Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 12:15 UK

Didgeridoo book upsets Aborigines

By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

An Aboriginal man plays a didgeridoo (R) during a protest on Cockatoo Island (2000)
Some Aborigines say the didgeridoo should only be played by men

Aboriginal leaders in Australia have called for a book teaching girls how to play the didgeridoo to be scrapped.

The Australian version of the Daring Book for Girls is due to be published next month.

It has angered some indigenous leaders who view the didgeridoo as a male instrument not to be played by women.

Publisher Harper Collins Australia said it was not aware of any taboos on women playing the didgeridoo, and has apologised for any offence caused.

'Extreme faux pas'

The Australian version of the book has replaced much of the original British content with distinctly Antipodean pastimes.

But its advice to young readers on how to play the didgeridoo has offended some Aboriginal leaders.

In many indigenous cultures, the hollowed out wooden pipe is viewed as a male ceremonial instrument, and women are forbidden to play it.

Some Aboriginal cultures believe even touching a didgeridoo can have terrible consequences - and even lead to infertility.

One academic called the book's inclusion of didgeridoo lessons "an extreme faux pas".

Harper Collins Australia apologised for inadvertently offending anyone, but said there was a "divergence of opinions" within Aboriginal culture on whether girls should play this ancient instrument.

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