Monday, October 26, 2015

Christmas in Siberia: White Fort and "Svyatki"

Well, we are a little early for this song, but so what? It's a pretty good song! Svyatki! is by Russian duo White Fort, also known as Two Siberians. The do consists of Artyom Yakushenko on electric violin and Yuriy Matveyev on electric guitar. Actual Siberians, they won a festival award in Novasibirsk in 1986 as best new artists, which almost got them expelled from high school. In 1997, they captured the attention of an American producer while playing for vodka shots at a Moscow photography exhibit, who casually mentioned that they should make a recording in the US. He was surprised to get a call from them at JFK airport as they seriously took him up on his offer. No major label was willing to sign them, and they embarked on a club tour of the US and then financed their own CD, engaging a number of major jazz artists on the recording. They broke up in 2009, but reunited onstage in Moscow in 2012. Not long after that performance, their song 6/8 won first place in the instrumental category of the International Songwriting Competition. The win gave them new energy, and they began performing and touring again. Though it is almost impossible to find their original recordings in the United States save their lone US release (Out of Nowhere), they did release two Anglicized versions of their Russian albums Two Kings and 6/8 in the US, and they have recorded songs in Seattle for a coming release to be announced. Svyatki!, a Christmas song, can be found on their 2012 album 6/8.