Yukon’s Fawn FritzenPerforming LIVE KINGSTON, ON – Chalmers United Church – McCallum Hall 212 Barrie Street, Kingston Thursday, June 1, 7:00 p.m.
Excited to hit the touring road post-pandemic, three strong women, plus a pianist born on International Women’s Day, will grace some of Ontario’s as well as a Montreal stage for the long-awaited release tour of Fawn Fritzen’sHow to Say Sorryand Other Lessons. This musical tour de force fuses the singer-songwriter’s truth bombs with the harmonic richness of jazz. Co-written with Fawn’s life partner, JUNO award-winning pianist and composerDavid Restivo, the album explores themes of failure and feminism while musically ranging through swing, funk, gospel, and even a touch of reggae. Fawn and David are joined by fellow JUNO-nominated artists, bassist Lauren Falls and drummer Valérie Lacombe.
About Fawn Fritzen
Fawn Fritzen is a multilingual Yukon singer and songwriter who has lived and performed all over the country, including all three of Canada’s northern territories. She embodies Canada’s diversity with her mixed cultural roots of Chinese, French, and German, singing in her three ancestral languages as well as English.
Tim Tamashiro (former host of CBC Radio’s national jazz program Tonic) named Fawn “one of Canada’s top swingers,” and in 2014, Fawn won the Julian Award of Excellence for Emerging Jazz Artists.
A Board member of Jazz Yukon and a mentor for their “Cafe des voix” program for emerging jazz singers, Fawn also serves as a mentor for Yukon Women in Music (YWIM). She is a passionate educator, delivering workshops on learning styles, growth mindset, creativity, and neurodiversity.
About David Restivo
Touted as “simply one of the most exceptional jazz pianists of his generation” (Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal), BC-based David Restivo is a JUNO award-winning pianist and composer. Well-known for his work with Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass, the Mike Murley Quintet, and legendary songwriter Mark Jordan, David has performed and recorded with renowned artists Mel Tormé, Kenny Wheeler, and David Clayton-Thomas, to name a few. Deriving inspiration from a wide range of musical and non-musical sources, including John Coltrane, Joni Mitchell, Genesis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and J.S. Bach, David is a dedicated music educator for over 20 years, including serving on the music faculty at the University of Toronto.
About Lauren Falls
JUNO-nominated and Toronto-based Lauren Falls is a highly sought-after bassist, bandleader, and composer, having made her mark in the New York and Toronto jazz scenes for over a decade. Having toured North America and Europe extensively, Lauren has performed at the Kennedy Center, The Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival (Washington, DC), Ottawa International Jazz Festival, and Toronto Jazz Festival, to name a few. With a Master’s Degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a bachelor’s Degree from Humber College, Lauren is currently on the faculty at The University of Toronto.
About Valérie Lacombe
JUNO-nominated and Montreal-based jazz drummer Valérie Lacombe is one of the country’s most important emerging voices in straight-ahead jazz. As co-founder of the Saint-Henri Jazz Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping jazz alive in Saint-Henri, Valerie has toured throughout Canada, performed at SXSW, and all of Canada’s International Jazz Festivals including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Festi Jazz Mont-Tremblant and reputable jazz venues such as Hermann’s (Victoria), Frankie’s (Vancouver), Yardbird Suite (Edmonton) and Upstairs and Diese Onze (both, Montreal).
WHAT: Fawn Fritzen, “How To Say Sorry and Other Lessons” WHERE: Chalmers United Church – McCallum Hall | 212 Barrie Street, Kingston WHEN: Thursday, June 1, 7:00 p.m. COST: $20
Toronto-based Sultans of String continues to lead the global music world with two wins on Sunday night at the Canadian Folk Music Awards: Global Roots Album of the Year for their album Sanctuary and Producer of the Year (John “Beetle” Bailey and Chris McKhool) for the same album.
Keeping within the band’s dedication to the global music scene, this multi-award-winning, 3x Juno-nominated, and Billboard-charting band creates “energetic and exciting music from a band with talent to burn!” (Maverick, UK). For more than a decade, Sultans of String have thrilled audiences with their genre-hopping passport of Celtic reels, Flamenco, Django-jazz, Arabic, Cuban, and South Asian rhythms. The group celebrates musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity, with world rhythms that excite audiences to their feet!
NY Times and Billboard-charting world music supergroup Sultans of String released their highly anticipated eighth album, Sanctuary, on November 5, 2021. It spotlighted a brand-new focus track, “Ariengue Arianga,” featuring the four core Sultans, as well as incredibly talented and inspiring special guests Donné Roberts and Yukiko Tsutsui.
Sanctuary is the second instalment in their Refuge Project. The first, simply entitled Refuge, was heralded as “a fantastic, moving, dreamlike, epic, timely album.” (Ken Micallef–Jazz Times, Stereophile, Downbeat) and won many awards, including Producer of the Year at the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards for bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool.
“We thought ‘Ariengue Arianga’ would be the perfect focus track for the album,” says McKhool, “because it is a song that brings this incredible community of musicians together with one voice. Ariengue is an expression in Malagasy, the language of Madagascar, which means, ‘I am wishing you happiness,’ and being able to be together, creating this sound together in the same space again, certainly filled our hearts with joy!”
Donné Roberts wrote the song and plays electric guitar on the track, with lyrics that span decades. He started writing the first verse in 1984 and then finalized it in his new home of Toronto years later.
“I moved to Moscow when I was a small boy, seven years old. My father worked at the Madagascar embassy there. They opened a relationship back then, the Soviet Union and Madagascar. I was inspired by the music all around me and the experience of being displaced at a very young age. I returned to Moscow again later in life at a time when there were no computers around us. There was no internet at that time, so it was a time when you could be inspired by different sounds and never hear them again. I returned to Madagascar when I was nineteen years old.”
By the time Donné returned to Madagascar at the age of nineteen, a lot of things had changed. “Things were completely different! The image I had of my home country was pretty different from reality. So, I kept writing this song about wishing someone happiness. It is about separation, for someone has to go somewhere else, wishing them the best of luck on a long way, and a feeling of hope. Who knows, maybe we will meet again.”
Donné finally found his way to Canada’s largest city. “Toronto has a lot of talent, and variety of music—completely different kinds of music, from Japanese to South Asian to Middle Eastern to Russian, Greek, jazz, blues, Brazilian, Cuban, and the thing that fascinated and amazes me is that it is done very well! I go to see bands play, and wow, what great musicians! There is some kind of magical language with music—it doesn’t have any borders or barriers. It is at the level of feeling.”
Joining Donné on this track is Yukiko Tsutsui, who found her way from Japan to Canada, studying and working in BC before moving to Toronto. “Singing Ariengue with Donné is so much fun. Every time we play that song live, people get so excited, singing and clapping along,” says Tsutsui. “The fact that it is in Malagasy is not a barrier; the music is so uplifting and makes people so happy. It is amazing to sing that song with Donné. I feel really blessed.”
“We need this uplifting music, especially this year, and this version is such a gift for people from all over the world to get to sing together and play together. It is so moving. The music has no borders. Everything, the instruments, drums, we can feel the rhythm and the melodies. We feel good, and we feel love; that is the amazing thing about getting together to play music, feeling the strong emotional bond between players and audiences, and we are sharing a beautiful moment, and that is a very big part of the meaning for me, that people from all over the world can get together and share the music and the moment and love together.”
This ambitious, diverse, inclusive, and passionately political album puts the band face-to-face with a VIP roster of global ‘ambassadors,’ some of whom are recent immigrants and refugees to Canada, as well as important Indigenous voices. All are masters of world music that communicate with each other through the global language of music.
Addressing the struggles of life on Mother Earth has always inspired Toronto-based quintet, Sultans of String. On Sanctuary, Sultans of String bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on eleven 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, some of whom are recent immigrants to North America, the celebrated quartet immerses themselves in the plight of the international refugee on Refuge and the humanitarian response that should greet everyone in search of a home.
Bandleader Chris McKhool explains, “The larger Refuge Project is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to Canada. 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, in this case, music. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you.”
Sanctuary features seven new tracks with stellar performances by Tara and Ahmed Moneka, refugees from Iraq, Amchok Gompo, a refugee from Tibet, Syrian refugee Leen Hamo, Donné Roberts from Madagascar with partner Yukiko Tsutsui from Japan, Algeria’s Fethi Nadjem, Colombian refugee Juan Carlos Medrano, Iran’s Padideh Ahrarnejad, Nyckelharpa player Saskia Tomkins, tabla player Ravi Naimpally from India, string ensemble Gundem Yayli Grubu from Istanbul, and more.
It also includes three stunning new versions of songs off Refuge. These include an astonishingly gorgeous orchestral version of “The Power of the Land” featuring Indigenous performers Duke Redbird and Twin Flames, Turkish mega-pop star Suat Suna singing “Hurricane,” and flamenco dancer and singer Tamar Ilana singing a version of “Asi Soy” that will rip your heart out.
“The true inspiration behind this album is the incredible artists we get to collaborate with,” says McKhool. “We learn so much from these diverse voices, and each one of them is so personally inspiring. As Ahmed Moneka, an artist and refugee from Iraq, says, ‘Love is the main reason for a great future,’ and we are so privileged to be able to collaborate with so many incredible voices on this project.
And to feel the love.”
UPCOMING SULTANS OF STRING TOUR DATES APR 14 – First Presbyterian Church (Young Audience), Lincoln, NE APR 15 – First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE MAY 12 – Marble Arts Centre, Tweed ON MAY 13 – Bancroft Village Playhouse, Bancroft ON MAY 14 – Bryan Jones Theatre, Lakefield College, Lakefield, ON MAY 26 – Brockville Arts Centre, Brockville, ON JUN 24 – Mississauga World Music Festival JUN 24 – Old Church Theatre, Trenton ON JUN 27 – Wasaga Beach Gazebo, Wasaga Beach ON
SULTANS OF STRING Shine a Light on the Plight of Refugees with its Cannes World Film Festival winning Doc, Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album, at the 18th AnnualCANADIAN FOLK MUSIC AWARDS!
SAT APRIL 1, 2023 – 3:00-5:00pm (PDT) MEL LEHAN HALL – Vancouver BC
[Vancouver, BC] Global Ambassadors of Musical Diversity, SULTANS OF STRING, will shine a light on the Plight of Refugees with its Cannes World Film Festival-winning Documentary, Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album, at the 18th Annual CANADIAN FOLK MUSIC AWARDS on Sat April 1, 2023, @ 3pm (PDT).
Leading with four nominations for their “Sanctuary” album (Contemporary, Global Roots, Pushing the Boundaries, and Producer of the Year), this Billboard charting band’s film features music and interviews from “Sanctuary” as well as sister album “Refuge,” both served up under lockdown.
This 1.5-hour screening will be followed by a fun Q&A with bandleader and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient Chris McKhool and co-producer John “Beetle” Bailey, hosted by Michael Tymchuk.
Mixed in full Dolby Atmos, this ambitious, diverse, inclusive, and passionately political film puts this world music supergroup face-to-face with a VIP roster of global ‘ambassadors,’ some of whom are recent immigrants and refugees to Canada and the U.S., as well as essential Indigenous voices. All are masters of global music that communicate with each other through the universal language of music.
Addressing the struggles of life on Mother Earth has always inspired this band. In Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album, they bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on discussion and 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, this three-time JUNO nominated band immerses itself in the plight of the international refugee and the humanitarian response that should greet everyone in search of a home.
McKhool (whose paternal Makhoul grandfather was from Lebanon) explains, “The larger Refuge Project is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to Canada and the United States. 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, in this case, music. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you.”
The Refuge Project features stellar performances by Ahmed Moneka and Imad Al Taha, refugees from Iraq, Syrian refugee Leen Hamo, Donné Roberts from Madagascar with partner Yukiko Tsutsui from Japan, Algeria’s Fethi Nadjem, Colombian refugee Juan Carlos Medrano, Iran’s Padideh Ahrarnejad, Romani Nyckelharpa player Saskia Tomkins, tabla player Ravi Naimpally from India, sitar player Anwar Khurshid from Pakistan, string ensemble Gundem Yayli Grubu from Istanbul, and many, many more, including an orchestral version of “The Power of the Land” featuring Indigenous performers Duke Redbird and Twin Flames.
“The true inspiration behind these albums and film is the incredible artists we get to collaborate with,” says McKhool. “We learn so much from these diverse voices, and each one of them is so personally inspiring. As Ahmed Moneka, an artist and refugee from Iraq, says, “Love is the main reason for a great future,” and we are so privileged to be able to collaborate with so many incredible voices on this project.”
The film is receiving industry recognition on the Film Festival circuit, including the Cannes World Film Festival, Vancouver Independent Film Festival, Best Istanbul Film Festival, Paris Movie Festival, Montreal Independent, Hamburg Indie, Boston Independent, and Folk in Film Festivals.
WHEN: Saturday, April 1, 2023 – 3:00-5:00pm (PDT) WHAT: 18th Annual CFMAs to Screen Cannes World Music Festival Award-winning Film: Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album WHERE: Mel Lehan Hall, St James Community Square, 214 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 2L2 TIX/INFO: Free for CFMA attendees/ticket holders | $12 | CFMA 2023 Tickets PHOTOS: https://tinyurl.com/4nwft97d
WON: Cannes World Film Festival Best Istanbul Film Festival Vancouver Independent Film Festival Lightbox International Film Festival
Paris Movie Festival Boston Independent Film Awards California Indies Montreal Independent Film Festival Scarab Short Film Festival 8th Music Film Festival Folk in Film Festival
Chicago Indie Film Awards
Chicago Filmmaker Awards Hamburg Indie Film Festival Dublin Movie Awards Vancouver Movie Awards Brussels World Film Festival Berlin Shorts Awards
California Music Video & Film Awards
• 2022 Dr. Duke Redbird Lifetime Achievement Award – JAYU Arts For Human Rights • 2022 Cannes World Film Festival – Best Musical Film • 2022 Folk Music Ontario – Song of the Year – Mi Santuario, also nom. for Performer of the Year • 2022 Canadian Folk Music Awards quadruple nominees – results in April 2023 – Contemporary, Global Roots, Pushing the Boundaries, and Producer of the Year • 2022 Burlington’s Best Local Musician/Band • 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards winner for Producer of the Year with Refuge • 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee for Ensemble of the Year with Refuge • 2021 Canadian Independent Music Association – Pivot Award • 2021 Markham Performing Arts Awards – Professional Artist of the Year • 2021 International Songwriting Competition – World Music – Mi Santuario • 2020 Folk Music Ontario- Songwriting Award – Instrumental – “Refuge” • 2020 Folk Music Ontario- Songwriting Award – Political – “I Am a Refugee” • 2020 Independent Music Awards – Instrumental Song of the Year – The Grand Bazaar • 2020 Independent Music Awards – World Music Producer of the Year – Refuge • 2019 International Songwriting Competition- Folk semi-finals – “Power of the Land” • 2019 International Songwriting Competition- Performance semi-finals – “Power of the Land” • 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees– Producer of the Year • 2018 Music featured in the acclaimed film “Hotel Mumbai” • 2017 Billboard World Music Charts — # 6 • 2017 JUNO nominees – World Music Album of the Year • 2017 New York Times Hits List • 2017 Billboard World Music Charts — # 15 • 2016 Canada’s High Commission in London UK presents SOS at Trafalgar Square • 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year • 2016 Global Music Awards– World Music / Beats • 2016 ISC – Honorable Mention • 2015 JUNO nominees – Instrumental Album of the Year • 2015 TIMA winners – Best World Album • 2014 SiriusXM Independent Music Awards Winner- World Group of the Year • 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental • 2013 ISC International Songwriting Competition Winner- Instrumental • 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year • 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader Chris McKhool • 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year • 2012 Festivals & Events- Entertainer of The Year • 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental • 2011 Independent Music Award 2x Finalist – Instrumental & World Beat Album • 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition 2x Finalist- Instrumental & World Music • 2010 JUNO Award Nominees – “Instrumental Album of the Year” • 2010 Canadian Independent Music Awards nominees- Favorite World Group • 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place – Instrumental • 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year (also nominated for Ensemble of the Year and Pushing the Boundaries) • 2008 International Songwriting Competition Winner (ISC) – Instrumental • 2008 Festivals & Events Ontario- Best Variety Act
“Nîmihito (Dance)” is a collaboration between 3x JUNO nominated, 4x CFMA winning Sultans of String and Northern Cree, a nine-time Grammy nominated pow wow and round dance group from Treaty 6 territory in Canada, who have released more than 50 albums over their 40-year history.
It is the first single off the upcoming Sultans of String album entitled Walking Through the Fire(September 22, 2023, release), the most ambitious and important project of their career, a CD and concert of collaborations with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists across Turtle Island.
“We are creating this recording in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and Final Report that asks for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together as an opportunity to show a path forward,” says Sultans of String bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool, who was recently awarded the Dr. Duke Redbird Lifetime Achievement Award from the JAYU Festival For Human Rights x Arts.
Steve Wood from Northern Cree continues: “When you’re collaborating with mainstream music, it shows that we can work together to bring out the very best in who we are as human beings. And that’s what music does. It shows that we can work together and we can bring out something very beautiful. And it’s giving our music an opportunity for a different type of audience out there. There are a lot of people that are just catching on to our type of music, which has been here since time immemorial. I think it’s great.”
The Cree lyrics, written by Leroy Woodstone, talk to the dancer about dancing and dancing hard and feeling the beat of the drum, encouraging the dancer to get down.
But there’s also an educational role in the song, says Steve: “A big, strong component of it is to teach our people and other First Nations people about the Cree language. It’s the very tip of who we are and of our ceremonies, pow wow is. It brings other people into our circle.”
Studio sessions were spread across two provinces, with Northern Cree parts recorded at StudioBell at The National Music Centre in Calgary, produced by The Halluci Nation (Bear Witness, 2oolman) with recording Engineer Graham Lessard. Sultans of String’s tracks were recorded at Jukasa Studios, an Indigenous-owned world-class recording facility on the Six Nations reserve south of Hamilton, Ontario, with Sultans’ band members Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté co-producing along with Grammy and JUNO-winning John ‘Beetle’ Bailey.
The two groups met at Kettle and Stony Point’s Annual Pow Wow in the summer of ’22, where Steve shared that, “The drum is also a very spiritual tool because when you look at the drum, somebody’s grandparent, mother, father, child gave its life for that head of the drum, because that was an animal, and is very much alive. Now, the rim is made from the tree. And we really look deep; the tree can teach us a lot because they’re alive. They can teach us about the relationships we have with everything around us and everyone else. And that person, those people that came to put that drum together, they had spirits, too. And they put their own spirit in the drum.”
“And that’s where all the energy comes from.”
UPCOMING SULTANS OF STRING TOUR DATES:
19 JAN – SRSS Theatre, Steinbach, MB 20 JAN – Pinawa Community Centre, Pinawa, MB 21 JAN – William Glesby Centre, Portage la Prairie, MB 5 FEB – Hillside Inside, Guelph, ON 25 FEB – Winterfolk Blues & Roots Festival, Toronto, ON 17 MAR – Shelton Auditorium, Shelton, WA 18 MAR – Edmonds Center for the Arts, Edmonds, WA 20 MAR – Poncan Theatre, Ponca City, OK 23 MAR – Fine Arts Center – Western NM University, Silver City, NM 25 MAR – Payson Auditorium, Payson, AZ 27 MAR – Performing Arts Center, Lake Havasu City, AZ 28 MAR – Mohave High School Auditorium, Bullhead City, AZ 30 MAR – Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center, Borrego Springs, CA 15 APR – First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE MAY 12 – Marble Arts Centre, Tweed ON MAY 13 – Bancroft Village Playhouse, Bancroft ON MAY 14 – Bryan Jones Theatre, Lakefield College, Lakefield, ON MAY 26 – Brockville Arts Centre, Brockville, ON
CHRIS TALKS MORE ABOUT THE UPCOMING ALBUM WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE:
Nîmihito (Dance) is the first single off our upcoming Sultans of String album entitledWalking Through the Fire, the most ambitious and important project of our career, a CD and concert of collaborations with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists across Turtle Island.
We are creating this recording concert in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and Final Report that asks for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together as an opportunity to show a path forward. We know that, as a society, we can’t move ahead without acknowledging and reflecting on the past. Before reconciliation can occur, the full truth of the Indigenous experience in this country needs to be told, so we’ve been calling on Indigenous artists to share with us their stories, their experience, and their lives so we settler Canadians can continue our learning about the history of residential schools, of genocide, and of inter-generational impacts of colonization.
We know that this is a challenging project to do properly and that it needs a lot of consultation, so we have been consulting with Indigenous artists, including Chippewa/Anishinaabe Elder and poet collaborator Dr. Duke Redbird, who says:
“The place that we have to start is with truth. Reconciliation will come sometime way in the future, perhaps, but right now, truth is where we need to begin the journey with each other. As human beings, we have to acquire that truth.”
Several other Indigenous musicians, designers and filmmakers are guiding us on this project, including designer Mark Rutledge working with ally Kurt Firla, and Indigenous filmmakers and videographers Eliza Knockwood and Marc Merilainen, along with videographer Micah Sky.
We also met with the Honourable Murray Sinclair, Ojibwe Elder and former chair of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission to speak about the project, who reflected:
“The very fact that you’re doing this tells me that you believe in the validity of our language, you believe in the validity of our art and our music and that you want to help to bring it out. And that’s really what’s important, is for people to have faith that we can do this… That’s really good.”
WHO IS ON THE FULL ALBUM WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE?
Crystal Shawanda – Ojibwe Potawatomi Singer-Songwriter Don Ross – Mi’kmaw Guitarist Dr. Duke Redbird – Chippewa/Anishinaabe Elder and Poet The North Sound – with Forrest Eaglespeaker – Blackfoot Singer-Songwriter & Nevada Freistadt Kendra Tagoona & Tracy Sarazin – Inuit Throat Singers Leanne Taneton – Dene Spoken Word
Northern Cree, also known as the Northern Cree Singers, is a powwow and Round Dance, drum and singing group based in Maskwacis, Alberta, Canada. Formed in 1982 by the Wood brothers, Steve, Randy, Charlie and Earl Wood of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, All members originate from Treaty 6 and are members of the Cree Nation unless otherwise noted. (Saddle Lake Band, Samson Band, Louis Bull Band, Frog Lake Band, Onion Lake Band, Sweetgrass Band, Poundmaker Band, Sunchild Band, Menominee Nation) About SULTANS OF STRING:
Bandleader Chris McKhool (Makhoul in Lebanon) has an Egyptian-born mother who happened to play piano, teach classical theory, and feed her young son as much Middle Eastern cuisine as she did music lessons. From there, the powerful violinist developed a taste for multi-genre string sounds and found a like-minded crew of all-world enthusiasts. When McKhool first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s 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 in-the-pocket bass master Drew Birston and the jaw-dropping beats of percussionist Chendy Leon.
Their live resume is similarly stellar. Equally at home in a concert hall, folk and jazz club or festival setting, the Sultans have gigged at JUNOfest, the legendary club Birdland in New York, Celtic Connections Festival (Glasgow) and London’s Trafalgar Square. They have sold out Koerner Hall three times (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall) and performed with the Annapolis, Toronto, Vancouver, and Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. They have 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’s musicianship and versatility are also showcased in collaborations with such diverse luminaries as Paddy Moloney & The Chieftains, Sweet Honey in The Rock, Richard Bona (Paul Simon), Alex Cuba, Ruben Blades, Yasmin Levy, Benoit Bourque, Béla Fleck, Crystal Shawanda & Ken Whiteley.
We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the Canada Council for the Arts.