This week Tangaroa Blue Foundation extends our heartfelt thanks to musician Ondrej Smeykal from the Czech Republic.
Ondrej was 14 when he first encountered the didgerido in his homeland of Prague in the Czech Republic. He taught himself to play and it helped him to heal from a breathing disorder. Soon after, at the age of 20, he journeyed to visited Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory and gain a deeper understanding of the instrument, Aboriginal culture and people.
“I heard an unusual sound and that sound walks with me, from then, till now. It was the sound of the Didgeridoo and I became a player. Today, nearly 30 years later I use this instrument on many occasions, in theatres, operas, rock bands, ambient acoustic concerts, etc.”
Today Ondrej crafts his own magnificent didgeridoos from crystal, which he sells at auction for charitable causes.
His first visit to Australia was in 2000 as part of a project from ANU in Canberra to study Aboriginal Rock Paintings. Mr. George Chaloupka, Ondrej’s life teacher and very good friend, helped him to read the Aboriginal Rock Paintings around Darwin.
Since than he has been paying attention to the didgeridoo culture and Aboriginal roots, traveling to Australia several times as a part of his journey to search for, study and connect to the didgeridoo community. Always with a deep respect for the wisdom of the Aboriginal culture.
“In the last decade I was thinking of how to contribute back to the didgeridoo’s original land, its beauty and its power …So now I organise a beneficial auction every year, where people can buy one of my instruments made out of Czech crystal glass. This year, thanks to all of the great donors and helpers, part of that financial auction was sent to your project for helping to protect the nature of Australia – its cultural heritage and natural environment.”
Ondrej has donated $1887 from the auction of one of his instruments to the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, which will go towards the work of the Thamarrurr Rangers in the Northern Territory.
This generous contribution will help to educate the Junior Rangers and school students in the community on the issue of marine debris.
“So, my message to the young rangers is simple … This globalised world requires people to rush. Work, career, ambitions, stress, fear, travel. But still, one of the oldest human needs is to belong somewhere, and to take care of it. So be proud to belong to such a unique and beautiful part of EARTH.
Beauty is often fragile. So be proud and protective of that beauty. Beauty can be much greater if we can share it, over time, again and again. Your land offers the world many gifts. Your work in this global world is very important and honorable. Thank you for your work to keep the land beautiful!”
We are grateful to Ondrej and to those who taught him, together turning music into positive action for our oceans, for present and future generations.
Written by Alexis Farr