Contest: Apt613 has one pair of tickets to give away for this Xavier Rudd and the United Nations show. The lucky winner will also have the opportunity to meet Xavier Rudd. To enter, send an email to email@example.com telling us what the album title, Nanna, signifies. A winner will be chosen by random draw on Thursday, November 5 at 8pm.
Xavier Rudd returns to Ottawa this Saturday – this time with an incredible group of musicians from all over the world in a project they call Xavier Rudd and the United Nations.
The group will be bringing their colourful celebration of life and love to the Bronson Centre, touring for the recent release of their album Nanna. An album with a message of diversity and togetherness.
“It was pretty organic how it all came together really… it was a project that I wanted to do for quite a while but I wanted it to be really amazing when I did it, so I was really patient with the concept.” Rudd told us when we had a chance to chat with him earlier this week. “Once I put it out there to the universe it all came together pretty organically, all the members appeared almost magically, it was quite incredible.”
On Nanna, Rudd’s unique voice shines when backed by the United Nations, almost like he is the grand marshal leading a parade and has the whole world following him. The result is a tribal, eclectic image of hope and positivity across the globe.
Although the album has an unmistakable reggae flavour, the sounds of the band’s many cultures are weaved throughout in a natural, spiritual sounding way that only Rudd can pull off. He wrote the album himself, but made sure the band had plenty of time to rehearse and add their own unique sound before they stepped into the studio.
“I didn’t want it to feel like a bunch of session musicians, I wanted it to feel like a real band that had a chance to put their parts in, and be creative in the songs as well.”
The members of the United Nations hail from Australia, Africa, Samoa, Germany and New Guinea. Their creativity and cultural influence is definitely evident, and the their diversity is felt all across the album.
There is a mixture of languages sung and chanted throughout Nanna, including on the title track – which features Jandai, an extinct aboriginal language of the Stradbroke and Moreton Islands.
Of course the reggae sounds are flawless as well. The standout “Flag” (see the new video below) and “While I’m gone” which Rudd says reminds him of his family, sound like they wouldn’t be out of place on a Bob Marley or Peter Tosh album.
And for good reason – the album was mixed by famed sound engineer Errol Brown in Jamaica. “I spoke to Errol on the phone and he sent me mixes back and forth, he was amazing. He really got into it and ended up telling me that it was one of his favourite projects he’s ever worked on – which is such a big honour. I remember talking to him and thinking wow, he’s mixed all these classic Bob Marley tracks so for him to say that was really special.”
Despite working with Brown and the obvious reggae influences on Nanna and his previous releases, Rudd says he has never been to Jamaica. However he says that it is somewhere he has always wanted to visit and that it’s near the top of his list – as soon as he can find time from his busy touring and recording schedules (he even hinted that Toots Hibberts from Toots and the Maytalls has asked him to visit Jamaica to collaborate).
As for the title, Rudd says that it represents many things. It’s an ode to family and also to grandmothers in the more spiritual, creator sense of the word. “Everyone coming from different cultures had so many interesting stories to share while we were in the studio, and we found there was that common respect for grandmothers and our ancestors, the people that came before us.”
It’s also a dedication to a woman spirit that Rudd says he’s had with him that he attributes to his grandmother, whom he never met.
When asked what people can expect at Saturday’s show, Rudd says “they can expect to shake their booties. It’s a dance party really… a celebration of one people. For me it’s kind of like church, a church of the earth maybe. The show has a real spiritual vibe – there’s a lot of spirit in the room and travelling with us. “
Rudd also says that this unique show probably won’t come through Canada again – so it is not to be missed.
“I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone there. We’ve put together this incredible band of great musicians, and great friends, it’s a really great family. We’re touring around and we’re having a ball. There’s been a real excitement around, and it’s continued even though we’ve now done a 100-and-something shows as a band. There’s still that excitement and respect for the project and the music.”
Xavier Rudd and the United Nations play the Bronson Centre on Saturday November 7, 2015, at 8:00pm (doors at 7:00pm). Toronto hip/hop-world artist Emmanuel Jal opens the show. Tickets are $35 in advance and can be purchased here.