And Then There Were Three
Call Australia’s Xavier Rudd the thinking man’s Jeff Spicoli. With a blonde mop of tousled hair he certainly looks the part, but underneath the hippie-dippy prose and a near spiritual devotion to surfing lies a soul attuned to the still waters that run deeply through the Aboriginal culture of his homeland and the hearts of his world family – his fans.
Appearing: September 11th at Vic Theatre in Chicago.
“I feel very blessed. Good people come to my shows and that’s apparent all over the world. It’s good people. It’s good energy. I just respect it,” Rudd explains nearly an hour before taking the stage in France.
After a heady year that saw the dissolution of his decade-long marriage, Rudd exudes a sense of peace and seems comfortable in his own skin as he embarks on a late summer tour in support of his latest release, Koonyum Sun (Anti).
“I really don’t worry about what other people think or what I am or what I should be or anything I like. I just am who I am. I do what I do. I come from where I come from. I play music and people ask me questions, I answer them. I sing about what I feel,” he says as if reciting a mantra. “I don’t waste any time thinking how I’m perceived or what I should or shouldn’t do. That’s the problem with our world. People spend too much time in their mind.”
A direct line can be traced from Rudd’s karmic shift to two South African men – bassist Tio Moloantoa and percussionist Andile Nqubezdo. Some people meet at large music festivals, make small chit chat, and, if they are lucky, spontaneously run into one another further on down the arm’s-length schedule of bands. For Rudd, Moloantoa, and Nqubezdo, a chance encounter at Austria’s Nuke Festival turned into a collaboration that surpassed the average “let’s find each other on Facebook” interaction between newfound acquaintances.
“We just have a strong connection. We had a powerful connection from day one and a strong respect for what each other was doing and we ended up rehearsing about a year later and we’ve been playing together ever since,” Rudd recounts. “There was something heavy happening with them musically. It turned into us staying in touch and we just talked about playing eventually and then we just did it.”
The 32-year-old – known for his one-man shows and proficient didgeridoo chops – cast aside his reputation for playing every instrument himself and welcomed the addition of actual bandmates. He even added the moniker “Inzintaba” to his name to represent this new era in his musical journey and career trajectory. The Zulu word for “mountains,” Inzintaba conjures up the feeling that permeated Rudd’s initial reaction to finding himself in the presence of both Moloantoa and Nqubezdo.
– Janine Schaults
To find out how it turned out, grab the September issue of Illinois Entertainer, available free throughout Chicagoland.
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