Sultans Of String

The 2017 JUNO nominees, SiriusXM winners Sultans of String produce “Energetic music from a band that has talent to burn!” (Maverick Magazine UK). Sultans of String delight their audience with their eclectic mix of flamenco, Gypsy jazz, Arabic, Cuban and South Asian rhythms. Fiery violin dances to rumbaflamenco guitar while bass and drums create unstoppable beats. Electronic wizardry and acoustic strings combine to create depth and layers of sound. World rhythms are infectiously addictive, and audiences can’t stop dancing to the beats of world rhythms. Sultans of String was formed 10 years ago. Their CDs have reached #1 on Canada’s Top Ten radio charts. They have also received numerous awards and accolades including 3 JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nominations, 1st Place in the ISC (out of 15,000 submissions), 3 Canadian Folk Music Awards and special guest recordings. Subcontinental Drift was their fifth album. Special guest Anwar Khurshid, sitar master, joined them for a mix of reels, ragas and rumbas. He is also featured in the Oscar-winning Life of Pi, Kama Sutra and Love Guru. The east-meets–west project with Khurshid is a big deal for the Sultans of String. Chris McKhool, the bandleader, says that there is something magical about combining the world music rhythms with pop sensibilities, forms, and lengths and blending them with the music from the East. Although the album covers a wide range of musical terrains, the fertile soil beneath each song is nourished by unrestricted hope and the pursuit of freedom. “Journey to Freedom”, one of the songs we co-wrote, beautifully tracks Anwar’s journey to Canada and his new home. Sultans of String’s 6th album, Christmas Caravan is a new take on Christmas music. They inject energy and non-traditional sounds into the tradition. This is not your usual holiday album. It was recorded and co-produced by John ‘Beetle’ Bailey (JUNO Award winner). Although you may be familiar with some of the songs, this is a unique experience in seasonal music. McKhool says, “We wanted make a contribution to Christmas repertoire and hopefully create new standards.” McKhool says that although this is a seasonal album it was approached as a world-music group. We covered many genres, including Quebecois fiddle tunes and collaboration with a traditional Turkish string quartet. “Christmas Caravan” reached #6 on the BILLBOARD World Music charts the week it was released. McKhool, who has performed with Jesse Cook (and Pavlo), was presented with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his efforts to create community through music. McKhool grew up in a Lebanese Egyptian (Makhoul), home that was full of music and diversity. He was nourished with delicious music, Middle Eastern food, and lessons in violin playing as a child. McKhool heard the rumba rhythm of Kevin Laliberte (Jesse Cook), and this musical combination created Sultans Of String’s distinctive sound: the playful and intimate relationship between guitar and violin. The dynamic duo was born from this foundation. It featured such musical friends like Drew Birston (Chantal Kriviazuk), the jaw-dropping Cuban drummer Rosendo Chendy Leon, Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), and special guests such The Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains), Anwar Khurshid (Oud player Bassam Bishara) and many more. David Wilkes, the band’s US manager, is an acclaimed promoter (Bela Fleck. Emmylou Harris. Joan Baez). I have never worked with more talented composers than Chris McKhool from Sultans of String. They are not only a great writing team but also incredible arrangers.

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