Sounds from Down Under 

Rudd introducing Canadian audiences to the digereedoo

WHO: Xavier Rudd

WHERE: The Crystal Lounge

WHEN: Friday, May 25

There’s been an unusual sound creeping onto the Whistler music scene this past winter. It’s a spiritual sound that calls to the soul and captures the imagination. Our Aussie friends might recognize it. But if you haven’t yet heard Xavier Rudd, come and experience the Hum.

"The digereedoo was used for ceremonies and meditation," says Rudd, "but I’ve never seen anyone use it with a guitar the way I do."

Rudd began experimenting with the dige several years ago Down Under. His unique blend of contemporary guitar with the traditional dige and soulful lyrics quickly caught the ear of the Australian music industry. Rudd has received airplay on the popular national radio station Triple J and the TV show Rove Live.

"I place a lot of emphasis on my lyrics. I don’t think enough artists do these days. There’s lot of different stories (in my music). There’s some about death. Not directly, but how it affects the people close to me. There’s one song in particular that was used on Rove Live and is pretty popular in Whistler about a simple-minded guy, based on a guy with Down’s Syndrome that I went to school with, and it’s about bullying."

While Rudd’s spiritualism appeals to the socially sensitive, it also appeals to the socially extreme. His music has been featured in several international surf and snowboard videos. His full band, Xavier and the Hum, is sponsored by Quicksilver Australia, the first time the board company has ever backed a musician.

So how does one play the guitar AND a dige you may ask. Seems Rudd is creative technically as well as musically and has devised a stand which allows him to access both instruments.

"I find that the dige is a pretty funky percussive instrument. I wanted to add it into more of an updated percussion style and to sing harmonies through it and play guitar as well. I used to tape it to chairs and things. Finally, I got a welder to make me a proper stand."

After tying the knot with a lovely Canuck, Rudd decided to expose the Canadian population to his dige. After a short six months, he has become a regular in Whistler and has been warmly received by audiences across the province. Canadians, it seems, love the dige. It could be because we’re just such an eclectic and friendly people, or perhaps Canadians are accepting of the Aussie culture because of the similarities between our two young nations. Rudd has his own theory.

"I find that Canadians are very close to the earth in their thinking and the dige is naturally made. You can’t really replicate a digereedoo… I think Canadians can appreciate that," says Rudd.

If you’re not familiar with the dige, you might be surprised to know that the instrument is created by a little pest you wouldn’t normally welcome into your home: the termite. Branches are cut from trees that have been infested by termites. The centre of the wood has been hollowed out by the tiny artisans, creating sound channels. Hence, no two digereedoos are the same.

And, according to Rudd, no two dige players are the same.

"It depends on the lips. Lots of people ask me to teach them, but I can only teach them the basics and say ‘do whatever your lips tell you to do’."


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