Xavier Rudd (born 1978) is a soulful Australian surf/roots artist from Torquay, Victoria, which is near the famous surfing location, Bells Beach.
Rudd’s music is compassionate and always manages to render emotion in his fans. His songs include stories of the mistreatment of the indigenous people of his homeland; they tell of humanity, spirituality or the environment. The songs are written and sung with compassion and they urge the celebration of life.
Rudd is skilled with a variety of instruments, include guitar, shaker, didgeridoo, Weissenborn slide guitar, Tongue drum, stomp boxe, djembe, harmonica, ankle bells, and slide banjo. It’s an experience to watch him perform his songs live, as he plays the guitar, digeridoo and various percussion instruments simultaneously, using a unique stage setup. But the real magic comes when he opens his mouth and his soulful voice spills upon his audience.
Rudd recalls that when he was 10, his dad took him to see Paul Simon’s Graceland tour. “I remember seeing it and knowing that that was what I was gonna do,” he says. “I had no doubt. It sort of made sense, because I’d always lived in my head, in this world of song that was my own little secret. But to see that show and that whole thing happening, I sort of felt comfortable as a human, and thought.” He learned to play the digeridoo, the 50,000-year-old wooden trumpet of the Aboriginal people, by practising on a vacuum cleaner pipe.
As a teenager, Rudd really got into songwriting. He started performing at his school, with solo gigs following. He drew inspiration from artists such as Leo Kottke, Ben Harper, Natalie Merchant and multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, as well as music from diverse sources, such as Hawaii and Native American music.
As with most solo singers, Rudd has experimented playing in a band. Though it was a short- lived experiment, as Rudd quickly found that it wasn’t the right way to go for him. “What I do now is just more me,” he says. “And it sounds full.”
“It’s all about peace and happiness,” he says of his performances. “That’s sort of the blanket that seems to sort of settle in the room, or on the venue when I play, but I sort of feel not solely responsible. I don’t really feel like it’s me and the audience. I feel like it’s all of us, one big connection and I just happen to be channeling the energy through music. It comes from the audience and channels through me and I put it back in the audience.”
“My music is about good spirit. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I do. I’m so blessed to be able to be able to travel around and play music and connect with so many people in so many places in so many cultures. It’s a gift of life as a musician.”
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