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My name is Cameron McCarthy. I'm an Aboriginal from North Queensland, grew up in Cairns,
born in Innisfail and the way our lineal system works, I have to follow my mother's side so
I claim myself as a Kuku-Yalanji man.
How did you come to play the didgeridoo?
After high school I went to a dance college in Sydney. It's called NAISDA -- the National
Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association. We studied jazz, dance, modern
ballet and all that sort of stuff but we also do traditional dance and every year they take
you on a traditional trip to different remote area communities. They took us to Yirrkala
in the northeast Arnhem Land on the Gove Peninsula. We spent a month there and while I was there
I was sort of adopted into a family. The day I left the family that adopted me gave me
a didgeridoo as a gift and I didn't want it to go to waste and just sit there and collect
dust. So every day after we got back from the trip I sat down with the didgeridoo for
about two or three hours every day just playing constantly. I would play until my lips would
bleed sometimes and after about two or three weeks, that's when I got the circular breathing.
Where have you performed here in the US?
Here is the US, I've performed in New York, New Jersey, Jackson Hole, Beverly Hills, San
Francisco, Las Vegas, Toledo and I've done things up in Canada -- in Toronto for G'Day
Toronto. With the UN I got asked to go to Geneva and I was an artist in residence and
performer at an event in Geneva. But my favourite venue that I've ever played at happens to
be here in Washington DC and it's the National Cathedral where we do the ANZAC Day ceremony
every year. The acoustics in there are just amazing. The first time we did it, it just
made all my hairs stand up and it really stood out.
My favourite gig that I've ever performed at was the 100-year anniversary of the Great
White Fleet. The Navy from Australia sent over the HMAS Ballarat and the HMAS Sydney.
So I was picked up by the Coast Guard in New York and I was flown out in to the middle
of the ocean and they put me on the HMAS Ballarat and then as it came up the Hudson River they
had me on the loud speaker on the bow of the ship playing the didgeridoo so the sounds
of the didgeridoo were echoing all the way up the West Side and the ship behind us had
the local ship band and they were playing AC/DC, Dirty Deeds. So it was a nice contrast,
so you had the didgeridoo with the traditional sounds and then you had the band with the
heavy metal playing Dirty Deeds.