Muso from Down Under at festival

2016-03-22 06:00
Australian Xavier Rudd will be performing at the Parklife Festival at Green Point Stadium on Monday.

Australian Xavier Rudd will be performing at the Parklife Festival at Green Point Stadium on Monday.

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From sampling indigenous birdsong to his own blend of genres infused with tribal echoes, Xavier Rudd’s music is an ethereal experience.

The Australian multi-instrumentalist will be bringing his otherworldly sounds to Cape Town this week when he performs at the Parklife Festival on Monday.

Xavier grew up in what he calls a coastal bush town in Australia, where he was always teaching himself to play the different instruments he now surrounds himself with on stage, like the guitar, harmonica, yidaki, banjo, lap steel guitar, percussion and the didgeridoo.

The soft-spoken musician says he was “pretty shy” to start off with, but once he started performing in front of people, he just kept moving forward. Today he tours the word “doing my thing”.

Widely considered to be an activist, Xavier’s music carries messages of social consciousness, environmentalism and human rights.

“The impression of Aboriginal people here in Australia is something that’s always been the closest to my heart.”

Xavier feels a lot of lessons about racism should have been learnt in South Africa already. His experience of this country is based on his exposure from working with the 60-year-old Southern Sotho bassist Tio Moloantoa

“It’s always made to be a human thing,” he says, adding: “In terms of our earth, we’re no different than a leaf on a tree or a blade of glass; we’re all part of the system.

“It’s about time that everyone just laid down their weapons, so to speak, and just remembered our connection to land and to look after our land as one people.”

Tio isn’t the only South African Xavier has worked with. Together with percussionist Andile Nqubezelo, Tio and Xavier released Koonyum Sun as Xavier Rudd and Izintaba in 2010.

The United Nations of bandsTio also plays as a member of the group Xavier Rudd and the United Nations, which released Nanna last year.

Xavier says the group, with members from around the world, came about quite organically.

“All the members just appeared, pretty much.” Together, they share a message of “all people coming together around the globe to return to spirit, respect the ancient ways and protect the earth and the very essence of creation”.

The title of activist is not something Xavier thinks about.

“I don’t see it like that,” he says. “I just believe what I believe and I have an opportunity sometimes to get what I believe to a larger audience and I just do.”

He says it’s something that simply makes sense to him.

“We’re all in this together and this change needs to happen around the world. We all need to do whatever we can, it doesn’t matter what it is.”

A keen surfer, Xavier says a lot of his music was created in the water.

“I spend a lot of time surfing and writing in my head.”

His inspiration comes from “that feeling, that power of dancing with Mother Nature”. This connection is what helps him make sure he’s singing from the soul.

Capetonians can experience the connection on Monday when Xavier will perform a mix of new and older material at the Parklife Festival at Green Point Stadium next to Hamilton’s Cricket Club.

The line-up for the festival also includes American band Civil Twilight and local acts Jeremy Loops, Desmond and the Tutus, GoodLuck, Just Jinjer, Majozi, Al Bairre, Josh Wantie and Sweet Resistance.V Tickets for the festival are available at breakout.­nutickets.co.za. Visit parklifefestival.co.za for more information.

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