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Multitasking musician

By: PAULO SILVESTRE

[email protected]

MULTIFACETED ARTIST Xavier Rudd is due to perform at Coliseu de Lisboa on September 1 and at Casa da Música in Porto on September 2.

As well as being a revered musician, Rudd, who grew up in Bell’s Beach in southern Victoria, Australia, is noted for his part in the cult surf film Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.

Raised in a music friendly atmosphere, where his parents listened to Neil Young and Paul Simon, Rudd learned to play the guitar, clarinet, saxophone and Yidaki, or didgeridoo, the wooden trumpet of Aboriginals.

He developed his reputation by playing live performances at musical festivals and concerts in Australia, before hitting North America. He has recorded and released three live albums in Canada: Live in Canada (2001), Live at The Grid (2003) and Good Spirit (2005).

Rudd has become a natural presence at music festivals all over the world. He has performed at Falls Festival (2002, 2003 and 2004), Woodford Folk Festival (2003 and 2006), Meredith Music Festival (2003 and 2004), East Coast Blues and Roots Music Festival (2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007), West Coast Blues and Roots Festival (2004, 2005 and 2007), Melbourne International Music Festival (2004), The Great Escape Festival (2006), V2006 Festival, T in the Park (2006), FloydFest World Music Festival and the Bonnaroo Music Festival (2007), among others.

He supported Ani DiFranco at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and performed at a Moonshine benefit at Laguna Beach, California, with Jack Johnson, G Love and Special Sauce.

The first studio album entitled To Let was released in 2002. It was self produced with the help of Chris Thompson, who also recorded and mixed it. His second work Solace was released in 2004 and went into the top 20 in the Australian album charts. The third studio album, Food in the Belly, was released on October 27, 2005 and features performances by Harry Manx, Dave Tolley from Canadian band Nine Mile and Southern Californian songwriter and sultry singer Beth Preston.

For so many artists, the divide between their live shows and their albums can be huge. Xavier Rudd lives for his audience and feeds off its energy.

With his fourth album White Moth, released this year, he combines the acoustic warmth given by a studio work with the adrenaline of the stage. It has Australian music roots and is not all about sound techniques. White Moth depicts Rudd’s spiritual journey and as he travelled around the world, his music blends folk, reggae, rock and world music.

Lyrically, the songs are about those people who make life possible: his fans, wife and children, and environmental activists, who he calls the “better people”.

He is a one-man band, who plays the guitar, Yidaki, Weissenborn slide guitar, stomp box, djembe and harmonica, among many other instruments. Remarkable on stage, he often finds himself performing more than one instrument at a time using a unique setup that finds him surrounded by his instruments and he sings behind a stand holding three Yidakis.

The shows in Portugal should not be missed as the experience of a performance of this man with extraordinary skills is truly unique.