Vocalist/electric violinist Xani Kolac, together with drummer Mark Leahy, comprise the unique Melbourne-based duo 'The Twoks'. This powerhouse pair of extraordinaires, have been gracing audiences since the start of the decade. Melbourne, Tasmania, Queensland, UK, Japan, The Twoks will soon be performing at: Northcote's Open Studio on June 23rd, Bellingen's (NSW) Bello Winter Music Festival between July 12-15th, returning to Japan for a week, before boomeranging back for their "It Goes a Little Something Like This" concert at the Kew Courthouse on August 11th.
Xani's passion for music composition spawned at an early age. Surrounded by dynamic influences at the Geelong Celtic Festival, and various concerts across Melbourne, Xani's eyes were firmly fixed on the ethereal folk violinist. Young Xani, also heavily immersed in music at school. For instance, singing songs every morning, plus choir practice. With an early-teenage Xani beginning to experiment using her "shitty guitar". Composing lyrics using her old cassette recorder, then dubbing, re-dubbing, and re-dubbing.
Xani's dedication includes a Masters in Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts, tending towards music theory, orchestration and arranging, and conducting. An unswerving university student awarded various scholarships. But her training also transcends the traditional, branching out to undertake lessons in Irish fiddle, violin lessons from renowned Australian jazz violinist Nigel Maclean, lessons in piano and vocal, even a short course in DJ'ing. She's done the groundwork, being an obvious understatement.
Subsequent to interviewing Xani, I began to appreciate the immense and sustained effort involved, to both launch The Twoks, and grow the band's fanbase. Not the easiest of the feats if one considers their unusual, often mind-boggling instrumental arrangement. But Xani's passion for live performance (combined with years of practice, experimentation and study), has enabled her to forge inroads nonetheless. That's not say she hasn't been there and done that, because she has. Teaming up with a multitude of well-known bands, playing for orchestras, and festivals, and even playing for film soundtracks.
Xani loves performing because it enables her to directly connect. Whether through years of experience, or product of her capacity to empathise, Xani's learnt the overriding importance of improvising; adjusting performances to suit the particular crowd and venue. Reading the room, gaining a feel for the acoustics - embracing her environment - and then tailoring her delivery. And when Xani performs, boy does she. With vibrancy and physicality that would rival a circus acrobat. But another reason Xani relishes live performance might be because she thrives on the unknown. And not just in terms of each upcoming performance, but her illustrious career as a whole.