The Sultans of String
Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 2:30pm
Gravenhurst Opera House
The Sultans of String have been thrilling audiences with their genre-hopping music from Celtic reels to flamenco, to gypsy jazz and international rhythms. They bring fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar, while bass and percussion lay down unstoppable grooves. Maverick Magazine says they are a band with “talent to burn.”
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.
The Sultans of String
Internationally awarded and honoured Canadian quintet SULTANS OF STRING collaborate with over 30 musicians on epic treatise on displaced peoples, REFUGE
Featuring special guests Anwar Khurshid – PAKISTAN / CAN, Demetrios Petsalakis – GREECE / CAN, Majd Sekkar – SYRIA / CAN
Addressing the struggles of life has always inspired Toronto-based and Billboard charting quintet, Sultans of String. On their visionary seventh album, REFUGE, they bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on 13 songs that speak to the challenges facing the world’s displaced peoples–their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.
Joined by an international cast of refugees and immigrants to North America, the celebrated quintet immerse themselves in the plight of the international refugee on REFUGE, and the humanitarian response that should greet everyone in search of safety and home.
“This is a project that is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to Canada and the United States,” says bandleader Chris McKhool, whose Lebanese grandfather stowed away on a ship bound for North America a century ago. “We are bringing in special guests that are newcomers to this land, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. We wish to celebrate the successes of those who make the journey here, and bring their extraordinary talents with them. We hope that the kinds of conversations we can have as musicians can provide a model for peace that our politicians and citizens find inspiration from.”
REFUGE reflects its theme of working together for a common goal and sharing extraordinary voices and stories — like Iraqi violinist Imad Al Taha, now living in Ohio, whose house was destroyed by a grenade because he played violin for the wrong faction in Iraq. Or Iranian santur master, Amir Amiri whose wrist was broken by thugs in Iran for playing “illegal scales” on his instrument. Or Iraqi actor and singer, Ahmeh Moneka, unable to return home after receiving death threats for portraying a gay man in a film.
Since releasing their debut album Luna in 2007, Sultans of String have continually strived to make each chart-topping album more original and meaningful than the last. That includes working with an orchestra (2013’s Symphony), teaming with Pakistani sitarist Anwar Khurshid (2015’s Subcontinental Drift) and even crafting a world-music holiday album (2017’s Christmas Caravan), which landed them on the Billboard charts and the New York Times. Their ambition and work ethic have garnered them multiple awards and accolades, including three JUNO nominations, first place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries), three Canadian Folk Music Awards, and countless other honours.
Their live resumé is similarly stellar. Equally at home in a concert hall, jazz club or festival setting, the Sultans have gigged at JUNOfest, Koerner Hall, the legendary club Birdland in New York, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival and London’s Trafalgar Square. They have sold out Koerner Hall three times (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. They have performed with symphonies across Canada and the U.S., and played live on CBC’s Canada Live, BBC Radio, BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the syndicated World Café, Woodsongs, and SiriusXM in Washington.
Sultans of String are fundraising partners with the UNHCR, which provides medical supplies, clean water, and shelter to some of the 70 million displaced people around the globe. The band will also be donating a dollar from each CD sold. To date, they have raised $8000 for the Refugee Agency.
There will be donation boxes and information about the critical work UNHCR does at every event. https://fundraise.unhcr.ca/fundraiser/1738374
Tour Dates: https://sultansofstring.com/calendar
Video – Backstory about REFUGE: