Yes, Didjeridoo is our spelling. We "invented" this one.
The English wrote didgerido, the Germans used Didjeridu, we created Didjeridoo and in the mid-90s we defied anyone to prove that this spelling existed anywhere before the Didjeridoo opened. No one ever came forward with a factual proof.
Here is how our spelling was "born".
At the end of 1993, we were about to open the club but still had no name for it. One day, a friend, a stage designer, came by to have a look at our club design and remarked that we had used only "earth" tones in our colors.
At the same time, I had just finished Bruce Chatwin's book "Songlines" which had fascinated me and I flashed when this friend spoke of "earth" colors. I immediately thought of the instrument that Aborigens play and this is how the name was "born".
But there was a little problem. The Australian spelling would never work here in Luxembourg. Luxembourgers speak Luxembourgish, but since Luxembourg is a very small country surrounded by Germany, France and Belgium, all Luxembourgers also speak German and French. Young Luxembourgers all speak English, Luxembourg's population is over 40% percent foreigners, the major share of which today are Portuguese and Italian descendants. Luxembourg therefore has four main languages: Luxembourgish, German, French and English.
The problem was then to find a spelling that would equally appeal to all four of these languages. Wouldn't do to go for an English or German spelling, it would look too strange for the Latins. A purely French spelling would look awful to the English and German speaking community.
Finally, I settled on a mix of German = Didj instead of the English Didge, the oo at the end looked c-oo-l in all languages and was "oo" in English and the result was DIDJERÌDOO.
Now, this could have been a local thing if it hadn't been for the Internet. Indeed, when I created this homepage in 1995, it was simply a matter of being on the net because that was the cool thing to do then. Of course, every didgerido player in the world who ever got close to a modem started to look for links to the instrument.
This homepage was created in 1995 and we were instantly flamed passionately, mainly by Australian descendants of colonial ancestors or immigrants, often from self-proclaimed saviours of musical heritages, never by Aborigines. Remember that in 1995, the net was still a small place with only a few million pages and it was easy to get listed in search engines. And if one had such a rare name as we it was even simpler. In 1995, when one searched for Didgerido, there were practically no result. Of course I was pleased with this situation and I zealously submitted our site to all search engines of the time. There were only a few so it got us ranked at the very top and thus, anyone who ever searched for any kind of australian instrument would sooner or later arrive at our site.
Unfortunately, all the people who searched for didgerido links on the net at the time thought that we were insulting Aboriginal music by our "misspelling" and I received at least one flame e-mail a week for quite a long time. My standard reply was that I doubted that the Aborigenes ever cared how the colonialists spelled the name of the instrument or that they gave the right to define the spelling of their sacred instrument to English or other foreign occupants.
The spelling stayed. Not only that, it spread like wildfire. There must be something in this multi-lingual Luxembourgish mix and spelling that appealed to the world because these days, the spelling Didjeridoo seems to have spread all over the planet. Even Microsoft entered it in Encarta in 1997.
Hope the people who have the sole moral right to this instrument do not mind my spelling and I hope we have contributed a little to promote their instrument, their art and their culture in our little way.