Busy trying to locate a grocery store that sells spam for her evening meal, Mourne Kransky answered my phone call.
She and sisters Eve and Dawn are currently touring A Very Kransky Christmas, which is marketed as a Yuletide celebration like no other. Often referred to as the Antipodean cousins of the Addams family, it isn’t difficult to imagine why.
According to Mourne, the Kransky’s festivities were a clandestine affair for decades, but the peculiar musical sisters have been traversing the country—from the Alex Theatre in Victoria, to the Sydney Opera House—and sharing themselves with Australia.
Mourne ducked out of the rambling streets of Sydney spam-less into a theatre to divulge a colourful family history, her musical inspirations, what audiences can expect of their show, what they’ve planned for the holidays and the new year, and offered an abundance of advice about smoking, boys and life.
The Kransky’s are from Esk, Queensland—a town that Mourne describes in her lilting voice as lovely, before detailing a mysterious street there that goes nowhere.
But it is here that the Kransky’s rapidly developing celebrity status begins.
Mourne relays the difficulties they faced in Esk, including an affair and a fourth sister that abandoned them over pork chops.
“I had to look after everyone at about age 16 because our mother left with Dawn’s father,” she says.
Mourn clarifies that while she and Eve share a father, their mother had Dawn and Arva—the fourth Kransky sister—to another man.
“[Eve and Arva’s] father is our father’s brother, you see. So, our mother left with their father. So, I had to care for the whole family—working at an egg farm to support us.”
This transitional period was difficult for each of the Kransky sisters.
According to Mourne, Dawn hasn’t spoken since their mother left, and Eve’s mind was inexplicably affected by the traumatic experience.
“[Eve] lives somewhere between yesterday’s breakfast and today’s lunch, so to speak,” Mourne says wistfully, “So, I have to help her”.
“She got a job at the local fashion house, you know—but only for a day because she changed the wrong money. I’m still paying it off actually”.
Unfortunately, the fourth Kransky sister left for other musical ventures:
“Arva left years ago to work with the Hornbell Military Marching Band. She was happier [there] because she got six chops for breakfast,” Mourne says, before pausing and adding that Arva is a “big eater”.
Regardless, their shared love for music ties them together—which Mourne credits her parents for. Her mother listened to the wireless frequently, and Mourne’s father played the violin. Mourne describes her father as a “talented musician”. Apparently, when Eve was a girl, he gifted her his violin bow and a saw—because he was making cabinets—which was the terminus a quo of her musical saw career.
But it was a neighbour in Esk that discovered the sisters’ talents; while playing a Michael Jackson number, a friend of their fathers heard them from the street.
“He was walking past with his Rottweiler, and he stopped because the dog was having a poo on our lawn; he heard us playing a version of Thriller and he came to the house and asked if we would be able to play at the local RSL club. So, we did—and from there he started to get us jobs all over the place.”
All over the world, in fact. Mourne says that the sisters have had the pleasure of charming audiences in London’s Leicester Square Theatre, right across Europe in countries like Sweden and Portugal, and across Asia.
Their eclectic taste in music ensures that there’s something for everyone. Mourne says that they’ll be singing Daft Punk, Sia, Gotye, Lady Gaga, Outkast, Nana Mouskouri, June Carter-Cash, Steppenwolf and Abba—along with “songs by Santa himself”.
“A very wide variety, yes; but we have different tastes because sometimes songs make you think of things you need to remember, and sometimes they help you forget the things you want to forget. It touches ones’ emotions,” she explains.
This selection of music is accompanied by an array of instruments. With Eve on the saw, Dawn on the tuba, and Mourne on the guitar, the sisters also make use of a number of household items—which began with a fateful evening of toilet scrubbing.
“Eve was cleaning the toilet, and a tune was playing on the wireless—I think it was Single Bed or something like that—and I heard the shooshing and scrubbing of the brush and I thought, what a good sound,” she explains. “So, I said to Eve ‘wash it up and let’s take it on tour with us’.”
After that, Mourne went into the kitchen and started experimenting with other items. From there, they adopted the kitchen pot, a rice shaker, a cheese grater, and a blender—but Mourne informs me that they had to part ways with the blender as a safety precaution, since it short-circuited a theatre they were performing in on one occasion.
Besides their musical ingenuity, the sisters will be sharing their stories.
“Things that have happened to us,” Mourne says, “Things we’ve experienced.”
“We’re [also] bringing our most treasured items to show you—the bones and portraits of our loved ones,” Mourne adds sweetly.
“Christmas is a good time for anecdotes and to share some advice. For example, our mother had a good remedy for a cold: kerosene and sugar.”
Mourne has other tidbits of advice to offer ahead of their next show. If you need to quit smoking, an all-day sucker or Chupa Chup should do the trick. Never express favouritism with family members because someone will get their nose out of joint. If you’re having boy-trouble, fret not—it wasn’t meant to be.
With such magnanimous wisdom, it is unsurprising that Mourne describes herself as the “guiding force” of her family, but admits that it doesn’t prevent discord—especially when you’re on the road with them.
“Let’s just say that, blood is thicker than water, but nobody likes a glass of blood when they’re thirsty, do they?”
But they have learnt how to manage each other, they enjoy performing together, and look forward to sharing their music and their stories with audiences in Western Australia.
After their tour, the sisters are going back to Esk, tending to their garden, taking care of Mrs Boils’ ferrets and Mrs Winks’ lama, and making Christmas treats.
“And we’ll probably tie three ribbons around our hills hoist [clothesline] and do a little maypole dance,” Mourne says.
After this, the sisters are planning a variety of tours in 2019—including another run of their Christmas celebration.
The recipients of several awards already, it seems the Kranskys are set to become a household name to rival the Kardashians.
A few “sweeties”, “darlings” and “dears” later, and Mourne hangs up to, assumedly, locate a can of spam; but not before offering a final piece of advice:
“It’s easier to go backwards, harder to go forwards, but supporting yourself is what matters because that’s when good things come!”
Advice aside, it seems the Kransky sisters—with their polka-dot blouses, received pronunciation, and severe black bangs—are not to be missed, or easily forgotten.