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sos-from-above-panel2017 JUNO nominees and SiriusXM winners Sultans of String create “Energetic and exciting music from a band with talent to burn!” (Maverick Magazine UK). Thrilling their audiences with their genre-hopping passport of Celtic reels, flamenco, Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms, Sultans of String celebrate musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar, while bass and percussion lay down unstoppable grooves. Acoustic strings meet with electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound, while world rhythms excite audiences to their feet with the irresistible need to dance.

Since forming 10 years ago, Sultans of String’s CDs have hit #1 across Canada on Top Ten national radio charts, and have received multiple awards and accolades, including 3 JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nominations, 1st place in the ISC (out of 15,000 entries), 3 Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus special guest recordings and sharing the stage with artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Richard Bona, Benoit Bourque (Bottine Souriante), Nikki Yanofsky, Alex Cuba, Ruben Blades, Crystal Shawanda, and Ken Whiteley.

With their new release, Subcontinental Drift, they serve up a blend of ragas, reels and rumbas with special guest, sitar master Anwar Khurshid (featured in the Oscar winning Life of Pi, Kama Sutra, and Love Guru). Sultans of String are particularly excited about this new, east-meets-west offering with Khurshid. “There is something magical about joining the world music rhythms we play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East”, says bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool. Indeed, while the album treks across all kinds of musical terrain, the fertile soil beneath each track is fed by hope unhindered and freedom found. “One of the songs we wrote together, “Journey to Freedom”, beautifully traces Anwar’s journey from Pakistan to Canada, finding his new home here.

McKhool (who has performed with Jesse Cook and Pavlo), was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in creating community through music. He grew up in a Lebanese-Egyptian (Makhoul) house bursting with music and diversity. Growing up, he was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality alongside Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons.

When McKhool first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s (Jesse Cook) rumba rhythm, their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. From this rich foundation, the dynamic duo grew, featuring such amazing musical friends as bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), jaw-dropping Cuban percussionist Rosendo Chendy Leon (Alex Cuba, Parachute Club), guitarist Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), as well as special guests such as The Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney, Anwar Khurshid, oud player Bassam Bishara, and more!

The band’s US manager and acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez) states, “Over the decades, I’ve worked with numerous top ten and #1 Billboard artists. In all that time, I have not worked with composers more talented than Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté from Sultans of String. Not only are they a superb writing team, they are also amazing arrangers & musicians. Adding the virtuosic talent of Anwar Khurshid adds to their truly global and mesmerizing sound!”

Sultans of String have been criss-crossing North America for the last several years. Equally at home in a concert series, folk or jazz club, or festival setting, they have been featured at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, legendary jazz club Birdland in NYC, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival in the UK, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Stratford, Ontario and Niagara Symphony Orchestras, as well with Kingsfield POPS in Maine. Sultans of String also perform for Youth, and perform Pops, Christmas and Family/Education shows with symphonies. Sultans of String were recently filmed by MPBN’s Maine Arts! in a feature concert, and performed live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, World Cafe, and on SiriusXM in Washington.

“Virtuoso playing…. An exuberant and infectious sound… Powerful and moving…The Sultans are simply an awesome musical group!” – Mike Hill, Artistic Director, Mariposa Folk Festival

“They are players without borders… world music that transcends place and time with a heavy dose of playfulness added in.” – The Vancouver Province

“Chris McKhool and the boys were fantastic!  They can play my Bar Mitzvah.” – Bob Ezrin, producer (Pink Floyd, Kiss)

“Simply brilliant!” – Jeff Mifsud, 3NRG 99.3FM, Australia

Nominations and awards

  • 2017 JUNO Award Nominees – World Music Album of the Year- SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT
  • 2017 American Billboard World Music Charts – SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT CD hits #15
  • 2016 Canadian Folk Music Award – World Group of the Year- SUBCONTINENTAL DRIFT
  • 2016 Global Music Awards– World Music / Beats
  • 2015 JUNO Award Nominees for “Instrumental Album of the Year” – Symphony!
  • 2015 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) – Subcontinental Drift
  • 2015 Toronto Independent Music Award Winner – World Music
  • 2014 SIRIUSXM Independent Music Awards Winner- World Group of the Year
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental Song – “Josie”
  • 2014 IMA Independent Music Vox Pop Award – Music Producer – Symphony! -Chris McKhool (Producer), Rebecca Pellett (Associate Producer)
  • 2013 ISC  International Songwriting Competition- Instrumental category – “Monti’s Revenge”
  • 2013 Folk Music Ontario- Songs of the Heart Winner – Instrumental category – “Monti’s Revenge”
  • 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year
  • 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader Chris McKhool
  • 2013 SiriusXM Canadian Indie Awards Nominee for World Group of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees – Instrumental Group of the Year & Pushing The Boundaries
  • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Award nominee- Producer of the Year for Chris McKhool
  • 2012 OCFF Songs of the Heart Winner
  • 2012 Festivals & Events- Entertainer of The Year
  • 2011 Ontario Contact – Artist of the Year
  • 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental
  • 2011 Independent Music Award 2x Finalist – Instrumental Album & World Beat Album – Yalla Yalla!
  • 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition 2x Finalist-  Instrumental & World Music categories
  • 2010 JUNO Award Nominees for “Instrumental Album of the Year” – Yalla Yalla!
  • 2010 Canadian Independent Music Awards nominees- Favourite World Artist/Group
  • 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place Winners – Instrumental
  • 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year (also nominated for Ensemble of the Year and
  • Pushing the Boundries)
  • 2009 Toronto Exclusive Magazine Award 2x Winner- Best Toronto World CD & Artist of the Year
  • 2008 International Songwriting Competition Winner (ISC) – Instrumental
  • 2008 Festivals & Events Ontario- Best Variety Act
  • 2008 Canadian Independent Music Awards Finalists- Favourite World Music Band
  • 2008 International Independent Music Awards Finalists- Best World Fusion Song
  • 2007 Canadian Folk Music Award nominees – Best Instrumentalist Group

DIE 21663_1HMONPCKT_1TRYWith their new release, Subcontinental Drift, the Sultans serve up a blend of ragas, reels and rumbas with special guest and sitar master Anwar Khurshid (featured in the Oscar winning Life of Pi, Kama Sutra, and Love Guru). Sultans of String are particularly excited about this new, east-meets-west offering with Khurshid. “There is something magical about joining the world music rhythms we play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East”, says bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool. Indeed, while the album treks across all kinds of musical terrain, the fertile soil beneath each track is fed by hope unhindered and freedom found. “One of the songs we wrote together, “Journey to Freedom”, beautifully traces Anwar’s journey from Pakistan to Canada, finding his new home here.

The band’s US manager and acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez) states, “Over the decades, I’ve worked with numerous top ten and #1 Billboard artists. In all that time, I have not worked with composers more talented than Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté from Sultans of String. Not only are they a superb writing team, they are also amazing arrangers & musicians. Adding the virtuosic talent of Anwar Khurshid adds to their truly global and mesmerizing sound!”

 

sultans-of-string-duo-temple-jamming

 The songwriting, the sounds, the magic

Chris McKhool (violin) and Kevin Laliberté (guitar), the songwriters behind the music, take you on a musical journey around the world!

McKhool met Laliberté just as the guitarist was coming off the road from touring around the world with Jesse Cook and cross Canada with The Chieftains. When McKhool (who has performed with Jesse Cook, Pavlo, Club Django) first heard guitarist Laliberté’s rumba rhythm their musical mind-meld created Sultans of String’s sound – the intimate and playful relationship between the violin and the flamenco guitar.  Acoustic strings meet with electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound, creating soundscapes that seem impossible to be coming from just two people.

Larger than the sum of its parts, this 2x JUNO Award nominated, 3x CFMA Award winning dynamic duo take you on a journey to hear the horses of Sable Island, underwater to hear the calls of Luna the Whale, and on the silk road through Spain and the Middle East, through the Gypsy-jazz cafés of Eastern Europe, and then back to Canada for a trip to the majestic Arctic.

“Thrill of improvising makes Sultans a thrill to experience… gripping suspense for both the audience and the musicians… Superb!” – Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal

“Kevin and Chris are two extremely talented and creative musicians. Each of them have an extensive background in various traditions and numerous musical accomplishments to their credit. Their own compositions are … exciting and highly original. They are musicians and songwriters of the highest calibre!” – Ken Whiteley, Producer

“Virtuoso playing…. An exuberant and infectious sound… Powerful and moving… The Sultans are simply an awesome musical group!” – Mike Hill, Artistic Director, Mariposa Folk Festival

“An organic mix of rumba, Gypsy, jazz, Middle Eastern and Spanish flavours – they all mix together beautifully… brilliantly executed!” – Errol Nazareth, CBC Radio One

“I remember the shiver up my spine on hearing the calls of Luna- the west coast killer whale searching for his pod- amazingly recreated on Chris’ electric violin. Haunting, moving and not to be missed!” – Charles McFarland, Artistic Producer, Centrepointe Theatre

sultans_of_string_album_cover_lo_res2015 JUNO Award Nominees and “Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” Sultans of String thrill their audiences with their global sonic tapestry of Spanish Flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, foot-stomping Celtic, and French Gypsy-jazz in a celebration of musical fusion and human creativity infused with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Acoustic mastery meets with a symphony of sound, deepened by world rhythms that inspire whole audiences to get up and dance.

Discover a Symphony of World Music

Sultans of String’s Pops show was developed under the direction of luminary John Morris Russell, (Conductor-Cincinnati Pops Orchestra), and was scored by illustrious arranger/composer Rebecca Pellett (Toronto Symphony Orchestra, IMAX & Hollywood film productions). The show runs up to two hours including song introductions/storytelling, and the instrumentation is 2222 (no doubling), 4331, timp + 2 perc, optional harp and orchestral strings. A full library of ready-to-play, bowed parts is available. No music need be rented.

Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their CDs hitting #1 on world/international music charts in North America, to their nine Canadian Folk Music Award nominations, winning Instrumental Group of the Year and World Group of the Year twice. They also took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition out of 15,000 entries! The band has been recorded live for broadcast on BBC Television, SiriusXM in Washington DC, CBC’s Canada Live, and has topped global campus/community radio charts.

A Canadian string super-group, Sultans of String includes 6-string violinist and JUNO Award nominee Chris McKhool – who has guest starred with Jesse Cook and Pavlo. McKhool’s unbridled passion for exploring rhythms and melodies has led him to the far corners of the world, and he incorporates instruments and styles from far and wide into his music. Drawing from a collective of master musicians, Sultans of String brings their unique blend of Global music to audiences around the world including Celtic Connections Festival in the U.K., Birdland Jazz Club in NYC, Canada’s National Arts Centre, Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre, and symphony orchestras throughout North America.

They are also available for family concerts, as well as educational concerts developed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Sultans of String performed a triumphant run at Roy Thompson Hall, playing 8 shows with the TSO.

Listen

Downloads


Sultans of String Christmas Caravan!

SOS_Christmas Fiesta pic smallerAlso available is Christmas Caravan!, a world music romp through the holiday season.

Celebrate the Christmas season with a trip around the world! 2015 JUNO Award-nominees Sultans of String deliver an exuberant performance featuring originals, world music inspired classics, and seasonal favourites to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night.  From fiery fiddle tunes to a Caribbean sleigh ride, this surprising and delightful holiday fiesta heats up when the Sultans of String bring their signature sound to well known favourites such as Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Huron Carol, Little Drummer Boy, Carol of the Bells, Feliz Navidad, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

This show was created in collaboration with Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador Lucas Waldin, who combines a flare for pops with a passion for audience engagement and innovative programming.  http://www.lucaswaldin.ca

Le concert des Sultans of String est également disponible en français.

“I had so much fun working with Sultans of String.  They bring their great talents, fantastic orchestral arrangements and an abundance of energy on stage. There is something for everybody here!’ – Shalom Bard, RBC Resident Conductor, Toronto Symphony Orchestra

“Sultans of String have an infectious energy and an enviable talent that allows them to slide easily between styles and genres.  Combining with top quality orchestral arrangements and a stylish, easy-going onstage presence, the Sultans have found a recipe for success!” – Lucas Waldin, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra


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“Sultans of String were a huge success! The Sultans’ sound is fresh, exotic and entrancing, and the orchestral arrangements are absolutely first class.  They also had a great time with the audience who were mesmerized and ecstatic throughout the show. Each of the Sultans are virtuosic soloists and as an ensemble are one of the tightest groups I’ve ever worked with!” – Maestro John Morris Russell, Conductor-Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

“I absolutely love your material!  The arrangements, orchestration and performances are all spectacular!” – Lucas Richman, Music Director & Conductor, Bangor Symphony Orchestra

“Take Chris McKhool’s Sultans of String and add the power of a full symphony orchestra – what do you get?   One great big world-music Kitchen Party!  This rollicking concert bursts onto the stage with infectious charm, outstanding musicianship and a genuine connection with the audience!” – Candice Turner-Smith – Niagara Symphony Orchestra

“Fantastic program… a smash success with a near sellout crowd and almost every audience member stopping to share their gratitude and appreciation for both the music and the energy of the band.  The success was magnified with the Fiddlefire! program the next day.  We were astonished at the turnout and the audiences reaction. We found that Chris’ Fiddlefire! program worked beautifully with the whole orchestra bringing a fun and educational concert to our community.  The band members are consummate musicians and very easy to work worth.  In addition, the charts have been expertly conceived.  Our entire ensemble was smiling through the rehearsals and right to the very last note.  I would highly recommend this program for your series as it was a critical win for the SOTK and our ongoing efforts to keep a Symphony Orchestra alive in the interior of BC.” – Jeff Faragher, Music and Artistic Director, Symphony of the Kootenays

“I had the pleasure of hearing the Sultans of Strings perform with the Toronto Symphony in April, 2013.  It was terrific, and included everything I look for… the Orchestra had many opportunities to shine, the Sultans provided engaging/entertaining world music elements… I look forward to presenting Sultans with the Minnesota Orchestra!”  – Jim Bartsch – Minnesota Orchestra

“Sultans of String have created an exciting sound world that is completely their own. They have mastered the perfect balance of spontaneity and virtuosity that makes for an energetic, tight and entertaining show!” – Olga Mychajluk, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony

“I was impressed by the virtuoso musicianship displayed by all of the members of this group. The orchestrations were sumptuous, providing a lush background to the captivating performance of Chris and his colleagues. The audience was brought to its feet at the end of the show, demonstrating that they really enjoyed a truly Canadian musical experience!” – Maestro Norman Reintamm, Conductor CBSO

“You were amazing! We are continuing to  receive wonderful feedback from our patrons, many of whom are asking to have you back!” – Shelley Sharpe, Windsor Symphony Orchestra

“The show was just wonderful — a friend (who has lived hither and yon and seen lots of great music in his life) said it was the best concert he’d ever seen in his life. Wow!” – Deborah Sutton Robie, Executive Director, Kingfield POPS!, Maine

“The incredible blending of musical influences, steeped in stories of real Canadians, portrayed the diversity of Canadian life in all its glorious wonder as only an eclectic group of professionals like Sultans of String can deliver!”  – Laura Vaillancourt, Executive Director, Ontario Philharmonic

“The Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Sultans of String presented a fast-paced, energetic and engaging program… remarkable for its eclectic, rich programming that represented music of many different cultures. Bravo!”  – Allan Gaskin, Symphony Nova Scotia

“Thanks so much for the beautiful music. Your group is terrific- outstanding!” – Kathy Coltof, Ontario Philharmonic

“Your music is contagious and our audience loved it!  Working with all of you was a joy–professional, a great variety of musical styles, wonderful arrangements that were accessible for our audience and the orchestra loved them, exciting and colourful performances. A real treat to work with a group of talented, down-to-earth musicians. Can’t wait to do it again!” – John Kraus, Music Director, Northumberland Orchestra & Choir

sultans-of-string-smaller-symphony-recording-sessionSome of the symphonies we have played with

  • Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
  • Bangor Symphony Orchestra (Maine)
  • Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra
  • Chicago’s Full Score Chamber Orchestra
  • Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
  • Kamloops Symphony Orchestra
  • Kitchener- Waterloo Symphony
  • Niagara Symphony Orchestra
  • North Bay Symphony
  • Northumberland Orchestra and Choir
  • Ontario Philharmonic
  • Peterborough Symphony Orchestra
  • Sault Symphony Orchestra
  • Stratford Symphony Orchestra
  • Symphony of the Kootenays
  • Sudbury Symphony Orchestra
  • Toronto Symphony Orchestra
  • Windsor Symphony Orchestra
  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

 

Celebrate the season with Sultans of String!

christmas_caravan-w-title

 

Celebrate the season with an adventurous musical trip around the world! 2015 JUNO Award nominees Sultans of String deliver an exuberant performance featuring originals, world-music inspired classics, and seasonal favourites to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night.

From fiery fiddle tunes to a Caribbean sleigh ride, this surprising and delightful holiday fiesta heats up when Sultans of String bring their signature sound to well known gems such as Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, The Huron Carol (with gorgeous newly-translated Indigenous lyrics), Little Drummer Boy, a Feliz Navidad ska party, a Turkish twist on Greensleeves, A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as a Gypsy-jazz inspired Django Christmas, and a Rumba-Flamenca fuelled Jingle Bells. Sultans of String are joined by shimmering guest vocalist Rebecca Campbell (Jane Siberry, Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette).

Since forming 10 years ago, Sultans of String have hit #1 across Canada on Top 10 national radio charts, and received multiple awards and accolades, including 2 JUNO Award nominations  (Canada’s Grammy), 1st place in the ISC (15,000 entries), and 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards out of 8 nominations. Bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool was recently awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in creating community through music.

When McKhool  (who has performed with Jesse Cook and Pavlo), first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s (Jesse Cook) rumba rhythm, their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. From this rich foundation, the dynamic duo grew, featuring such amazing musical friends bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), jaw-dropping Cuban percussionist Rosendo Chendy Leon (Parachute Club, Alex Cuba), and guitarist Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels).

Sultans of String have been crisscrossing North America for the last several years. Equally at home in a concert series, folk or jazz club, or festival setting, they have been featured at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, legendary jazz club Birdland in NYC, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival in the UK, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. Sultans of String have performed live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, and on SiriusXM in Washington DC.

FiddleFireCover

Hailed as a “Children’s musical star” (National Post) and “Canada’s greatest eco-troubadour for young people”, bandleader Chris McKhool is one of Canada’s greatest musicians for young audiences. McKhool has reached over 1 million children live in concert, winning 3 USA Parents’ Choice Awards, 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards and a JUNO Award nomination. He also won Best Children’s Entertainer at the Festivals & Events Ontario Awards, a Green Toronto Award of Excellence, an Environment Canada Action Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his commitment to multicultural and environmental issues through music. He also created the World’s Largest Bicycle Bell Ensemble in Canada!  McKhool performs solo as well as with Sultans of String for young audiences.

Sultans of String have been called “the very epitome of world music: no boundaries, no rules”. Individually, they’ve performed with internationally acclaimed artists such as Jesse Cook, Pavlo, The Chieftains and Chantal Kreviazuk. Together, they combine Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, East Coast Celtic, Cuban rhythms and Gypsy-jazz. They have played for BBC Television, Irish National Radio and SiriusXM in Washington. They recently entertained a sold-out audience at Koerner Hall, accompanied by a full symphony orchestra. From CBC’s Canada Live to Birdland Jazz Club in NYC, to Roy Thompson Hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, they’ve done it all!

Read more about workshops and educational options on the Prologue to the Performing Arts website.

 

Sultans of String School Shows

Chris McKhool School Shows