Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd is becoming used to people asking him about the title of his sixth studio album, “Koonyum Sun,” which came out in May.
It hails, he says, from the Koonym mountain range that’s part of Nightcap National Park in New South Wales. “It’s on the north coast of Australia,” Rudd, 32, explains, “and Koonyum means ‘place of thunder and lightning.’ That’s where I was when I was recording this record, where I was living.
“I spent a lot of time sitting by the fire, looking at the rain, reflecting on the album and my life. So the Koonyum sun was very strong for me, very significant for me at that time.”
The 13-track album also reflects a significant musical shift for Rudd, 32. It marks his first foray with a new rhythm section, Izintaba, a South African duo who previously played with Lucky Dube and Eddy Grant. Rudd met the musicians when they were playing with the latter and felt “a very powerful connection” that he decided to pursue when it came time to make new music.
“It felt like it was meant to be,” Rudd notes. “My drummer left the band, so that sort of opened the door. And I honestly believe our connection is a connection from our ancestors and is about us bringing their spirit through what we’re doing now.
“It’s definitely very strong, definitely the most powerful musical connection I’ve ever felt. It hit me like a truck in every way, and that’s really intriguing for me. It’s going to be interesting to see where it goes from here.”
Xavier Rudd & Izintaba perform Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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