On a cool Monday evening at the Old Crow Community Hall, up-and-coming country musicians Carli and Julie Kennedy played the last show of their first Yukon tour. The twin sisters were here courtesy of Home Routes, a Winnipeg-based company that arranges tours for folk-based musicians to venues and homes around Canada.
Having spent nearly two weeks on tour in the Yukon , you would think the duo would show signs of fatigue. If so , they hid it well .
In Old Crow they spent time with the students at the Chief Zzeh Gittlit School , and members of the community; they even have a sit down sing-along with the children before their concert .
It’s obvious the musicians are enamoured with the Yukon:
“ Everyone in the North is so warm and welcoming,” says Julie. “There’s a lot of support and appreciation.”
Carli added, “I didn’t expect a lot of the hosts would show us around the community . ”
No wonder Yukoners took them in; Carli and Julie are easy to like.
They exude a quiet confidence and passion about their music .
Originally from Powell River, B.C., music was in their blood. They began playing piano at five , followed by violin and guitar a few years later. They cut their teeth performing with family at festivals, fairs , and local events. The twins’ love of music eventually led them to enrol in , and receive , their music performance bachelors at the University of Victoria .
Today the sisters blend their classical and country talents, creating a fresh performance for their fans .
“ We’re country artists, but we always want to include our classical roots; we had a few songs that are classical to country and our shows are 95 per cent our own,” says Carli. “Our classical stuff comes in and one of our fans will go , ‘Oh. That’s cool . ’ It broadens their horizons, and creates something that’s fun and memorable for all ages . ”
On this tour, the twins performed in Watson Lake, Craig Lake, Atlin B.C . , Whitehorse, Dawson, Mayo , and Old Crow. Many venues were ‘home shows’, and the twins met Yukoners personally.
“ With house concerts, you’re in smaller place; you can meet one on one,” says Julie. “We’ve been playing a lot of festivals and intimate venues. It’s exceptional in the Yukon . ”
“ We used to have all these family nights, so playing in your living room feels like home,” adds Carli. “Everyone who comes is so supportive — how can you not have a fun night?”
The twins would love to perform in one of the Yukon’s many music festivals. For future fans of their energetic music , they say this:
“ There’s nothing made up in our show, we’re going to have funny and heartfelt moments. Look at artists who are largely successful — they are singing songs , many of which they wrote — they are 100 per cent real. We’re lucky to be getting to do what we want to do , and our family is very supportive. We have a fan base that keeps us going and it invigorates you.”
Carli and Julie Kennedy’s first single comes out this January , followed by an album in March and an across Canada release tour. For more information about the twins’ unique style, music , and tour dates check out cjkennedy.com.
Carli and Julie Kennedy hang with some youth from Old Crow Photo: Jason Westover