Archdale Library goes Down Under

Kevin Garcia, left, and his daughter Natalia were among children and adults who attended a Didgeridoo Down Under program at Archdale Public Library. The native Australian instruments were part of Darren Liebman’s energetic fusion of Australia-themed music, culture, science, comedy, character-building and audience participation.

ARCHDALE — G’Day mate!

If you ask any of the participants who attended last week, the

Didgeridoo Down Under show at Archdale Public Library was Aussie awesomeness.

With all the flair of a circus act, Darren Liebman’s program was a fusion of Australia-themed music, culture, science, comedy, character-building and audience participation.

With him Liebman brought a half-dozen examples of the didgeridoo, a wind instrument widely thought to have been developed more than 1000 years ago by indigenous peoples of northern Australia. The instrument is typically made from wood that has been hollowed out by termites. Liebman’s show included a didgeridoo crafted and painted by an Australian tribal elder, as well as another specimen made from fiberglass covered with cloth from recycled blue jeans.

Possessing no known written form of records, the Australian Aboriginal people passed down their sacred stories through music and dance.

Liebman demonstrated to members of the audience how to play the didgeridoo in a process known as circular breathing. The instrument in turn barked in similar fashion to a dog, chirped like crickets and imitated the bouncing of kangaroos.

Speaking of kangaroos, during Liebman’s presentation, he introduced children to a lineup of curious Australian animals that included the kookaburra, wombat, Tasmanian devil, koalas, parrots and the Komodo dragon. Stranger still are animals such as the platypus and echidna, or spiny anteater, which are the only two kinds of egg-laying mammals on the planet.

“The platypus is the king of being different, weird and awesome,” Liebman said.

At the conclusion of the show, children’s program coordinator Carol Motta invited young readers to join the Summer Reading Program in which they have the chance to win prizes such as ice cream coupons and bowling passes.

Summer reading programs will continue NC Zoo and Animal Sound Bites set for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 11. For more information, visit randolphlibrary.org or call 336-431-3811.

Staff writer Debbie Hightower may be reached at dhightower@atnonline.net or 336-888-3576.