David Hudson is Australia’s most well-known aboriginal musician, artist and entertainer. Apart from being an expert in playing the traditional ‘didgeridoo’, he is equally confident playing the guitar, drums and percussion. With over 34 years of experience as a musician and performer, he has released more than 27 albums with traditional songs as well as genres like rock, country folk, and new age. Inspired by the natural elements, his works are a happy marriage between contemporary and traditional sounds. Renowned internationally, he has performed around the world, many times in collaboration with other well-known musicians. Apart from making music, he gives motivational speeches, spreads cross-cultural awareness, works with culturally distinct groups and mentor aboriginal Australian talents. He has done a lot to create awareness about indigenous tourism and in facilitating cultural awareness programs within Australia that has helped shape a better understanding of one of the oldest surviving collection of culture.
After schooling in 1979, and then his training at Teacher’s College, he became a recreation officer. Having already learnt the didgeridoo, and indigenous art forms, he set out to shape the future of aborigine teenagers away from illiteracy and drudgery of menial work.
He established the Tjapukai Dance Theatre and a similarly themed cultural park in Kuranda with the help of his wife and other partners in 1987. As such, kids from the theatre who never stepped out of their local territories were suddenly flying across the world performing as a troupe in Europe and North America.
A year later, he released his first album, ‘Undara Dawn’ and went on to produce many more albums until 2007, which established his credentials as a musician and performer. As the cultural advisor for 2013 Dreamworld on Gold Coast, he co-scripted a local traditional story after consultations with the ‘Yugambeh’ tribe, which he brought to life through art, audio-visual cues and live choreography.
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The Hudson Didgeridoo
The digeridoo is one of the oldest wind instruments known to man. However, unlike the flute, the ‘Yigi Yigi’ or digeridoo is made from a single tree stump that has been naturally hollowed out by termites and it does not feature any finger holes or reeds.
The musical key is determined by the length of the digeridoo and its bore size. A longer length produces deeper sound whereas a shorter Yigi-Yigi produces a higher pitch. The digeridoo can even mimic sounds made by the dingo, kookaburra and kangaroo.
Having mastered the ‘Digeridoo’ at an early age, he has reintroduced this specialized musical instrument to Australia and the world at large. In fact, the ‘Hudson digeridoo’ have come to define this age-old, indigenous wind instrument in modern times.
Tourism Ambassador & Motivational Speaker
David has played a major role in promoting tourism Australia through his travels with various tourism bodies both as promoter and performer thus adding an indigenous cultural component to tourist attractions in the country.
He helped create a cross cultural awareness that helped in identifying otherwise absent tourism-specific employment opportunities for the Indigenous population. Business and corporates too gain from tours through its positive approach to activities like team building and workplace culture.
He pulls significantly sized crowds in fairs and shows, both indigenous and otherwise who see him as an inspiration. His talks engage these crowds into a process of understanding and reconciliation thereby helping the two communities bridge the gap between each other.
International Collaborations & Achievements
Being a highly accomplished performer, he performed with the famous Greek composer, Yanni. He has also performed at locations like the Forbidden City and the Taj Mahal.
He has acted in the 1996 movie, ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’ alongside Hollywood bigwigs like Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. He has also lent his voice for ‘My Place, My Land, My People’ for which he won the prestigious TV Logie Award in 1990.
For his lifelong services to the Aboriginal and Islander communities of Australia, he received an honorary doctorate from James Cook University in 2014. He is also a recipient of Australia’s Centenary Medal.
Family & Personal Life
David Hudson was born in 1962, in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. He comes from a proud lineage of indegenous Australian people. His father was a ‘Western Yalanji’ whereas his mother belonged to the ‘Ewamin’ people of native Australia.
Given their inability to vote, they realistically came under the Flora and Fauna Act until 1967. In other words, the first five years of his life was equivalent to that of a plant!
He is married to Cindy Judd who is also a business partner in his companies. The two have a daughter, who is a graduate from QUT Brisbane.