Freestyle: Music for a soulful planet

May. 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Aussie multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd is returning to Honolulu on Saturday, May 31. (Courtesy Xavier Rudd)




World-music fans, eco-warriors and surfer-hippies are bound to highly appreciate this weekend’s visit from Xavier Rudd, the soulful Australian multi-instrumentalist appearing at The Republik.

His music and message are tuned to natural rhythms, as Rudd encourages listeners to turn outward, rather than focus on self-centered pursuits.

Xavier Rudd. (Courtesy James Looker)


Presented by BAMP Project

» Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
» When: 8 p.m. Saturday (doors at 7 p.m.; 6 p.m. for those 21 and over)
» Cost: $35 in advance, higher on day of show; all ages when accompanied by adult
» Info: (855) 235-2867,

Rudd was “keen to have a look” at Kauai on his first trip to Hawaii last year, and to visit with Donavon Frankenreiter. He’s known Frankenreiter for years, “since the Jack Johnson days,” he said when we talked before that first Hawaii trip, traveling with him through Germany and Australia.

He also shares a bond with the “brilliant” Medicine for the People, a band that like him embodies a high-energy appeal for conscious living — living with simplicity and direct honesty.

Xavier’s music, in particular, urges us to seek open-spirited endeavors. It’s an antidote to commercial messages and isolating, avaricious consumerism.

“There’s a lot of spirit in what I do,” Rudd said. “It will be a pleasure to bring that to Hawaii.”

“Connecting with an audience and the energy, it’s a natural flow,” he said. “The shows are uplifting.”

RUDD’S MUSIC is “groovy,” in his words, and copacetic for dancing.

His instruments are of natural material, wood, for which he has a passion, and are all handmade. In addition, he feels that each individual instrument corresponds to a specific mood that he wants to convey.

“It’s organically tuned to what it is,” he said. “It’s all in one.”

He’s been praised for his sense of adventure and musicianship, and experiments with his instruments.

“I’ve never actually sat down and tried to write a song,” he said. “They’ve just happened. They come through me when they’re ready.

“It’s interesting how, without even deciding, the music takes different shapes with every new album.”

While the music is dynamic and uplifting, Rudd told me that one of his preoccupations has been human suffering and self-indulgence.

“At the end of the day, I think one of the common problems is the fact that people have forgotten that we are of this earth, not just on this earth,” he said. “There’s a lot of suffering on the planet that we may have been trying to help, but energetically, we’re removed from our environment.”

He’s concerned with “how to get that back.”

“By fusing ourselves to our earth, to our creator, healing can come on a greater scale,” Rudd said.

Here’s how his song “Follow the Sun” puts it: “Which way is the wind blowing? What does your heart say?”
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at or follow her on Twitter.


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