Wandering Didj Project II
This is a spin-off project inspired by the original Wandering Didge (WD) Project that started over 4 years ago that shared a common instrument among didge players around the globe in an effort to hear how language, cultural and personal differences influence didj playing in general. Information on the original WD project can be found at... www.brandichase.com/didjeridu/wander.htm
Starting from: Marko Johnson UT

1. Jeff Moon UT
     Received, 1/27/02
2. David Blonski CA
     Recieved 1/30/03
3. Raleigh Adams CA
     Received 2/23/03
4. Richard Man CA
     Received 3/20/03
5. Chad Butler OR
     Received 4/15/03
6. Darin Oman CO
     Received 5/12/03
7. Jon Alvord TX
     Received 6/15/03
8. Steve Daniel TX
     Received 7/03/03
9. Karl Sacksteder IL
10. Martin Schiff FL
     Received 8/01/03
11. Karl Sangree PA
     Received 8/28/03

12. Al Reis (Hammie) RI
        Received 12/03
13. Karen Strober NJ
        Received 1/04
14. Mickey Corentto NY
15. Reid Dalland, NY
16. John Grivetti VT
17. Tim Wittemore MD
18. Greg Adams MN
19. Tracy Cato GA
20. Alan Tower SF
21. Marko Johnson UT
What Marko has to say:

The Didj I will be sending out is made of Sole Leather. It is very thick and dense and actually goes through a compressing process. It is primarily used for the soles of boots and shoes. The resonance of this material is the best I have found of the leathers I have experimented with. This didj is 58" long with a straight taper to a 3.5 inch bell. It has a wax mouthpiece and is tuned to a perfect D and it weighs exactly 4 lbs. Itís a fairly plain didj with 31 grip notches on the top end that resemble a rat tail. I have a 4" diameter ABS plastic tube to be used as a shipping tube, weighs only 3 lbs. A note on shipping didjs; any package 60" or less is quite reasonable to send UPS or USPS domestic or international. It will cost about $10.00 to ship it you California from Utah.

Each person should keep the didj for 2 weeks or less and send it to the next person. There are currently 15 people on the list to receive the didj. 5 more can be added for a maximum of 20. The last name on the list is Marko Johnson. The didj must be returned after the 19th or last person on the list has had a chance to play, record and comment.

I want this didj to circulate in North America only. I have collected 5 names from people in the UK and Europe. When I acquire more names I will send a second didj to circulate in Europe.


Posting Comments: Required to keep in contact with the Mills didjlist to reveal the current location of the didj and letting everyone know when it arrives and leaves each person as well as posting your comments about the instrument.

Shipping to next recipient: A commitment to paying shipping charges, approximately $10.00, to send it to the next person on the list if handing it off in person is not a reasonable or timely option.

Note: Under certain circumstances it might seem more logical to change the order of the recipients due to travel plans or other reasons. Any changes should be approved by everyone down line affected by the change. Anyone who might become elusive and hard to contact may be skipped over on the list. Stay in touch !

Recording: Preferred but optional. Itís best to send it to the next person rather than wait for the perfect circumstances to record. For now, send your digital files or CD to Marko Johnson.

Be sure to sign the didj with permanent marker provided.

Here are the comments posted to the Mills Didjeridu List from the people who have had an opportunity to receive and play the Wandering Didj II.

Originator- Marko Johnson UT mj@rounddoor.com

Listen to Marko play the wandering didj II.

1. Jeff Moon UT jeffmoon@sisna.com

Listen to Jeff play the wandering didj II.

I stopped by Marko's place this afternoon to be the first on the WD list to try out this amazing instrument. Since I already have one of his awesome leather didjs I pretty much knew what to expect. I was still surprised. Mine plays like a dream but since this one is made of a much more dense leather, it has and even richer tone. The base drone is very smooth and warm. It is a dead-on D and plays very easily. You can play it slow and meditative or you can kick it up a bunch and it will stay with you as fast as you want to go. I'm sure all on the list for this WD won't be disappointed in the least.
We jammed a bit and I recorded a quick minute or so for posterity. Marko and I had a notebook already to drop in the shipping tube but it was a tight squeeze. We made a management decision not to include it. Instead of writing thoughts in a notebook that only a few could see, we decided that the WD players should share their thoughts by posting them here for the entire didj community to read.
I hope this round of WD is successful and that all on the list enjoy playing it as much as I did. Don't forget to sign it before you send it on. I'm looking forward to reading the reviews as the WD makes its way around the country.
David Blonski, Raleigh Adams and Richard Man, it's headed to California now and should be there within the week. Have fun with it, it is truly a sweet instrument.
My 2 cents

2. David Blonski CA david@timelessproductions.com

Listen to Dave play the wandering didj II.

Well the WD II project is now officially underway as Marko's Leather Wandering Didj has completed the first leg of it's journey and has arrived here in Northern California. I've actually had the WDII-ML for a couple of days but I've been putting in 16 hour days doing some grant writing for arts education in our local school district so I haven't been able to give it much attention until today.
The WDII-ML has a deeper pitch than the original but it's simplicity of design and shape reminds me a bit of our fist WD. Because of the dense leather material used, this instrument is both resilient and durable so I think that Marko's didj will make an excellent WD in that it should hold up to the rigors of life on the road without having to worry about cracking or breaking. The leather is stained in a deep reddish brown which matches it's rich deep tone and this didj is capable of hitting two trumpet tones quite easily. It has a nicely shaped oval beeswax mouthpiece and I find it quite easy to play straight-on but I'm having a little difficulty in playing it side-saddle but that's probably because I've only just started to experiment with side-saddle playing in the last year or so and usually prefer straight-ahead playing.
While the WDII-ML is here I'm going to grab a cheap and cheesy computer mic and experiment with some recording to see if I can come up with some techniques that will get adequate results for creating audio files to document our playing techniques without having to invest in expensive equipment. I'm optimistic that it can be done satisfactorily although don't expect studio quality results. I'll post the results of my efforts along with a studio recording on my web site so that we can all hear the difference and be able to take that into account when hearing future submissions.
We may need to make some revisions to the shipping tube for Marko's didge because the cap has already been cracked in the first hop from Utah to N. California. I'll try and glue a thin piece of plywood along with a foam pad to the bottom cap and replace the top cap before handing it off to Deputy Didge (Raleigh Adams) in Sacramento.
David mentioned recording with an inexpensive computer microphone, I was wandering how that went?
I posted the results of the $5 microphone experiment at www.timelessproductions.com/didjeridoo/wd2 . I was completely satisfied with the results so everyone should at least try. To obtain the best quality I think that participants should turn the microphone input volume low and place the mic close to the bell (4-6 inches). I was able to get a good recording on the first pass but you may have to spend a little time adjusting the level before getting good results. My recording software can monitor the input level and I set it to peak at about - 4 dB during the recording process and then I nomalized the recording to - 0.4 dB to maximize the level. From start to finish, I was done in 10-15 minutes.

3. Raleigh Adams (Deputy Didj) CA twohobbits@jps.net

Well the WD2 has successfully been passed off to me by the most gracious and talented David Blonski, it was an evening of fine fellowship, and some breaking of bread, it is always a joy and an honor to be in the presence of such a talented and gifted man, and his wife Nina is a joy to be around, NOW---the WD2 is a real winner, a pleasure to behold, I took it out of its PVC shipping container and was really impressed with the look of it,,,,congratulations to my friend Marko, you really crafted a gem there,,,,Ill be standing in line to get one for myself now that ive seen one,,, I applaud your continued creativity, ---the evening was an experience which it always is when David is involved, the only time i think I got the upper hand was when i asked if he wanted to hear me play a song on the grand piano,,,so i proceeded to play "as time goes by" my favorite piano song,,,,then he saw that i had pressed the "play" button on the remote control for the piano player,,,,darn, caught again , and just when i had him going,,,,,well, the next few evenings should really be the test, ill be playing it for Linda my wife who is my biggest critic, and biggest fan, it'll be fun to be part of another wandering didj project, thanks marko for making it possible,

I would love to buy you one of your leather didges, but I would like to try one before...
Rodrigo Viterbo Oliveira

Hi Rodrigo
Hey, this is DeputyDidj, I can tell anyone out there who wants to expand their collection that Marko's leather didj WD2, is really sweet, I like the tightness of the sound, nice and responsive to overtones, i can get two regularly with the drone without trying, and the drone is unwavering, right on and stable, it has good backpressure too, which i would expect from a didj that is envirotek'd, but still it's not a plastic tube, it has that earthiness that comes from being made from leather, and there is an unexpected bonus, the upper end is artistic too, rings of color around the upper part of the didj, and it is textural also, where the bands of color are, it is "wrinkled" a bit, and it's nice to hold on to while playing,,, Marko knows how he got it that way,,, anyway, my wife Linda is the biggest fan and critic,,and she likes it, and suggested i get one for my collection,,so there you go, IMHO..btw, anyone who knows me personally also knows im like Popeye, I am what I yam, and I call em like i sees em,,,i dont get any kickback or endorsement bonuses from Marko..I just happen to know he is a good man and makes a good product,,,,


4. Richard Man   CA   richard@imagecraft.com

Thanks to Raleigh and of course Marko, I now have the WD2. I will write more later, but first impression is "WOW."

Follow up message:
Lets see... first of all, regarding recording, I loaned my laptop to a friend and I need it to get the recording out. So it will be a few days.
General comments:
In summary, I would say if you enjoy playing an Agave didjeridu, you will probably like the Leather Didj, but the Leather Didj does have a couple key differences to Agaves. In terms of sound quality, it shares a lot of similarity with the Epoxy coated Agave/Yucca, but yet has a indelible difference to it. Agave tend to have harder ringing sound, whereas the Leather Didj perhaps has a more growling sound. Of course both Agave and the Leather Didj have internal surface and construction materials that made them sound far much better than the straight PVC pipes. Finally, the Leather Didj is probably pretty much indestructible, and you will not have to worry about banging it (not to suggest to use it a weapon or anything :-) )

Highly recommended.

5. Chad Butler   OR   MenstrumD@aol.com

So I'm a bit slow in announcing the arrival last week of Markos wandering didge, but I'll be early in sending it on to keep the project moving along quickly so heads up to Darin Oman. I'll still be a few days waiting for our recording technition to return and get a good didge-ital recording. I used it on saturday for part of my band practice session. I keep seeing posts that refer to how nicely it plays and there is usually the word warm somewhere in the description. Warm is an interesting word for didge, I usually use it to refer to a didge with a natural bore that tends to absorb many of the tiny buzzy noises from the connection of the lips to the instrument and other noises that get clearly broadcast from an epoxied bore. This didge is somewhere between there. I'd say that it plays like a nice agave with something of a damped tone to the super tubey reflection that agave often offers. I prefer it to that agave sound as I'd rather hear the air column vibrate than the whole instrument vibrate but then again because of the fact that agaves vibrate as they do they work fantastic for learning instruments because you can hear and feel everything that is happening. I've found with this instrument that it sounds different in every room and I've enjoyed hearing it in different locations. I brought it to Portlands Earth Day celebration and it got plenty of use with Tom Langes brain massager, much better for that purpose than my didges as my didges tend to be too loud and abrasive for what ought to be a calming experiance. This leather didge was also light enough to hold up for long periods of time too. There are so many different styles of didges and here Marko has created yet another catagory both in materials and in sound. Thumbs up to the innovator.

Aum shanti, chad butler

6. Darin Oman   CO   darin@ucar.edu

I received the WD II from Chad on Friday. I'll get to know it a bit then I'll post something on the list.

OK, I've procrastinated long enough. It's about time I post my observations of Marko's leather Wandering Didj II.

Since I saw it before I played it (obviously), I'll start with its appearance. Well, it's very interesting and definitely has its own look, but I don't think it's something I would look and say "Wow, that's beautiful!" I can imagine that having a hand-stitched seam would improve it greatly and make it look pretty cool. I really liked the shape of it, though. It would be nice to have a didj that fits so nicely into a PVC tube for carrying on planes and stuff (and it would be pretty hard to damage the thing, even without a tube) and still have quality sound.

As for the sound and playability. It's easy to play and the sound is certainly unique. At first blow, I didn't really like it. It could've been the room I was in or just the way I was playing it at the time, because it quickly grew on me. There was still something about it that I can't quite put my finger on that I wasn't sure I liked, but the likes greatly outweighed the dislikes. I especially enjoyed the deep, rich drone. I usually have at tendency to play fast, but the WD II made me want to slow down and lose myself in the drone.

I attempted to make a short recording, but it didn't go too well (sorry Marko!). The sound was barely acceptable and frankly, I suck. Or at least I sucked when I was trying to record, so I gave up.

Overall, it was fun to have something so different in my possession for a little while. I didn't play it as much as I would have liked, so I guess I'll have to buy one ;-) . Actually, my next didj could very well be a Marko leather didj.


7. Jon Alvord   TX  

I've enjoyed it and will be sending it along by this coming weekend.

8. Steve Daniel   TX  

I've had it for about a week and a half now. Actually took it to some friends' house tonight and told the story of WDs past and future, told them about you as a didj innovator, played it a lot, and really charged up the house where we were. This is a rockin didj for loud, rhythmic, expressive playing! For while, a friend played it while I kind of backed him up on an 8' agave I made - very cool combination which we had lots of fun with.

Everyone got a kick out of it being made of 'soul leather' (sic)!


9. Karl Sacksteder   IL  

Karl Sacksteder could not be reached by email or phone and was skipped on the list.

10. Martin Schiff   FL  

Listen to Martin play the wandering didj II.

I received Marko Johnson's leather wandering didge yesterday, and spent the afternoon today getting to know it. It is in Eb, and has 3 very easy toots. It has a very nice drone, just the way I like them. Mellow, but still with that didge "edge". It plays like a dream, and looks beautiful. While getting to know it this afternoon, I recorded a song with it. Hope you enjoy it. Marko, feel free to use the song as you wish. Anyone else, please ask permission for anything other than personal listening, which you may do as much as you like.

11. Karl Sangree   PA  

Listen to Karl play the wandering didj II.

I am enjoying the didge immensely. I went camping in the Pocono Mountains in northeastern PA this weekend and got to know the didge a little better. I will be following up with a recording and my memoirs, hopefully by the end of the week. Can I just say that I love this didge! It will be hard for me to give it up.

-- Karl S

12. Al Reis (Hammie)   RI  

Great didj, man!
Happy Holiday Season!!
Peace out,

-- Hammie

13. Karen Strober   NJ  

Fabulous instrument. I was real sorry to let it go. Sent it on to Mickey C. two weeks ago. It was so easy to play, though the mouthpiece was larger than mine. It was lots smoother than a rough beeswax mouthpiece I put on mine.

-- Karen