Friday, December 7, 2007

Elton Gets Personal Didgeridoo in Townsville

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC AND A REAL COWBOY . . . Sir Elton meets Cowboys player Matt Bowen and John Pene-Fonmosa

The Rocket Man took time out before last night's show to meet some local Aboriginal elders where he was presented with a one-off designed didgeridoo in his honour.

Renowned artist John Pene-Fonmosa took time out to meet one-on-one with the king of the piano moments before he took to the stage, to pass on the hand-crafted masterpiece.

Sir Elton was visible impressed with the work as he raved about his love of indigenous art to the artist.

Mr Pene-Fonmosa had spent the past four days rushing to finish the design which features a hand-painted tribal design connected to the Bundjalung people of Northern New South Wales where he is based.

"It took about four days all up for me to make it," said Mr Pene-Fonmosa backstage.

"The story in the artwork is from the indigenous people of Australia saying `welcome to our country'.

"It included a keyboard for Elton and a sea turtle which is a totem for long life, grace and beauty."

Mr Pene-Fonmosa has been in the spotlight in recent weeks for making a didgeridoo which will be permanently displayed in Queensland Parliament, marking the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Federal referendum on Aboriginal rights.

He spent a few minutes speaking to the music great who was thankful for the gift.

"Sir Elton commented that he has quite a big indigenous art collection, so that was really great to hear," he said.

"He was all ready to go on stage when we met and it was very generous of him to give us his time. I think he really appreciated it.

"It's all part of the reconciliation thing for us too. With such a high-profile, well-known person, this is just a chance to showcase that and to have a moment in time with him is very special."

And being in Cowboys territory, the flamboyant soccer supporter couldn't leave without being presented with his own piece of the North's favourite football code.

Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen gave the star his own Elton-embossed guernsey which left him looking a little puzzled.

"He asked if it was league or union," he laughed.

"We had to tell him it was league, which was funny. It was great to meet him. He was good to have a talk to us."

He joked he would be keeping his eyes close on future paparazzi shots to see if he would trade his flamboyant suit jackets for the yellow and blue.

"I hope he wears it," he laughed.

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