown Blues 1966 video

"I approached an Aboriginal teacher and I said, ‘I would like to learn this intuitively rather than technically'," Jones said. "He says, ‘You want to learn it intuitively, breath spirit through it.' So it became a journey of self exploration and the understanding of how powerful breath work is, what spirit breath is and how this instrument is primarily a shamanic tool to accelerate you to a place of clear consciousness and a point of self empowerment."

Click here to visit Phil Jones Web site

According to Jones, anyone at any age can learn to play the didgeridoo.

"I have kids at the workshop and I have teenagers, people in their 20s and 30s," Jones said. "I even had people in their 90s learning this thing because really, all you do is just put your lips together and blow and it makes this great sound."

 Oklahoma City University religion Professor Dann May met Jones as part of a birthday present, and decided to make him part of the curriculum.

"Years ago I went to a church in Norman and he was there.  And it was my birthday present to learn how to play the didgeridoo, so that's how we met," May said. "We decided we needed to bring him to O.C.U. once in awhile."

Click here for O.C.U.'s Web site

 The workshop brings together aspects of different courses taught at the university.

"We actually have a whole course that talks about the early religions; Native American, Australian Aborigine, so he's here partly to augment that with our students," May said. "The students are quite fascinated by this, and we have a music school, so it makes sense to also bring somebody like this here."