Mirror Magazine


X-IT: (l-r) Kevin, Avrille, Shafi and Shiraaz Pic by Ishara Kodikara

X-IT enters the fray
By Marisa de Silva and Ishani Ranasinghe
Having ‘X-ITed’ from some of Colombo’s best known bands, Kevin Almeida, Shiraaz Nooramith, Avrille De Valliere and S. S. Shafi are four exuberant and multi-talented musicians who seem to have finally found their ideal combination. Judging by recent reviews of their music, they are making quite a name for themselves.

Specializing in soul, funk and R ‘n’ B, they also do a fair share of pop and rock too, with their repertoire ranging from Stevie Wonder to Tower of Power and Jimmy Hendricks.
Although counting just nine months together as a band, individually the band members each have quite a colourful musical history.

With Shafi being the rock influence, Shiraaz the jazz, Kevin the soul and Avrille mainly doing alternate music, the band has quite a good fusion of music and varied voices that can successfully perform any type of song. They each do their bit on vocals depending on the song.

Coming from a musical background, Kevin (with dreadlocks) switches between lead and bass guitar, whilst also doing vocals. Since his mother (his greatest musical influence) and sister (Corinne) also sing, and his grandfather (Clarence Lord) was a popular pianist in his day, Kevin has many musical mentors close to home. Musically inclined from a young age, this was the likely choice of profession for Kevin and he seems to be enjoying every minute of it.

Having been on the musical scene for about 10 years now, Shafi’s most recent stint was with ‘Wild Fire’. He has also been a part of Purple Rain, Dream Team, Pro-Arrangement and many other bands along the way. Essentially a guitarist, he started singing proper only when he was in ‘Wild Fire’. Asked how he got hooked on rock, he said, “In the past I used to listen to a lot of ‘angry’ music.” After starting off his music career at his alma mater, St. Peter’s College, he got more and more drawn into it over the years.

Avrille, Sri Lanka’s first female bass guitarist has spent over 10 years in Switzerland, singing with various bands, mainly a band called ‘Live’. She favours songs by Alanis Morrisette and Sheryl Crowe.

Shiraaz, who contributes on drums, last played with Noeline and Galaxy, Pro-Arrangement and Contra-band (a band which mostly played Latin American music). Jazz was always his musical preference. He says that not only do they sing but they also try to do a little show out of each number and just groove together, always listening to each other and trying to coordinate with each other.

They take each one’s ideas and influences and put them together to create the perfect blend of sounds, he adds. Having played for audiences around the world, the band still feel that our local audiences are the most receptive and appreciative of their music, “because Sri Lankans really get into the music”. They are very selective about their gigs, as they want to cater to a more adult, contemporary crowd. They like experimenting with popular songs and creating unique arrangements.

The main factor that sets X-IT apart from other bands is that they are full of energy, energy that’s inevitably passed on to their audiences. “We are four very energetic individuals so you can just imagine us up on stage at one time,” they laugh.

Hoping to go on their first overseas tour to Male early next month, X-IT currently appear every Wednesday and Friday at Rhythm & Blues. They will also be at Clancy’s every Thursday starting next month. As for 31st night, you can groove with them at Havelocks.

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