Meet Brandon Colaco, the didgeridoo wizard

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Although Bengaluru-based Brandon Colaco has been playing the didgeridoo since 2011, he stopped performing around 2019. “I decided to stop performing and start learning music, working with friends and other musicians,” he says over a phone call.

It eventually built up to the didgeridoo dance music act Two Eyed Wizard, which had its debut show in 2022 at club venue Fandom at Gilly’s Redefined in Koramangala. “We saw almost 350-400 people there, which was a super turn out,” Colaco says.

There were a few upheavals, including family losses along the way that led to the artist to “rethink” Two Eyed Wizard. It resulted in presenting the droning, mysterious boom of the didgeridoo in a more “interactive and relatable form” for audiences in bars, festivals, restaurants and other venues.

Now, after playing across India — and more recently, nearly 80 shows in Goa — Two Eyed Wizard is going international. Colaco will be performing solo at the Tribal Elek Festival in Andilly-les-Marais, France on August 10, followed by another set at Fatt Festival between August 29 and September 1 in Odemira, Portugal. While Two Eyed Wizard has no doubt been a regular live performer, Colaco says it was the release of the project’s album Tuwakituwa in 2023 that helped garner global attention.

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Across five songs, Two Eyed Wizard use the didgeridoo to draw in other styles including trance, psychedelic, ambient and Indian classical music. It helps that Colaco also pairs didgeridoo with the konnakol (the art of performing percussion syllables vocally in South Indian Carnatic music), which has most likely never been heard before around the world.

He says, “I have my own style of playing the didgeridoo which I’ve developed over the years, mostly because I craft the instruments. Creating different types of instruments needs you to have the diversity to play all of them and then there is konnakol which just came by me. Applying it to the didgeridoo is such a wonderful thing because you get complex rhythmic compositions in a new sound.”

Colaco always considered the didgeridoo a “sacred instrument”, to the point that he would often feel annoyed, put off or disconnected if members in the audience spoke during his performance or ate or drank during his set. Taught by the late Mukesh Dhiman, a famed didgeridoo maker and teacher in Rishikesh who had DIY workshops since the 1970s that attracted musicians from around the world, Colaco says he also learned to craft the instrument early on. “He used to say just close your eyes, think of God and play.”

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

Out in Europe, the Two Eyed Wizard set will lean into Indian classical sounds, incorporating the tanpura as well as konnakol. “I’m thinking of using more Indian influences in my set. I’ve been practicing to be more interactive with my audience and try to involve them in my konnakol to properly bring this didgeridoo India flavour into the mix. My purpose is to put this Indian didgeridoo sound on the map.”

There are more shows likely to confirmed in Europe that will keep Colaco busy throughout his 35-day trip. Considering he is also an engineer, a farmer and a visual artist, he is confident that there will be plenty to do.

Once he is back, another single that follows the Tuwakituwa collection of songs is slated for release later this year. Another focus remains building a more organised community within India for didgeridoo artists and fans.

“I realised this community is going to support me tomorrow. We have a community set up in Goa which has about 40-50 didgeridoo players. I just did a workshop in Pondicherry, so there is another community there with about 20 players. Bangalore has a very strong community and we’ll be holding gatherings next month. This year, we want to establish this community and hold a didgeridoo makers player’s festival.”

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo

Brandon Colaco and his didgeridoo
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

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