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This blog is currently on hiatus owing to work commitments. Whilst I still keep an eye on the goings on at RiAus, and contribute to the work of the good folks at eLife, little will be added to this blog for the foreseeable future. Simon Says remains open for business, albeit at a reduced capacity. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope the archive of content found here will prove to be of interest.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Yes, we have no bananas

"If you could see exactly what I could see, it would be a great mystery"
- Joaquin Rudd in Koonyum Sun by Xavier Rudd

I’ve been lucky enough to see the Australian musician Xavier Rudd perform, with his fusion of world music, blues, reggae and rock in the varying forms of one-man-band, front man and master of three instruments at once, including the didgeridoo, on two occasions since first being introduced to him in a random field in Far North Queensland in 2007. The lady responsible for playing his music to us, as we sprayed weed killer around valuable tree saplings in the regenerating forests, had a tendency to shriek and twitch in a way that was slightly uncomfortable to watch. Like robots we trudged the fields, large tanks on our backs, spraying poison at opportunistic weeds from pipes and nozzles extending from our bulky apparatus. The relaxing tones of Mr Rudd (Xavier, not Kevin) kept my spirits high for the day. Weeks later I would awake to the same music on a sailing boat in the middle of the Whitsunday islands, content with the world and hooked on this music.

At both of these shows the audience felt the need to talk extensively over Xavier’s performance, and this troubles me. Certainly, songs about our connection with the earth and Aboriginal Dreaming are alien to an audience in Birmingham, but I think that if you pay to see an artist, you should respect their performance and pay attention to it, not wrestle your way to the bar and treat the show as background music. Positivity and respect, I believe, should be paid at all times, not just to established performers but to all who clearly put effort and care into what they do. Here’s why.