(l-r) Kevin, Avrille, Shafi and Shiraaz Pic by Ishara Kodikara
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.