Pro­file: Dark Rose

Most of us grew up watch­ing tele­vi­sion, be it the broad­cast vari­ety of yes­teryear or the mod­ern equi­val­ents iView and Net­flix.

Roland Rowa Brown grew up watch­ing TED talks.

Early life in East Gippsland out­side of the range of broad­cast tele­vi­sion had an innov­at­ing impact on young Roland’s life.

My dad was really into [TED] … we couldn’t get good recep­tion where we lived, so he’d down­load it,” Roland said.

Flash-for­ward to the young Daudai man’s TEDx­Can­ber­ra debut today and Roland, who per­forms under the stage name Dark Rose, will be giv­ing a music­ally enhanced talk of his own.

I’m nervous, but also excited,” he said.

The fea­ture instru­ment of Roland’s per­form­ance will be the did­jeribone. As the name sug­gests, it’s a cross between the tra­di­tion­al didgeri­doo and a trom­bone. The instru­ment was inven­ted by Charlie McMa­hon, founder of icon­ic Aus­trali­an group Gond­wanaland. Roland counts Charlie as an uncle.

Cap­able of pro­du­cing a wider vari­ety of notes than the tra­di­tion­al didgeri­doo, the did­jeribone util­ises two tubes, one inside the oth­er, that the per­former slides to greatly vary the pitch. Like a trom­bone, the did­jeribone employs a bell-like end enabling a much louder final note.

Roland only began per­form­ing at the start of the year and has enjoyed sig­ni­fic­ant suc­cess since. “It’s been really good, people really seem to enjoy it,” he said.

For TEDx­Can­ber­ra, Roland says he will be demon­strat­ing his uncle’s cre­ation, but also has an import­ant mes­sage to spread, one of inclu­sion and hope. The pur­pose of his shows are to bring people out of the dark and into the light.

Author Myles Peterson is part of the TEDx­Can­ber­ra media team.

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