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Tuku Didgeridoo – The Most Unique Band in Chiang Mai

One recent night, as I approached Tha Pae gate, an unexpected amalgamation of sounds reached my ears. I had just eaten a delicious meal of fried noodles, and was heading back to my room. As my ride drove up to the gate, intriguing sounds emanated loudly from the other side of the wall. I hopped out of the taxi, the unique noises reverberating mysteriously into the surrounding street. I was truly fascinated. I had never heard quite a blend of sounds. I payed the songtaew driver, and hurriedly rushed through Tha Pae Gate. The music completely stopped me in my tracks. Two didgeridoos boomed in the background as airy guitar notes rose up into the night sky. A drummer rapidly hit a tribal drum in perfect sync with the guitar. Occasionally he smashed the cymbals, adding a driving intensity to the music. A large crowd surrounded the act, probably just as intrigued as I was. Many filmed the band, while others sat silently on the pavement, nodding their heads to the beat. A man standing next to me asked me what I thought of them. I told him how I found the band truly unique, and he agreed, a sense of awe in his eyes. We both stood for a while, perplexed at the amazing live act that is Tuku Didgeridoo.

Tuku Didgeridoo, which you will already know if you attend the annual Citylife Garden Fair, is quite a unique band. This musical group doesn’t consist of instruments typical of a standard rock band, such as a bass guitar, lead guitar, drummer and vocalist. They’re comprised of unusual instruments you probably wouldn’t usually put together. But despite this, the instruments complement each other quite well. The didgeridoos give the music a strong foundation, while the drum provides a consist driving rhythm. The electric guitar soars up high above the rest, leading this unique blend of noises. “Starting off we just had a didgeridoo player and a drummer. We wanted to make the band bigger, so then we added a few more instruments,” says Nong, one of the band members. Recently the band has been trying to evolve their distinctive sound. “We’ve been trying to change up our style with an interesting new element. We’ve been experimenting more with the addition of a violin,” says Nong.

This distinctive live act makes all of their own music. They sell cds of their albums, which can be purchased at any of the live performances. “Every time we go to play somewhere we make a record because sometimes guests come to jam with us. We record our music in a studio in Chiang Mai,” Nong tells me. Tuku Didgeridoo also have landed a vinyl record deal, which involves producing a vinyl album in the future. “We have some contact with a vinyl company. They want us to make a vinyl. We promised them to make the first one soon,” explains Nong.

Tuku Didgeridoo usually plays at Tha Pae Gate, One Nimman and at the Sunday Market, but they also occasionally play elsewhere, such as our Citylife Garden Fairs and other special events. “We’ve played at the Roots Reggae Bar a few times,” explains Nong.

If you happen be walking near Tha Pae Gate or by the Sunday market, and a distinctive blend of sounds beckons you, be sure to follow them closely, because it’s likely Tuku Didgeridoo. Their music will stop you in your tracks. You’ll stand completely entranced, as didgeridoos loudly boom throughout the streets, the drum firing away at machine gun pace, and the guitar gliding smoothly through the nighttime air.