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Jeremy Donovan - Player Profile
Last Updated: 26/06/2009


Jeremy is a descendant of both the Gumbaiingirr and KuKu-Yalanji tribes and has been playing didgeridoo in both traditional and contemporary performances for over 6 years. Widely acclaimed as one of the leading indigenous didgeridoo players of Australia, Jeremy's exceptional skill with the didgeridoo, and extensive knowledge of his cultural heritage has earned him the recognition of his peer's as a master storyteller and performer.

Over the last 10 years, he has been greatly influenced by a number of tribal elders from his communities and others across Australia. These influences have given him greater ambitions to show the true richness of his amazing heritage.

Today, he is an amazing role model for both the indigenous and Non Indigenous youth of Australia. As a result, Jeremy's masterful didgeridoo playing and passion has seen him become one of Australia 's Premier didgeridoo performers.

 
 
 
Photos


 
 
 
Interview


How long have you been playing the Didgeridoo/Yidaki?
I have been playing Yigi Yigi / Didj since i was 17. That is when i returned back to my traditional country in Nth Qld for the first time. So that makes it 12yrs. My Grandfather, my Father's father was song man for our Kuku Yalanji people (Western Yalanji), he taught me all that i know today. When i was 17 i moved back to our community where he lived and stayed with him and my Grandmother.

Did it take you long to achieve the Circular Breathing?
The circular breathing was the last thing I learnt. I had to learn to sing and dance our songs first. Then i was shown the Drone. Then I studied animals and learnt their calls from them. The breathing was last and only took me about 3hrs. After about 3months i started playing in corroboree Yulpu (Ceremony) with my family. I wasn't good at that stage, but those conditions force you to pick your game up quickly.

What was your childhood dream job?
I think it was to play Rugby for Australia, when i was 16 i was selected for the Australian Schoolboys, but life took a downward turn at that point. At 16 i was sentenced to 2yrs Juvenile Correction... Then the only thing i dreamt about was FREEDOM.

How did you know you were to become a traveling performing Didgeridoo Player, was there a defining moment?
In 2002 i started working at the outback Centre in Darling Harbour performing at the Live show "Sounds of the Outback", I just met people and one thing lead to another.  At that point i didn't even consider Yigi as my main interest, i was more interested in Dancing and my Artwork. Now i am too unfit to dance so playing Yigi and painting. Every now and then i find my youth and get back on stage with someone else and "Shake a leg"

Youíve travelled a bit and seen many things and tasted lots of amazing food from around the world what would be your favorite dish?
I love mexico, the people and the food... But i am a simple person and after all the travel i still love my traditional foods like Short Neck Turtle, Snake, Fruit Bat and Kangaroo Tail Soup.

Biggest musical/didgeridoo influence?
Musically someone like Archie Roach, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole Hawaii. Didgeridoo influences would have to be Uncle David Hudson, he is from my traditional country and is family, Mark Atkins i have traveled a lot with him and he is just a solid brother with one of the biggest hearts, he always offers me bits of advice here and there which are priceless. Ash Dargan is the closest person i have to a brother, he has been a great guidance.

The best advice you ever received and from who?
When i met my Grandfather for the first time i was in Juvenile Jail and he asked "What do you want from life, do you want to be another Aboriginal person in jail, and all you'll ever be is a statistic" or "Do want to be someone people remember" Those words inspired me beyond belief and they will always stay with me.

Proudest moment?
Being a Dad..... I have three kids, 2 boys, and my princess Daughter.  Everyday is a proud day as a Father... And as a performer, every time i am about to get on stage, i get emotional, i remember the life my Grandfather and Grandmother had,  all the obstacles i overcame,  being able to share my story and be a voice for my family, that fills me with PRIDE

Most important question, if you were a chicken, why would you cross the road?
Because itís always greener on the other side.



Biography


Roots
Jeremy is a descendant of both the Gumbaiingirr and KuKu-Yalanji tribes and has been playing didgeridoo in both traditional and contemporary performances for over 6 years. Widely acclaimed as one of the leading indigenous didgeridoo players of Australia, Jeremy's exceptional skill with the didgeridoo, and extensive knowledge of his cultural heritage has earned him the recognition of his peer's as a master storyteller and performer.

Over the last 10 years, he has been greatly influenced by a number of tribal elders from his communities and others across Australia. These influences have given him greater ambitions to show the true richness of his amazing heritage.

Today, he is an amazing role model for both the indigenous and Non Indigenous youth of Australia. As a result, Jeremy's masterful didgeridoo playing and passion has seen him become one of Australia 's Premier didgeridoo performers.


Passion
Throughout Jeremy's busy life he always sets aside time focus on one of his greatest passions. Spending time with "At Risk" adolescents is one of Jeremy's greatest passions. Working with Urban Indigenous Youth, Jeremy encourages these youth to follow in his footsteps. His message is very blunt yet very powerful.

"Learn your culture be proud of where you come from, and never forget the struggle the generations before us have faced. Don't Blame others for your trouble or problems. You control your own Destiny."

"I make it my job to educate people from many nations around the world about the beauty of my traditional culture"

Dot Painting
In addition to his passion for music, Jeremy is also a talented young artist with a growing reputation. His art is continually exhibited in the Outback Gallery at the Outback Centre and has now been featured in two solo exhibitions. On both occasions, his entire body of work was sold. Jeremy's artwork has gained a lot recognition from the USA with large private collections in California, Seattle and Colorado. Jeremy's work is dynamic using modern expression and deep rooted traditional stories.

Show
Through 2005 and 2006, Jeremy spent extended periods of time working throughout the USA. Performing at festivals, corporate functions and different spiritual events. Jeremy is a deeply spiritual man who thrives on spending time with indigenous people from all over the world.

Apart from playing in various nightclubs alongside some of Sydney finest DJs, he has also toured extensively throughout the USA , Canada , Germany , Switzerland, Italy and the UK playing at both World Music Festivals and cultural centres.

As well as his regular performances at the Outback Centre Sound of the Outback, he has played at many prestigious venues and events including the Queen Elizabeth II and the Amsterdam cruise liners, and one of the openings of the ground breaking film "Rabbit Proof Fence"Rabbit Proof Fence (which shares close similarities to Jeremy's family history).

He has also performed for corporate groups such as PepsiCo International, The Northern Territory Tourism Commission, and Sony (namely for the American rock group "System of a Down"). On Australia day 2003, Jeremy's opening act performance in which he played in front of 35 000 people on the lawns of Parliament House was broadcast live around Australia and into over 4 million homes.


Media







Links


> Jeremy Donovan CD Store
> Didgeridoo Global Gig Guide
> Didgeridoo Music CD Store
> Didgeridoo Online Shop
> Knowledge Base - Didgeridoo Information Source


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