Delivered in spirit of tradition
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.