This one for the birds
AVIER Rudd’s love of the environment and the Kimberley inspired his new album, Spirit Bird.
Now based near Byron Bay, Rudd (pictured) grew up in Torquay, in Victoria, surfing and playing music from a young age, and became fascinated with the didgeridoo, which he learned to play by practising on his mother’s vacuum cleaner hose.
After releasing six albums of his heartfelt roots-blues music, the multi-instrumentalist has crisscrossed the globe and become a festival favourite for his elaborate solo stage set-up and passionate live performances.
Once named the World’s Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity, he also campaigns for many indigenous and environmental causes, notably Sea Shepherd, and also joined the fight to stop mining giant Woodside building a gas refinery at James Price Point in the Kimberley.
Rudd says Spirit Bird had it’s genesis in the Kimberley after an encounter with a black cockatoo
‘‘A lot of this record was inspired by my time in the Kimberley,’’ he says.
‘‘I have been working on the James Price Point saga for the last three to four years and that place has been very powerful for me on my personal journey.
‘‘I had just been to a sacred site and was coming back along a track and I came across a tree that had a mob of red-tail black cockatoos in it. They are usually pretty flighty but they stayed right there and one – I’m going to call it an old grandmother spirit – just locked her eyes on mine, looked through me and screeched and groaned and talked to me.
‘‘I had all these images running through my mind of faces and places, things that were like memories – but they weren’t mine.
‘‘I was just blown away and that afternoon I wrote the start of Spirit Bird on a beach. It just poured out of me and it was really emotional.’’
His seventh album also sees him meld his music with Australian native bird calls.
‘‘It’s an idea I have had for a while now to sample birds and this seemed like the perfect record to give it a go,’’ he says.
‘‘It worked really well. It brought a lot of really beautiful colours – harmonies you wouldn’t otherwise expect.
‘‘It was fascinating for me to put those familiar sounds into a musical context.’’
is out now. Xavier Rudd plays the Coolangatta Hotel on Saturday at 8.30pm