“Flags” — the third effort from New Zealand composer Brooke Fraser — ripples with quirky, off-kilter Kiwi folk-pop, which took it straight to No. 1 on her country’s charts.
“But I want to make music that does something good as well — not music about just going out to some club and grinding all night,” says the singer, who appears at Cafe Du Nord on Dec. 5. “I want to make music that can bring some kind of comfort, hope and warmth to people and their lives.”
To that end, the kickoff “Flags” single, “Something in the Water,” is more than a sparkling little singalong. It echoes Fraser’s recent linkup with an organization called Charity Water.
“It’s all about getting clean water to people around the world,” she says. “And they’re doing it in a really transparent, straightforward manner. So on my tour, I’m trying to raise $50,000 between now and Dec. 15, my birthday, to build these clean-water wells.”
Fraser’s last recording, “Albertine,” was named for a child she met while visiting Rwanda, where she and husband Scott Ligertwood are currently sponsoring seven children via another group she supports, World Vision.
“My first trip into the field was Cambodia, to visit a child I was sponsoring there,” Fraser says. “Then I found myself in a country torn apart by genocide, Rwanda, and that was really quite traumatic — and in hindsight kind of foolish. But to meet and talk to people who’d experienced real evil had a profound effect on that album I went on to write.”
Fraser did not plan on becoming such a humanitarian. But at 17, the aspiring songwriter attended a World Vision-backed concert where she heard an artist talk of his life-changing charity work in Africa and learned how to become involved.
So she promptly started a part-time job and donated her earnings to a needy child in Tanzania.
“Then I became an artist, signed to a major label at 18, and so I wanted to use my music to draw attention to these types of issues,” Fraser says.
Also, the singer wants to set the record straight on one misconception: Yes, she happens to be Christian.
“But my records have always been played on mainstream radio, and I definitely have an aversion to the Christian-music industry — I actually find it quite alarming and want no part of it,” Fraser says.
But why does she care so much? She’s not sure.
“But I have a unique opportunity to do something with the influence that I have,” Fraser says. “And influence is like currency — one should try and spend it wisely.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cafe Du Nord, 2170 Market St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 5