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How to Play: Adding Voice

Voice can also be added to make many different effects. Yolŋu do not just play the basic note and play with vocal sounds. There is always rhythm, even if it is slow. Yolŋu do not play around with singing harmonious melodies along with the drone, but they do add a growly quality to the tone with subtle use of voice along with the rhythm. Listen carefully to the samples below of a simple rhythm with and without subtle use of the voice, almost like grunting along with the “dhirrl.”

 Milkayŋu plays without voice.

 Milkayŋu plays with voice.

Yolŋu do not spend their time imitating animal noises on the yidaki for fun or education. Animal noises such as bird calls are used as parts of the traditional songs which also imitate the movements of animals in the rhythms. These are not yidaki solos, but accompaniment to song and dance. Listen as Larry Winiwini Gurruwiwi plays the yidaki accompaniment. You will hear sounds of the Brolga’s voice and the rhythm of its dance.

Badikupa on animal noises used by non-Yolŋu players.

Listen to Winiwini play “Gudurrku.”