XAVIER Rudd is a soulful Australian surf/roots artist from Torquay in Victoria, which is near the famous surfing location, Bells Beach.

His grandfather was born in Tilburg, a town in the Netherlands, before he migrated to Australia.

Xavier showed a keen interest in music growing up and recalls that when he was 10, his dad took him to see Paul Simon's Graceland concert.

"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 a 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 in thoughts."

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, including Hawaiian and Native American music traditions. He learned to play the didgeridoo, by practising on a vacuum cleaner pipe.

Typically, he has three didgeridoos placed in front of him on a stand, a guitar on his lap, a stompbox by his habitually bare feet, and an assortment of drums, harmonicas and bells near at hand, or near at foot, as the case may be.

Several of Rudd's songs incorporate socially conscious themes, including spirituality, humanity, environmental awareness, and the rights of indigenous people and he has included both Australian and Canadian Aboriginal vocals in some of his songs.

"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 channelling the energy through music. It comes from the audience and channels through me and I put it back in the audience."

Enthralling devoted fans, Xavier Rudd kicked off 2015 by unveiling his long-awaited dream project; a full-blown dub record, backed by an eight-piece international all-star band.

After successfully touring on lead-single Come People, which included sold-out performances in New York, Colorado, Toronto, and Montreal, Xavier Rudd & The United Nations return to North America in support of their sophomore single Flag. Flag is the perfect representation of The United Nations' diverse cultural sound, and indeed the spirit within Xavier Rudd & The United Nations: it is a passionate call to unite, wrapped in pure Tuff Gong authenticity.

"I feel the spirit of this band is very important," Rudd says. "This album, this tour, this family, The United Nations is an example energetically and spiritually of where we need to be as a people. We tour in order to deliver this message and celebrate the energy of one people."

Rudd has now become a featured artist at music festivals worldwide.

His songs are written and sung with compassion and they urge the celebration of life. It's a unique experience to watch Rudd perform his songs live, as he plays the guitar, didgeridoo and various percussion instruments simultaneously, but the real magic comes when his soulful voice spills out on to the audience and with The United Nations by his side, this concert will truly be a tour de force.

See Xavier live on Wednesday, August 19 at 7.30pm. Tickets on sale now $58.90



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