How to Play: Pulses of Air from the Stomach

The drone of the instrument can also be punctuated by strong pulses of air from the stomach like saying “ha.” Many players around the world have practiced a style of playing using quick “hahahaha” effects from the belly to create rhythms.

Yolŋu players will use a subtle version of this to add colour to slower notes within rhythms or the introductory drone of a song. Listen for the subtle flutter in some of the long tones of this short sample by Djalu’.

Listen to Djalu’ play it.

For rhythms, Yolŋu only use single pulses, simultaneously with the tongue movements we’ve already covered, for aggressive accents. Listen to the surge of power on the “dith” in the “dith-dhu” sample below. This would also accompany the “dhirrl” and trumpeted notes.

Listen to Milkayŋu play it.