ALLAN SHOCKLEY AND THE DREAMTIME PIPE - THE AMERICAN AGAVE CACTUS DIDJ
For thirty years I had searched for inner heart healing. Through ethnobotanical agents for inner exploration, fasting, Tai Chi, Tibetan Buddhism, and Kundalini Yoga, through learning to be a master stone mason, sculptor and jeweler. All of this would serve me. But it was in developing the DreamTime Pipe and experiencing the tones created with my own breath and body that I experienced the opportunity for the most deep and profound personal healing and growth.
It started in 1989 when I first encountered David West, an eccentric Australian and an accomplished didjeridoo player. David brought the sacred instrument to the Southwest US desert and with it a contagious passion for the Aboriginal culture. The didj was developed by a relatively small group of aboriginal people who's culture was based upon the ritual song and dance of the "Dreamtime" in which all of Creation is an intimate interactive relationship. The didj is an important tool to access this Dreamtime state. I was immediately drawn to the droning, mystical tones which seemed to reach deep inside. I was fortunate enough to acquire a few didjs from David's collection and he taught me the basics. During the next year I battled with a lung infection that nearly took my life. I painstakingly learned to circular breathe and in the process built up my lungs and health. The didj became a powerful force for change in my life.
My friend, Mark Woody, and I soon came to the conclusion that traditional didjs were overpriced, hard to acquire, and inconsistent in quality. We decided we could create a didjeridoo instrument here in America that would be consistently as good or better than the Australian traditional - and cheaper. My original experiments were with hard wood - split, hollowed and reglued, and other natural objects such as large bull kelp. Except for the boring plastic tube "instruments", these were the first changes in an instrument 40,000 years old!
Mark had the original idea and ability to create an instrument from an unsplit dead agave cactus stalk. He created one pipe and we were amazed that it played so well. I tried to persuade Mark to start production, but he lost interest and was off on other inventions. With his blessing I began to develop and perfect the instrument. Subsequent pipes revealed unique characteristics - such as the lovely harmonics. It played with less effort, was more responsive, and it didn't need the long warm-up time of a wood didjeridoo. I made it impervious to moisture and eliminated cracking and splitting. Fueled by reverence and a burning passion for the upper harmonics of the instrument, I made a commitment to Life to strive to make a consistently more musically perfect instrument for a substantially lower cost. After much trial and error, my experiments perfected the pipes I create now for Northern Sonoran Didjeridoo and DreamTime Pipe Co. Now, over 2000 instruments and satisfied customers later, I have realized my original dream and intent.
Allan was the first full-time didj teacher in America. Today he teaches a variety of classes from his studio and to children in school. He teaches that the tones are an important musical and spiritual tool. He emphasizes the physical benefits, such as stress reduction and has written about the healing nature of the didjeridoo. According to some, simply listening to the tones will lower blood pressure. His students are from all walks of life and all ages.
See pictures af Allan's Dreampipes in the image gallery
Visit Allan's website