We chat to Byron Bay singer, ukulele strummer, & drummer Bobby Alu ahead of his Central Coast Shows

Byron Bay singer, ukulele strummer, & drummer, Bobby Alu is headed to town. Armed with a killer smile, harmonies and rhythms inspired by a strong family lineage of Polynesian performance Bobby will hit the Central Coast for two shows in February.

Having dedicated his world-class percussion skills to touring internationally with Xavier Rudd over the past five years, it’s now time for Bobby Alu to turn his attention once again to his own music with the release of his album, Flow, and a tour of the same name.

We caught up with Bobby for a QandA ahead of his time on the Central Coast.

Who taught you to play Ukulele?

My Mum showed me. I’ve got memories of her showing me when i was really young like 4 or 5. Most samoan songs are played with the same three chords. So i played those chords for a good 10 years before i knew any others.

We caught you at Bigsound in Brisbane last year. What was it like to have your mum up on stage with you?

Mum’s been a constant thread through all my music. She was the foundation of my sound really so to share time with her on stage is really special.

You’re headed to the Central Coast for a couple of shows soon. Besides your instruments, what’s the one thing you can’t leave home without when you head out on a tour?

My Bose headphones, Armaforce and at least 2 different caps. Listening to music is an effective way to ground if i ever feel uncomfortable. Armaforce tablets are the most effective way to fend off a cold if i feel rundown. Hats keep my hair in place and i like having some variety in colour and style.

You supported Xavier Rudd on his tour of the USA & Canada. What was the highlight of that trip for you?

Playing to 2000 screaming people in Montreal Canada at the iconic Metropolis Theatre was a real buzz. There’s a clip of it on Youtube. Or perhaps having quite a lovely mushroom trip in a desert in Texas. Both pretty amazing experiences.

Tell us more about this photo…

Ha ha. So that photo shoot was styled by a good friend of mine who raided my wardrobe and picked the clothes for me. I love old school 70s sports outfits. Anything with stripes really catches my eye. I think this was because I was an aspiring track athlete from the age of 7 to 17. This singlet is from my track days. When i was 16 i ran 10.89 in the 100m. I was so focused in high school to run and represent Australia. I ended up doing that at the youth olympics, I broke a bunch of junior records and loved the community that surrounded it. Music took over by my late teens like a force of nature.

Tell us about The Seed and what it did for your musical journey.

The seed program run by John Butler, Danielle Caruana, Stacia Goninon and Carlo Santone is an incredible initiative that has helped so many artists/managers and workers in the music industry. I was a participant in 2010 and have since been on the panel in 2016 and 2019. There’s no doubt it changed my life. The seed community is strong and empowers arts-workers to write their own story. This was empowering for me to hear in the early days of my music career. It made feel like I could do and be what i wanted, make the music I liked and create my own journey.


DATE: 2 February
VENUE: The Rhythm Hut – Gosford NSW
TIME: 4:00 PM

DATE: 8 February
VENUE: Love Lanes Festival – Wyong NSW
TIME: 6:00 PM

Written by Dan Beazley

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