Songs of Sunlife

Songs of Sunlife

Inside the didjeridu
Douglas Ewart
Douglas Ewart
Louis Alamayehu
Steve Goldstein
Catalog Number: 
music for dance

Minneapolis, MN

Release Date: 
Feb 3, 2004
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
Songs of SunlifeiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Alone Not Lonely03:10$0.99
2.Mud Bath II02:50$0.99
3.Dancing Inside of Soul03:45$0.99
4.Mud Bath III02:39$0.99
5.Song for Count Ossie and the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari10:40
7.Seeds of War05:33$0.99
8.Walk and Drop03:10$0.99
9.Ancestors Flying03:05$0.99
12.Mud Bath I03:15$0.99
13.Constant Springs01:06$0.99
One Sheet: 

The didjeridu was here long before gunpowder, the pyramids, writing, or the wheel. Invented more than 40,000 years ago by the Aboriginals of Australia, it's one of the world's oldest musical instruments, and on the surface, one of the simplest. When quickened by the breath and spirit of a master, though, this seemingly simple cylinder is capable of springing to life in a manner that might very well give the deities of the didj themselves reason to pause. 

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart is such a master. It's hardly surprising that he designed and built all the didjeridus he employs on Songs of Sunlife. Ewart holds profound respect for the tradition of the instrument and the culture that produced it; he understands that, like any ritual implement, a didjeridu must be fashioned by its user if that user hopes to unleash the implement's power to the fullest---and unleash it he does! 

This long-time AACM pillar also teaches this most ancient of instruments more than a few new tricks, taking it to hitherto unexplored psychic regions and generating an astonishing mass of new sonic material, guiding its spirit the way gravity guides dust and gasses to create stars. Whether you've heard zero didjeridus or a thousand, Songs of Sunlife provides the best introduction to the ancient instrument's future imaginable. 



Here's one that didjeridu fans as well as musicologists will enjoy... I never knew all that the didj eridu had to offer or the deeper sociological or ethnological meaning behind it, but this collection has certainly changed that. - Paul Hightower


Featuring Douglas on didjeridu, flutes & rain stick, Adam Lane on bass, Steve Goldstein on acoustic & electronic percussion and the poetry/voice of Louis Alemayehu. We certainly don't hear from AACM reeds hero and flute-maker Douglas Ewart often enough (just 3 cds in print), so this righteous date is a welcome surprise. On this date, Mr. Ewart is featured on the didjeridu, an ancient and sacred Aboriginal wind instrument that dates back some forty thousand years. This instrument has become very popular over the past decade all over the world, yet few who play it know of it's sacred quality and history. Ewart has studied it at length and respects its sacred nature. Although I am unfamiliar with the poet and percussionist here, the young bassist Adam Lane moved here in recent years and is one the best and most ambitious bassists we've seen/heard, his quartet with John Tchicai, Paul Smoker & Barry Altschul is just one of many successful projects he is involved in. 'Songs of Sunlife' opens with "Alone, Not Lonely" which features a fine mystical clay didjeridu. "Mud Bath II" features three different bamboo didjeradus which quietly weave the low end drones together just right. Adam's subtle, tasteful bass supports Doug's hypnotic bamboo dij on "Dancing Inside of Soul". Each piece deals with a different texture or approach to one or more didjeradus and each is fascinating and sounds ritualistic in an enchanting way. A splendid way to spend the day. - Bruce Gallanter


Not since Rufus Harley first appeared with his jazz bagpipes in the early '60s has a jazz album featured such an unlikely lead instrument as Douglas Ewart's Songs of Sunlife: Inside the Didgeridu. Ewart, an AACM member who first discovered the Australian aboriginal instrument in the '60s, designed and built all of the instruments he plays on this album, in keeping with the precepts of traditional didgeridoo players. Accompanied on some tracks by bassist Adam Lane and percussionist Stephen Goldstein, Ewart creates complex harmonics and overtones with the deceptively simple instrument, from the quite literally spine-tingling low-register throb of the three-part "Mud Bath" to the lighthearted, almost vocal "Draghopping." A few songs feature other instruments, like the roar flutes (a native Australian instrument that creates a sound akin to a birdsong) on "Ancestors Flying," but the majority of Songs of Sunlife: Inside the Didgeridu is an impressive overview of what can be done with one of the world's most unique instruments, as well as one of the most delightfully idiosyncratic jazz releases since Rahsaan Roland Kirk's similarly conceptual Natural Black Inventions: Root Strata. - Stewart Mason