Born in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the United States and nominated for a Grammy at age 21 for his work on the multi-platinum Fugees album The Score, John Forté’s life has brought triumphs and adversity the likes of which few people have known. Forté was educated at the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy and then NYU, before his life changed dramatically in 2001 when he was convicted of drug possession and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. But in 2008 Forté’s prison sentence was remarkably commuted and he was given a second chance to share his talents with the world.
As much an inspirational concert tour as it is a personal journey, The Russian Winter follows Forté and his band for three months to Moscow and beyond, where they collaborate with local musicians, perform for a host of unlikely audiences, and learn various ways to communicate with a foreign world. As for Forté, the trip may have begun with the goal of sharing music, but in the end it is just as much about hearing and learning from the music of others. –Paige Blake