De­liv­ered in spirit of tra­di­tion

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

SPIR­I­TUAL singer/song­writer Xavier Rudd says peo­ple abroad won­der why Aus­tralia does not cel­e­brate its in­dige­nous cul­ture more.

‘‘Peo­ple over­seas are more open to Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture than peo­ple are in Aus­tralia,’’ he says on the phone from Mon­tana.

Rudd is play­ing shows in the US af­ter a stint in Europe and is com­ing home next month for a national tour to pro­mote his sev­enth al­bum, Spirit Bird.

‘‘Aus­tralia is fairly ig­no­rant in terms of cel­e­brat­ing its Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture and I don’t know why that is,’’ Rudd says.

‘‘It’s ob­vi­ously some thread that’s been go­ing through our so­ci­ety ever since white coloni­sa­tion and peo­ple over­seas tend to won­der why that is, why it’s not cel­e­brated and they tend to want to know more about the cul­ture.’’

Grow­ing up in Torquay, on the Vic­to­rian coast, Rudd has in­dige­nous roots on his fa­ther’s side of the fam­ily, as well as Dutch and Ir­ish in his back­ground.

He says Spirit Bird re­flects on time he spent in the Kim­ber­ley re­gion in Western Aus­tralia and in­volve­ment in the protest against the James Price Point gas pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tion. Rudd was in­spired by tra­di­tional cus­to­di­ans as well as lo­cal Broome res­i­dents and peo­ple in­ter­na­tion­ally who wanted to pro­tect the Kim­ber­ley.

‘‘A lot of the spirit in this record came from in­flu­ences up there,’’ he says.

‘‘I had some un­ex­pected per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences, all sorts of spirit stuff, that hap­pened just for me up there that opened my eyes to a few things that I needed to see about my­self. My mu­sic is like a med­i­ta­tion for me. I sort of go out of my­self and chan­nel spirit in a way when I play mu­sic.’’

Rudd sings and plays an ar­ray of in­stru­ments, some­times si­mul­ta­ne­ously, in­clud­ing gui­tar, didgeri­doo, har­mon­ica and a stomp­box.

He will tour Aus­tralia with Cal­i­for­nia-based Don­avon Franken­re­iter and Nahko Bear, with his band Medicine for The Peo­ple.

He met Franken­re­iter sev­eral years ago while tour­ing with folk-rocker Jack John­son, while Nahko Bear, who is part Apache, Puerto Ri­can and Filipino, is open­ing shows for Rudd in the US.

‘‘He (Nahko Bear) is quite in touch with his cul­ture so we touch on sim­i­lar stuff,’’ Rudd says.

Xavier Rudd, Don­avon Franken­re­iter and Nahko & Medicine for The Peo­ple play the YAC Am­phithe­atre, By­ron Bay, on Oc­to­ber 7 and The Tivoli, in Bris­bane, on Oc­to­ber 8.

– Pic­ture: BREN­DAN RADKE

Xavier Rudd on stage at this year’s By­ron Bay Blues­fest.

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