Xavier Rudd is an Australian singer and songwriter. He also plays several instruments, including the guitar, harmonica, didgeridoo, and banjo, among others. Much of Xavier’s music incorporates socially conscious themes, such as environmentalism, and is considered to have a spiritual connotation. One of Xavier’s great-grandmothers was an Aboriginal Australian and some of his music speaks to the plight of the Aboriginal people, who still face extreme marginalization today.
His album, Spirit Bird, and the title track were created after Xavier’s encounter with a red-tailed black cockatoo in Australia. He had a powerful experience of imagery and emotion, stating:
“A lot of that [album] grew out of me giving myself to that country up in the Kimberley and that country gave it back to me… I’d been on a bit of a journey and Spirit Bird represents that.” – Xavier Rudd
You only have to read some of the comments left on YouTube to understand the effect this song has on people.
This comment is in fact what inspired the title of this article.
Another comment highlights how significant songs can become in our lives and act as reminders of both the highest and lowest points in our life.
Here are some more comments I liked.
I will post two videos of the song below one of a High Quality version and another of him singing live.
Before you press play I suggest you sit somewhere quiet, plug your headphones in and turn the volume up.
Xavier Rudd: ‘Spirit Bird’ LIVE at WANDERLUST
Speaking of ‘Spirit Bird’ Xavier Rudd gave this answer when asked, ‘what is the meaning behind the title?’
Spirit Bird the song came through me in two sections, very powerfully over a 2-year period. As I understand it, it has come through me from the strong ancient spirit of Kimberley country in North West Australia. I have been drawn to that country up there over the last few years and have done some very powerful trips and have drawn a lot of wisdom from that land and it’s care takers and traditional custodians. One particular day I was driving along a track after being at an ancient site and I had a strong urge to stop the 4WD and get out. We were at dry dessert country and I turned to see a dead tree with a big mob of Red Tailed Black Cockatoo’s looking down at me. These are usually flighty birds and rare to see up close but this tribe had a purpose. One old woman spirit bird locked eyes with me and began to creak and groan her message of time passed and changes to her country and the fear in her heart. It was all very heavy and as she looked through me with her eyes and passed this message I felt like I sank into the earth and my mind was racing with imagery of things that were clear but that I had never seen previously on my journey, almost like I was looking through someone else’s eyes with someone else’s memories.
That night I wrote the first half of Spirit Bird in the sand on a sacred beach, it poured out of me and was quite emotional. It was a few years after that that the rest of it came through. I was recording the record by a lake in Canada. One night sitting by a fire at about 10pm I started to play it and the whole back end of the song poured out of me and again it was really emotional and heavy, finishing in tears and quite drained I went to sleep. The next morning I woke to a bunch of messages from different friends telling me of the brutal Western Australian government’s tactics to forcefully take sacred land at James Price point in the Kimberley. At around 12 noon WA time police had moved in and started dragging protesters and traditional owners including elders off their home lands to make way for bulldozers and machinery to move onto the land to begin work destructing it in preparation for the proposed LNG gas plant (the biggest Australia has ever seen). It just so happens that at the exact time as that was happening the spirit was ripping through me on the other side of the world sitting by a fire in Canada and the result was the completion of the song Spirit Bird.
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You can buy his album on iTunes here