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Artist Biography

Mark Atkins

Mark Atkins

A descendant of the Yamatji people of Western Australia and of Irish-Australian heritage, Mark Atkins is one of Australia's finest didgeridu players. He is recognised nationally and internationally for his collaborative projects with some of the world's leading composers and musicians including Philip Glass, David Broza, Peter Sculthorpe, John Williamson, Sinead O'Connor and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. He is a master of this instrument, able to work across styles of music both as a soloist and as an ensemble player. He has incorporated the sound of the didjeridoo into some unlikely musical environments, adding its primal pulse to orchestral works, theatrical productions and dance presentations.

Mark is a prolific instrument maker, making and painting didgeridus from the logs he collects on trips into the bush north west of his hometown of Tamworth, New South Wales.

Atkins draws his audience in so that you almost feel that you are sitting round a fire listening to his stories, stories told in music and in voice. He is a master storyteller, has a warm sense of humour, and he has music in his soul. The audience was entranced, moved one moment, laughing out loud the next.Australian Stage Online

Mark co-wrote Voices for didgeridu and organ with Philip Glass commissioned by the City of Melbourne for the inauguration of the refurbished Town Hall Organ. Voices was subsequently performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York and toured internationally.

A film documentary about Mark's life and work by Rick Randall, Yamatji Man: Geraldton 6350 via New York, was screened on SBS in 2003.

Mark is currently a collaborative performer with the Black Arm Band.

Mark world premiered his new solo concert Grungada: A Journey of Music and Song at the 2007 Melbourne International Festival. Grungada draws on his rich and diverse background to offer an eclectic mix of original and new compositions featuring didgeridu, guitar and harmonica, accompanied by a superb visual arrangement. Grungada is a chance to experience the music of Mark Atkins as never before - intimate and live.

see a list of artists that have performed at previous Four Winds