Soler-powered world

Soler-powered world

Inspired by a tween, musicians prove they are more than just pretty faces

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Twins Julio Acconci (left) and Dino Acconci of Soler say there are many dimensions to what they do.
Twins Julio Acconci (left) and Dino Acconci of Soler say there are many dimensions to what they do.
Photo: Thomas Yau/SCMP
You know them primarily for their soulful music and exotic looks, but there's more to Soler than just a pair of pretty faces. Yes, twins Julio and Dino Acconci have carved a name for themselves as the non-Chinese-looking duo who speak and sing in perfect Cantonese. But that's not all.

Soler are more than just a band. They've branched out to form the Soler brand or, to be more precise, the "Soler World".

"We, together, separately or with other people, form different expressions of Soler," says Julio, the elder by about 11/2 hours. "If we're teaching cooking, that's one aspect of Soler. If we teach music, that's another thing ... performing and acting are others."

Lately, however, they're bent on giving back and making the world a better place - through art. More specifically, they hope to equip youngsters with the tools to express themselves through creativity.

"The more people out there who are willing to be creative, the better society will be," explains Dino. "How can I share my expression of love? For me, it's sharing what I know - music."

Soler developed a special bond with 12-year-old Tsai Chun-yu, son of Taiwanese director Tsai Yueh-hsun, while shooting their latest film Black & White Episode I: The Dawn of Assault, in which the brothers play a pair of baddies. The film is showing now.


A scene from the movie Black & White Episode I: The Dawn of Assault. Photo: Deja Senti Photo

The twins noticed Chun-yu's uncanny ability to listen to a song once and be able to play the drum sections. So they brought him to Hong Kong, staying at Julio's, and showed him the life of a musician in Soler World.

The outcome, after many jam sessions and a performance in front of a small number of fans and family, was a revelation: "It would be wrong to say he learned from us," explains Dino. "In fact, we learned more from him. He would sit down the night before and say, 'Tomorrow I want to do this'. He's 12 and he's achieving a lot in one day. I looked at myself and thought: there's so much more we can do."

Other aspects of the Soler World include possible directing stints, books and even education. Yesterday, they held a music workshop for youngsters in Macau, with plans to do the same in Hong Kong.

Born to an Italian father and Burmese mother, and raised mainly in Macau, the guys already have a strong foothold in the Chinese music scene. Now they aim to broaden their appeal by using their local success elsewhere. "We're not disappearing from the Chinese music scene, we're just trying something different here," adds Julio. "You're definitely going to see more of us in more expressions."

As Dino explains, the band "aspire to the idea of the modern renaissance man," citing Leonardo da Vinci as the ultimate incarnation.

Julio adds: "It does help that we are partly from [da Vinci's birthplace] Tuscany".

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