My phone call catches Xavier Rudd just before he boards a plane flying from Australia to Quebec. After saying some goodbyes to loved ones, the laidback singer, songwriter and one-man band took some time to talk about his vibe… and ours
Xavier Rudd is Australia’s answer to Jack Johnson – with more didgeridoos. His music falls somewhere between folk and world music, often with a socially conscious, spiritually oriented outlook. He’s been a longtime environmentalist, in large part because, like his pal Johnson, he’s a surfer who tries to remain connected to the natural world around him. Especially that part of the world with surfable water.
“I’ve tried to surf while touring, but it’s pretty tough to keep up and obviously a lot of the places don’t have water nearby,” says Rudd, who was curious but entirely skeptical when I mention that you can surf the St-Lawrence. “But, I’m just not a big city person. I like being a little more remote.”
Fair enough, but since I’m interviewing him for the Montreal Tourism blog, I ask if our city can get a free pass on that one- if for no other reason than the obvious connection between his audiences and the Tam Tams crowd. He laughs and gamely responds: “Well, as far as cities go it’s pretty nice. Nice vibe, very nice people and I think it’s pretty cool that that Quebec has kept its cultural independence.”
Rudd, who plays Metropolis on May 15, is renowned for his one-man band approach to concerts, playing guitar, bass, percussion and more, often at the same time. On his latest album, Koonyum Sun, he has joined forces with two South African musicians, bassist Tio Moloantoa and percussionist Andile Nqubezelo, who together form Inzintaba. When asked about the collaboration, Rudd reports getting a pretty good “vibe” from it. Which, true to his surfer roots, is high praise.
“It’s different in a good way, I was ready for a new challenge. Tio and Andile are such amazing players and incredible friends, I think I felt like it was time for a new beginning, and they definitely represent that. There’s a new energy on stage, a new decade, a real open spirit as our ancestors are traveling with us from South Africa. Cool vibe.”