Xavier Rudd is the rootsy, folk crooner from Torquay we’ve come to love. The multi-instrumentalist is perhaps best known with a Didgeridoo in his hand, but with this new project Rudd extends the sounds way beyond our shores. Bringing together 9 musicians from Australia, South Africa, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Germany the Aussie singer-songwriter delivers his most ambitious project yet – Nanna.
Xavier Rudd says this work with The United Nations was a dream concept. He’s been quoted as saying “It’s like all our ancestors had a cup of tea and worked it out for us” and this ease of production is evident throughout the record. Mixed by Errol Brown, best known for his work with Bob Marley, the Jamaican flavour is perhaps the most immediately recognisable of the lot – Flag, While I’m Gone.
Newly released single Come People is more percussive, with some seriously funky horns and a catchy, edgy rhythm, while title track Nanna is immediately darker with stunning wind instruments and an acoustic guitar creating something truly unique. The female vocalists on this track, and throughout the entire record, are one of the most beautiful components to this experimental project. They elevate the songs and transport the listener, to a point where you can get completely lost in the music.
Nanna is an album celebrating diversity and harmony. It is a melding of cultures that feels natural and spiritual and completely appropriate to be helmed by Xavier Rudd. With so much adversity in the world, it’s nothing short of lovely to sit and be immersed in the sounds so varied, yet blended so well. Rainbow Serpent is a great example of this, almost impossible to be pigeon holed. Story telling is rife, mostly bringing messages of honour, appreciation and peace, as is evident in Warrior and the jazzy, 55 second Radiate.
It’s hard to definitely categorise Nanna, which was obviously the intention. The eclectic combination of instruments and wild nuances in sound make for one hell of an interesting album. While it may not produce any stand out Top 40 hits (who cares) if Rudd was going for a spiritual celebration of cultures with this “dream concept”, he’s nailed it.