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
Acknowledged as one of Australia’s finest didgeridoo players, Mark Atkins is also recognized internationally for his collaborative projects with some of the world’s leading composers and musicians. A descendant of Western Australia’s Yamitji people, as well as of Irish/Australian heritage, Mark is known not only for his mastery playing, but also as a storyteller, composer, percussionist, visual artist and instrument maker. Through Mark’s lips the air blows as a natural desert sound, in old ethnic chants and in polyphonic melodies of astonishing rhythm.
Mark has incorporated the didgeridoo sound into some unlikely musical environments, adding its primal pulse to orchestral works, theatrical productions and dance presentation. He has performed alongside and composed with artists such as Philip Glass, Led Zeplin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Sinead O’Connor, Peter Sculthorpe, Donald Lunney, Ornette Coleman, Gondwana, Jenny Morris, John Williamson, James Morrison, the Blind Boys of Alabama and many more.
Mark co-wrote Voices for didgeridoo and organ with Philip Glass for the inauguration of the newly refurbished Melbourne Town Hall organ, which was subsequently performed at the Lincoln Centre, New York, and toured to Amman, Jordan. As a regular collaborator with Philip Glass, Mark performed live for the Sydney Opera House season of Naqoyqatsi and toured with Glass’ Orion. Orion premiered at the Cultural Olympiad in Greece and has subsequently toured to Italy, France, the UK, the USA, Mexico and Australia.
Throughout the four movements, Mark Atkins’ didgeridoo score was not merely the garnish for the organ but a fully integrated personality in the sound textures. Atkins mapped a varied sonic territory, presenting a vast array of vocal interjections filtered through a range of different didgeridoos. His journeys conjured up worlds as different as the timeless outback and as transitory as contemporary electronic … the night belonged to Mark Atkins. The Age, Melbourne
Mark’s solo work Grungada was commissioned by the Melbourne International Arts Festival and has since toured Australia and the world including France and Hong Kong. He has performed at Womadelaide, Australia, and WOMAD Seattle, USA.
A film documentary about Mark’s life and work by Rick Randall, Yamitji Man: Geraldton 6350 via New York, was screened on SBS in 2003.
He is a founding member of performance ensemble Black Arm Band. Featuring Australia’s most respected legends of indigenous contemporary music Black Arm Band has now created and performed Murandak, Hidden Republic and Dirtsong.
The band’s own didgeridoo player, Mark Atkins, put the audience in a trance with one of the most sustained performances I have ever heard on that instrument, evoking a time and place long before the political troubles of the 20th century. Arts Hub, Australia
Mark is a prolific instrument maker, creating and painting didgeridoos from logs which he collects in the bush near his home in Tamworth, New South Wales. Exhibitions of his traditional and contemporary visual artwork have been shown in Japan, Europe and the United States.
Mark has numerous recordings and compositions to his credit. His awards and achievements include the Golden Didgeridoo at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Recent engagements include the Port Fairy Folk Festival, Nuit des Virtuose Festival (La Reunion), Queensland Theatre Company's Mother Courage, Four Winds Festival (NSW), the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Reef Tour, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, The Black Arm Band, with the Philip Glass Ensemble at the Arts Centre (Victoria) and Mark was a featured performer at Oz Fest (India and Nepal).
Yamatji Man ...walking in two worlds in partnership with composer Romano Crivici - a seven piece multi media concert for presentation 2013/14 http://vimeo.com/53483283
Please see News & Current Tours for information on Mark Atkins tour dates.
Technical Needs & Contact
Contact marguerite (at) mpproductions.com.au for full technical rider.
Photography by John Sones