The official kickoff to summer, the 2019 Living Traditions Festival is coming May 17-19 to the Salt Lake City and County Building and Library Square! It’s a great opportunity to learn more about performing and craft artists from all over the world. Here is the latest in a series of blogs from the Salt Lake City Arts Council to help you get the most out of the experience.
For the first time in its event history, the 2019 Living Traditions Festival presents a series of completely free [Registration Required]workshops at the Salt Lake City Public Library during the three-day, multicultural celebration, May 17 through May 19 at Library Square.
In years past, festival attendees have been able to purchase international foods, witness amazing performing artists representing countries from all over the world, and see craft artists show off their finest, handmade works. But now, the Living Traditions Festival experience is more hands-on than ever. And with everything from wellness and health classes such as yoga and meditation workshops, there are also educational options as well including a beginner didgeridoo workshop. And if you don’t know what on earth a didgeridoo is, next week’s festival is a great place to find out.
As a San Diego native and current multi-instrumentalist and composer, Randin Graves enjoys a lot of musical styles and genres. When he started to learn guitar, he used programs on some of the earliest Macintosh computers. Around that time, his mother introduced him to upbeat musical rhythms when she taught aerobics at a senior citizen center. But it wasn’t until a trip to Australia in college on Fulbright scholarship where Graves’ affinity for world music led him to the didgeridoo.
Having been paid to go to school and follow his musical passions was a dream come true. Music composition was, and still is in a way, a large part of the musician’s life. Learning about the music and traditions of Australia and Tasmania (the island directly South of Australia’s main body), piqued his interest and led to a strong connection and friendship with Australian aborigines peoples.
While the history of the didgeridoo dates back centuries, Graves’ says it wasn’t until the 1930s or so when the country went through a cultural revival. “By going to Australia, I entered a doorway to another culture and another place,” said Graves’, who will teach an introductory class about the didgeridoo at the Living Traditions Festival on Saturday, May 18th. “It’s a unique instrument and some of them are made from eucalyptus trees. To play the didgeridoo, it employs techniques of the trumpet or flute. It requires people to use their tongues, breath, and voice.”
Narrow and shaped anywhere from three to ten feet in length, the didgeridoo’s popularity took off in the United States in popular culture in part to its implementation in everything from electronic dance music (EDM) to more alternative or rock bands such as Jamiroquai. And for many Utah (or Idaho) residents, Jamiroquai’s music saw a resurgence in 2004 with the release of Napoleon Dynamite. While the movie doesn’t feature the didgeridoo, the song “Canned Heat” turned many people on to the British funk band And it’s Jamiroquai’s then-didgeridoo player, Wallis Buchanan, who helped musicians like Graves’ continue tell the story of the instrument and afford him more opportunities to teach other musicians.
When he’s not sharing his stories from the land down under, Graves spends his time in Salt Lake City scoring films, playing stringed instruments such as guitar and bass and continually teaching workshops or tutorials whenever he has the time.
For those who register for the free didgeridoo workshop, Graves will provide plastic tubes for attendees to learn the basics of the instrument and a brief introduction of how to use it. Class size is limited. Register now at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beginner-didgeridoo-workshop-registration-60716706303