Sunday, September 9, 2012

In review--Have a heart

Charlie McMahon & Gondwana
Didj Heart
Arc Music

Since Charlie McMahon, mostly known as a didgeridoo player from Australia, granted me a short interview for my upcoming book Whole Music, I’m reviewing his calm recording, Didj Heart.  What I didn’t know about McMahon when Arc Music first referred me to him was that he also works as a music therapist, especially playing didj music for people suffering from autism.  In fact, Didj Heart culminates McMahon’s role as a support worker for ASPECT, a non-government agency that specializes in helping people with autism.  McMahon and keyboardist, Pasko Schravemade, also a NGO support worker, discovered how music helps autistic people with communication.

While I wouldn’t lump Didj Heart into new age music, it shares qualities in common.  Besides offering music therapy for people with autism, I recommend massage therapists picking up this CD for their clients.  The music itself sounds unusual to my ears, moving at a slow to medium tempo, with the didgeridoo playing ostinato and keyboards, strings and guitar riding over the top.  Piano appears on a few of the tracks, including Ninu 2 and all of the songs appear carefully arranged. St. Patrick Reflects features warm sounding guitar with intriguing rhythms played on the didgeridoo, which so far provided both bass and percussion.  However, the coolest song on the recording is the wild and woolly Umpa da da featuring jazzy piano, slide guitar, and rap-like didgeridoo with voice.  Look for the CD with the cover of McMahon’s children conversing with a kangeroo.

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