Ondrej Smeykal is a 31 year old Didgeridoo phenomenon from the Czech Republic, who has been playing for over 15 years. Until recently, Ondrej was quite unknown to the world Didgeridoo community. He started performing in the Czech Republic about ten years ago, teaming up with Australian Ian Wood, with whom he started the group Wooden Toys. It was during this cooperation that Ondrej’s philosophy of the instrument began to take shape, where he began to see the didgeridoo’s role as a rhythmical instrument with untapped potential. The more he played with other accompanying musicians, the more he noticed that the Didgeridoo was forced to play only a certain, limited role, and could not be utilized to its full potential unless played on its own as a solo Instrument.
And so he began spending thousands upon thousands of hours practicing, studying and experimenting with the Didgeridoo sound, dissecting each individual component and redefining the Didgeridoo’s potential and scope as a musical instrument. His approach is almost scientific, yet he also possesses the feel and musicality of a true genius.
The way Ondrej plays is unlike any other Didgeridoo player, not only in style but also in the techniques and sounds that he uses. The basic drone for which the Didgeridoo is recognized, is only one of many sound components that make up Ondrej’s compositions. His use of unusually long, deep-keyed Didgeridoos is another aspect that sets him apart from all others. Producing incredibly deep sounds, his extra long Didgeridoos allow for a much wider range of tones and overtones on one instrument, where he is able to skip from one octave to another while playing the full range of sounds in each.
His performance is nothing short of a spectacle, and is something that far transcends the Didgeridoo genre alone. With hundreds of performances under his belt, Ondrej is a seasoned professional. Upon seeing Ondrej Smeykal play, people shake their heads in disbelief, refusing to believe that it is just one man playing one Didgeridoo without any added sound effects, and this applies to long-time Didgeridoo enthusiasts and first time listeners alike. The style of music he plays is quite diverse, ranging from what could be described as organic techno, trance, ambient, break-beat and anywhere in between.
For the last 5 or so years, Ondrej has been playing over 100 concerts per year, performing solo all over Europe but also in a Duo called Autopilote along with one of Czechs best drummers Pavel Fajt. Ondrej also hosts in a number of the Czech Republic’s most popular bands including Monkey Business and Cechomor. Apart from Europe’s major Didgeridoo festivals (Berlin, Swizeridoo) he performs regularly at Czech’s biggest summer music festivals including, Colours of Ostrava, Rock for people, Trutnov Open Air etc. He has also played with the philharmonic orchestra of Hradec Kralove, as a support act for the Boban Markovic orchestra, Natasha Atlas and in numerous other projects and theatrical performances.