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Echoes: Discover Goma’s Story

Artist Talk

February 23, 2017

From his first encounter with the didgeridoo to his foray into visual art, hear Goma’s story up close and personal in this intimate talk with the musician himself. Discover his incredible journey of reclaiming his life and learning to live with severe memory loss after a near-fatal car accident in 2009.

Goma’s passion for the didgeridoo helped him enormously after a life changing event in 2009, when he was involved in a near-fatal car accident resulting in traumatic cerebral damage. Suffering from amnesia, he struggled to form new memories. His surgeon, knowing his love of the didgeridoo, suggested that one be brought to his bedside. This helped him with his long process of physical and memory rehabilitation as he slowly started to recall how to play.

Just days after coming out of his coma, Goma also felt the compulsion to paint. Picking up his daughter’s paint set, he started work on a series of striking dot paintings. Goma’s artwork bears a strong resemblance to indigenous dot paintings, but is infused with classic Japanese aesthetics and landscapes. His intention was not to appropriate indigenous art. Instead, as with the didgeridoo, he has embraced it as a source of inspiration and strength while creating a cultural bridge.


Born in Osaka, Japan in 1973, Goma first encountered the didgeridoo in 1994. Three years later an Aboriginal Australian friend took him to Arnhem Land where he studied the instrument under Djalu Gurruwiwi, yidaki (didgeridoo) master craftsman and musician. Goma was eventually adopted into the Galpu clan and was also the first non-Indigenous person to win the Northern Land Council prize at the 1998 Barunga Didgeridoo Competition.

Goma founded a band called Jungle Rhythm Section upon his return to Japan. However, a near-fatal accident in 2009 left him with memory damage and almost ended his musical career. A sudden compulsion to paint earned him acclaim as a dot-painting artist until the didgeridoo eventually brought him back to music.

In 2012, he started the Jungle Didgeridoo Circle, a didgeridoo school in Tokyo where he continues to teach the instrument to both children and adults. These days he is primarily active as a visual artist and a musician, as well as a lecturer.

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Event Partners

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Echoes: Discover Goma’s Story
February 23, 2017 (Thursday)
6:30pm – 7:30pm (doors open 6pm)

The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008

Free, bookings essential

(02) 8239 0055


Echoes: Solo Didgeridoo Concert
February 25, 2017
3pm-4:30pm (Doors open 2:30pm)
The Japan Foundation Gallery

Harmonies in Japanese & Aboriginal Australian Music with Matthew Doyle, Riley Lee, Allan Marett
February 9, 2017 (Thursday)

Ainu Sounds: Indigenous Sounds: Indigenous Music From Japan with Nobuhiko ‘Sanpe’ Chiba
March 10, 2017 (Friday)

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