Aidin Vaziri | Ewert Sundja, who leads the Estonian indie-folk band Ewert and the Two Dragons, didn’t get to listen to much contemporary pop music when he was a kid. With his native country under the rule of the Soviet Union, it was strictly forbidden.
Still, through a network of friends who feverishly exchanged bootlegged cassette tapes in the capital city of Tallinn, he was able to get his hands on a few things that mattered: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Queen and a bit of Elton John.
“It definitely filtered a lot for us,” Sundja says. The limited musical diet meant that the scruffy blond singer and his future band mates only heard the stuff that justified the effort. It also meant that when it came time to composing their own material, they aspired to nothing less than greatness.
You can hear the influence the classics had on the group’s breakthrough second album, “Good Man Down.” With its big melodies and warm, pastoral sounds, the 2011 release has earned the group widespread popularity throughout the Baltics, placing them on several major music festival bills and earning five honors at last year’s Estonian Music Awards, including band of the year and album of the year.