Two worlds embodied in Rudd
Xavier Rudd embodies the ethos of the 2 Worlds Festival (2WF) – a celebration of Indigenous and Western culture – and this Saturday he’s arriving to Melbourne asking all Australians to do the same.
The Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has spent more than two decades promoting unity and respect through his music, said the festival and the Marrma’ Rom Two Worlds Foundation (MR2WF) it supports, played an important role in reconciling.
“This festival is important because celebrating our culture is one of the most important things we can do. Australians have been denied the opportunity to immerse themselves in our heritage, our Aboriginal heritage, which is part of our country – it’s a huge part of all of us as Australians.
“Look at New Zealand. Our only choice now as Australians, our responsibility as Australians, is to teach our kids, and this event is an opportunity to do that.”
Relocating to Birrarung Marr on the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River, the festival (now in its third year) will showcase a variety of Indigenous and Western performers, art, traditional and not so traditional activities, Indigenous and modern multicultural food offerings.
“In Australia there’s all these blurred lines with bridging gaps around parts of Australia that were colonised. There’s so much pain and shame with things that have gone on and it’s a slow process to rebuild,” Rudd said.
“We’re getting there but 2WF is a unique cause and foundation because Arnhem Land was never settled by the British, although alcohol has affected communities, the culture is still very strong. There are still full blood people, the language is still their first language.
“The 2WF and MR2WF is a clean, fresh way to try a different approach in Western society.”
The festival is a major fundraiser for the foundation’s leadership program, which gives students from North East Arnhem Land educational opportunities in the Geelong and surrounding areas, empowering the next generation of young men and women to walk confidently in “two worlds”.
“I’m all for the foundation, my little brothers were in a band at school with a kid from Arnhem Land who’s playing at the festival. He came down as part of the program and really thrived; I saw that firsthand.
“Music has been connecting human beings and different cultures since the beginning of time. Next to childbirth it’s probably the most natural thing we can do; it’s an energetic part of all of us, it transcends race, culture, conditioning, scars – all the psychological stuff.”
Rudd said the festival provided an excellent platform for Indigenous musicians, performers and artists to showcase their talent and culture.
“There will be a lot of great Indigenous artists like the Black Rock Band; they’re awesome. It will be an amazing day.”
The Torquay born musician said for the first time in as long as he can remember, he’s not touring Europe and South America.
“I’ve been home on the Sunshine Coast for a while now which has been nice. I’ve done heaps of national and international touring since Storm Boy and this is the first year, in 20 years, I’m not doing the overseas circuit which is trippy,” he said.
“I’ll be doing a lot of local gigs like the one in Melbourne, and a couple of benefits up here, including one for the koalas. I’m going to do some recording, keep healthy and do a lot more locally which I haven’t always been able to do.
“I’m pretty good at staying healthy on the road. You can either go two ways as a musician, there’s almost no middle ground. You can go hard on the drugs and booze and burn out, or you can be fit and healthy and last long-term – unless of course you’re Keith Richards.”
And as he readies to return to his family home of Victoria, he said it’s not so much the state that feels like home, but the country itself.
“I haven’t lived in Victoria for a long time, but I still feel very connected. There’s a few spots around the coast especially or when I see mum and dad.
“I definitely love it up north, but it’s Australia in general. I’m a big fan of our country, I’ve always felt when I leave, I leave a part of me and I’m always stoked to get home.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, head to 2worldsfestival.org.au.