The musical brothers that make up White Fort are a long, long, loooong way from home.
Now based in Moscow, Russia, Yuriy Matveyev and Artyom Yakushenko are originally from Siberia, that cold and barren — at least in our collective mind — expanse that stretches across the northern part of the Asian continent.
Speaking of which, did you know that Siberia covers nearly 10 percent of the Earth's surface, according to Wikipedia (and why would anyone cyber-lie about that)? That's crazy. I will remember that next time I am annoyed that I have to mow my postage-stamp-sized west-Bend lawn, I guess.
Anyway! Matveyev and Yakushenko met up in Irkutsk, Siberia, a town of more than half-a-million people with an appreciation for arts, music and culture. As youngsters, they studied classical music and “spent many long, dark winters with nothing to do but practice, practice, practice," says their bio. So maybe my vision of Siberia isn't too far from the truth.
But behold the power of rock 'n' roll. Eventually, the two men aged and discovered Western pop music, and, goes the bio, “soon Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles were sharing a gallon of vodka with Mozart and Tchaikovsky."
Sounds like a party!
Now, the duo is White Fort, which finds Matveyev and Yakushenko merging their elegant childhood influences with those far-out sounds from far away and turning out a high-energy and virtuosic blend of folk, rock and classical music. Matveyev plays his acoustic guitar like a madman, driving the sound with his percussive style. And Yakushenko uses his electric fiddle to build melodies that soar into the stratosphere, while at the same time retaining a certain quality that reminds you where these guys honed their chops.
White Fort has recorded a dozen albums over its 25-year career and has toured worldwide, including a stop at Bend's Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Cafe several weeks ago. On Sunday, they'll return to the shop to supercharge your weekend with more sound than you'd expect out of a duo. As their bio quotes an MTV producer: “These two guys do what it takes Dave Matthews five guys to do."
Go check 'em out and buy 'em a beer, OK? Again, they're a long, long, loooong way from home.