Aussie native Xavier Rudd releases his hippie vibes

Musician spreads social awareness

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Xavier Rudd

Even with his roots firmly embedded in Australian soil, Canada still has a special place in the heart of folk musician Xavier Rudd.

“I love coming to Canada when we can,” Rudd says. “I come from an Aboriginal background back home and there’s a similar spirit here, in the land here in Canada. So I’ve always been intrigued in my travels about making those connections over here.”

It also doesn’t hurt that his wife is from Vancouver Island.

In addition to Canada, Rudd is also touring the US and Europe and bringing his unique musical sound to an international audience. Since his music is so different (after all, not everybody plays a didgeridoo), one can imagine that there might be some apprehension about his culture becoming a gimmick to the rest of the world. But Rudd doesn’t give it any mind.

“I don’t read a lot about myself. It’s hard to know what goes on in the labeling world. I think people appreciate what I do, that it’s unique. I get a lot of positive feedback from it. I just feel lucky doing it. There’s a lot of good artists doing great things around the world that don’t have the opportunities that I have. So I just feel really blessed.”

Being a part of the music industry, particularly with his recent success, has allowed Rudd to extend his humanitarian ideals to a broader community and use his songs to spread awareness and social consciousness.

“I feel stoked because we get a lot of humanitarian and environmental organizations approach us, so we learn a lot about different groups of people in different places doing amazing things. And, I guess through music and the nature of what we do, we’re able to connect the dots with certain groups around the world, which is pretty powerful and feels pretty special.”

Rudd is particularly concerned, however, with the issues back home. Coming from an Australian Aboriginal background, he knows firsthand the issues his people face. While supporting groups like ANTaR (Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation), he is still frustrated by the slowness of social change.

“If you want me to be completely honest, there’s not an awful lot of progress,” Rudd says. “There needs to be a lot more energy injected nation-wide ... and it’s the same here in Canada. So yeah, gradual, very, very slow. Improvement in small pockets, but no, it hasn’t even begun.”

While not entirely optimistic the situation is going to improve as fast as he would like, Rudd takes on the role of an international ambassador, spreading awareness of Australian Aboriginal issues internationally. Through his music, he hopes to educate the world about the earth and its people.

“I’m still going to be in my world doing what I’m doing, connecting with folks like you, pretty conscious people. And I think our world is made up of people who are on a whole wrong level consciously and that worries me because a lot of those people run the place.”

At the end of the day, though, Rudd is all about the music.

“I just love to play, man ... It’s a trip. Everything’s beautiful these days. I’ve played a lot of rugged shows and these days it makes me really appreciate the gift I have now.”

Xavier Rudd played at Centennial Hall this past Monday.

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