It’s a little known fact that Bridgewater Corners, Vermont is a hotbed for hand-crafted didgeridoos. Kai Mayberger, creator, owner, operator, and sound engineer-in-chief of White Raven Drum Works, is the person you can blame for this rare quirk of nature.
Fortunately, White Raven offers more than didgeridoos–hand-made from exotic woods. Hand-made Askido drums, and wooden flutes are also available for the discerning music lover.
The didgeridoo is a wind instrument developed by indigenous Australians about 1,500 years ago and is still in widespread use today in Australia and around the world. It is sometimes described as a natural wooden trumpet or “drone pipe.” Musicologists classify it as a brass aerophone. A modern didgeridoo is usually cylindrical or conical, and can measure anywhere from 3 to 10 feet long. The length is directly related to the 1/4 tone wavelength of the keynote. Generally, the longer the instrument, the lower the pitch or key.
Kai, a native of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, was born into a family of crafts people. His mother was a potter. His father was a weaver. Kai was fascinated with sharp tools as a child, and carved every piece of wood he could find while rummaging around his parents Cornwall, Vermont crafts shop.
While attending Vermont’s Goddard College, Kai studied drum design and construction as his senior project. As a respite from drum studies, he started fooling with carved wooden flutes. Also during his college years, Kai discovered a Boston based musical group called Outback. The group’s frontman, Dr. Didge, played the didgeridoo. Kai became fascinated with didgeridoos, and began investigating what made them sound the way they do and how they are made.
Kai turned his youthful fascinations into a product line, and White Raven Drum Works was born. He first set up shop in the Bridgewater Mill building in 1993. He moved to his present location in Bridgewater Corners in 1998.
While visiting the October Country Inn, you need to stop by. Whether or not you ever thought that you needed a hand-made wooden didgeridoo, an Askido, or a melodic wooden flute, you at least need to be exposed to the magic of their sounds, and the beauty of Kai’s handiwork.