Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Jonathan Antonio Martínez Machain’s full-on didgeridoo

Could this be the first music in the world?

He plays with rhythm sounds from his portable amp
He plays with rhythm sounds from his portable amp

You can hear him long before you see him, the low honking sounds, a block away. This is Sunday night, Avenida Revolución, TJ, crowded. Jonathan Antonio Martínez Machain sits cross-legged on the sidewalk with a long horn like a Swiss alpenhorn in front of him, pulsing away to drumbeats coming off a mini amp. The longer you listen, the more you hear complex rhythms and even sort-of-harmonies. The strangely hypnotic honks come out of the end of 10 feet of hollowed-out pinewood, right where he has placed a little money bucket for contributions. He’s playing a full-on didgeridoo.

“Most people use eucalyptus, as the Australian Aborigines do, but pine works fine,” he says, when he comes to the end of a, well, tune. “This was a Christmas tree.”

Quinceañera parties cruise past, teens in tuxes and frilly dresses standing up through the open roofs of limousines. They hear Jonathan and start grooving to his rhythm, then break out into a cheer before they pass on by.

“...And the walls came tumbling down!” Jonathan and didgi friends trying to emulate Joshua at Jericho by blasting the border fence with their didgeridoos.

“But how do you get enough breath to keep blowing?” says the gent standing next to me.

“I’m not blowing,” Jonathan says. “I’m vibrating the lips. I do pressure with my lips. Hold the breath! Zzbwzbwzbwzbwzbwzz. If you blow, you run out of breath, very fast. It’s like playing a trumpet, but it requires more techniques. Like circular breathing.”

It seems didgeridoos are taking off worldwide. They’re being incorporated into the avant-garde music scene. Groups are forming. The medical profession is even saying that playing a didgeridoo is the best thing you can do for your lungs.

Now they’re making multi-note drones. “This didge has three natural tones,” Jonathan says. “This one is C-sharp.” And he booms out a low sound that could be a foghorn. “This is B-flat. And this is G-sharp.” Now he barps a higher pitch that sounds like a bassoon. “They are natural horns. But they’re not just from Australia anymore. Mine is sponsored by Mob Didgeridoo. They make didges in Riverside, California.”

Jonathan’s playing maybe the most ancient musical instrument created by man. Some new research says Aborigine people could have made it to the continent of Australia up to 80,000 years ago. (The first native Americans came across the from Asia only 15,000 years ago.) The didgeridoo might have been adopted any time from 1500 to 40,000 years ago.

Now the sound takes on a resonance that makes you almost judder. Could this be the first music in the world?

Whatever, it’s flourishing again. “You’d be surprised,” Jonathan says. “I may be the only player in Tijuana, but didge players are everywhere. I’ve started making them! I call mine ‘TJ-ridoos.’ And in two weeks, I’m going to Lyon, France for the biggest didgeridoo contest in the world! That’s why I’m out here playing late. I still haven’t got my airfare.”

The guy next to me leans over and hands Jonathan a couple of notes. “Animo,” he says. “Buena suerte.”

Animo,” says Jonathan.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Bounce and Twerk: common moves for Megan Thee Stallion and Danyelle “Sweet Dee” Solana

“I use Megan’s music when teaching my classes.”
He plays with rhythm sounds from his portable amp
He plays with rhythm sounds from his portable amp

You can hear him long before you see him, the low honking sounds, a block away. This is Sunday night, Avenida Revolución, TJ, crowded. Jonathan Antonio Martínez Machain sits cross-legged on the sidewalk with a long horn like a Swiss alpenhorn in front of him, pulsing away to drumbeats coming off a mini amp. The longer you listen, the more you hear complex rhythms and even sort-of-harmonies. The strangely hypnotic honks come out of the end of 10 feet of hollowed-out pinewood, right where he has placed a little money bucket for contributions. He’s playing a full-on didgeridoo.

“Most people use eucalyptus, as the Australian Aborigines do, but pine works fine,” he says, when he comes to the end of a, well, tune. “This was a Christmas tree.”

Quinceañera parties cruise past, teens in tuxes and frilly dresses standing up through the open roofs of limousines. They hear Jonathan and start grooving to his rhythm, then break out into a cheer before they pass on by.

“...And the walls came tumbling down!” Jonathan and didgi friends trying to emulate Joshua at Jericho by blasting the border fence with their didgeridoos.

“But how do you get enough breath to keep blowing?” says the gent standing next to me.

“I’m not blowing,” Jonathan says. “I’m vibrating the lips. I do pressure with my lips. Hold the breath! Zzbwzbwzbwzbwzbwzz. If you blow, you run out of breath, very fast. It’s like playing a trumpet, but it requires more techniques. Like circular breathing.”

It seems didgeridoos are taking off worldwide. They’re being incorporated into the avant-garde music scene. Groups are forming. The medical profession is even saying that playing a didgeridoo is the best thing you can do for your lungs.

Now they’re making multi-note drones. “This didge has three natural tones,” Jonathan says. “This one is C-sharp.” And he booms out a low sound that could be a foghorn. “This is B-flat. And this is G-sharp.” Now he barps a higher pitch that sounds like a bassoon. “They are natural horns. But they’re not just from Australia anymore. Mine is sponsored by Mob Didgeridoo. They make didges in Riverside, California.”

Jonathan’s playing maybe the most ancient musical instrument created by man. Some new research says Aborigine people could have made it to the continent of Australia up to 80,000 years ago. (The first native Americans came across the from Asia only 15,000 years ago.) The didgeridoo might have been adopted any time from 1500 to 40,000 years ago.

Now the sound takes on a resonance that makes you almost judder. Could this be the first music in the world?

Whatever, it’s flourishing again. “You’d be surprised,” Jonathan says. “I may be the only player in Tijuana, but didge players are everywhere. I’ve started making them! I call mine ‘TJ-ridoos.’ And in two weeks, I’m going to Lyon, France for the biggest didgeridoo contest in the world! That’s why I’m out here playing late. I still haven’t got my airfare.”

The guy next to me leans over and hands Jonathan a couple of notes. “Animo,” he says. “Buena suerte.”

Animo,” says Jonathan.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Thai Joints rule in the Heights

Pick up or delivery, Thai fans have it good on Adams Avenue
Next Article

Native Americans who rocked the world

Stevie Salas, FreeMartin, City Windows, Charles Burton Blues Band, Army of Love
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close