Australian didgeridoo virtuoso and busking legend Alan Dargin channeled elements of rock & roll, jazz, and hip-hop to pioneer a uniquely energetic and visceral approach to the indigenous wind instrument. Born in Wee Waa, New South Wales, on July 13, 1967, Dargin began studying the didgeridoo at age five -- his grandfather passed down the instrument, a family heirloom cut from a variety of bloodwood tree extinct for decades. Raised by a singer/songwriter father native to the Wiradjuri Aboriginal community and a non-indigenous stepmother, Dargin had a musical upbringing that embraced both "blackfella" and "whitefella" traditions. He also turned to acting, and in 1983 appeared opposite a young Nicole Kidman in the television miniseries Chase Through the Night. Three years later he co-starred in the Bruce Beresford-directed The Fringe Dwellers, but by the end of the decade Dargin abandoned drama to travel abroad, bringing his didgeridoo with him to New York City, where he began busking for spare change. Consciously avoiding Aboriginal ceremonial melodies, he began writing his own music, employing the rhythmic sensibilities of jazz and the harmonic structures of rock to revitalize the instrument within a contemporary context.
Dargin first attracted widespread attention in 1993 when he teamed with Celtic guitarist Michael Atherton on the LP Bloodwood. The album caused a stir in world music circles, and in addition to his regular performances on the streets of Sydney, he was invited to tour the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan. In 1994 Dargin collaborated with the group Reconciliation on Two Stories in One. That same year he earned his greatest mainstream visibility for his cross-dressing cameo in the feature comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. A second collaboration with Atherton, Cross + Hatch, followed in 1998, but Dargin's momentum slowed as he battled alcoholism -- when veins in his throat burst, he was warned that his aggressive playing style was endangering his life, but he continued on prior to suffering a fatal cerebral hemorrhage on February 24, 2008. His final album, MRD, was issued posthumously. ~ Jason Ankeny