Sultans of String

2010 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, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz, celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar while a funk bass lays 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.The band is riding a wave of success from their sold out Yalla Yalla! Canadian CD release tour, to their national features on CTV’s Canada AM and CBC’s Canada Live, and their triple nomination for the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards, winning Instrumental Group of the Year. Their debut CD Luna soared to #1 across Canada on Top Ten national radio charts, and the Sultans of String won the award for Best Variety Act from Festivals & Events Ontario as well as the 2008 International Songwriting Competition! The buzz extends into the U.S., with acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, Jesse Cook) now representing the band.2009 JUNO Award Nominee, six-string violinist and bandleader Chris McKhool grew up in a house bursting with music and diversity. His paternal Makhoul grandparents immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in the early 1900’s. His Egyptian-born mother is a piano and theory teacher. Growing up Chris was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality along with Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons.From a very young age McKhool was taught the Canadian values of tolerance, respect for all peoples and celebration of culture. His passion for exploring the rhythms and melodies has led him to the far corners of the world, collecting instruments and styles everywhere he went. Travels to the Canadian Arctic, Indonesia, France, England, Cuba, Peru, Guatemala, Costa Rica and the Indian Himalayas to perform and conduct music workshops have added to his depth of musical and spiritual understanding of our global community.When McKhool (who has performed with Jesse Cook and Pavlo) first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s rumba rhythm their musical mind-meld created the Sultans of String’s sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and the flamenco guitar. Sultans of String includes such amazing musical friends as: guitarists Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, the Chieftains) & Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), bass masters Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk) & David Woodhead (Stan Rogers, Loreena McKennitt), Cuban master percussionists Chendy Leon & Alberto Suarez, and Bassam Bishara (master oud player from Palestine)Touring as a duo to quintet, McKhool draws from this collective of master musicians to bring Sultans of String to community, festival and intermediate/high school audiences around the world including the Celtic Connections Festival in the UK, Birdland jazz Club in NYC, Mariposa Folk Festival, National Arts Centre, Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre, and Folk Alliance in Memphis, TN.Sultans of String are also available for performances with a Cuban Trumpet Ensemble, and have an evening of music orchestrated for full symphony orchestra.“Thrill of improvising makes Sultans a thrill to experience… gripping suspense for both the audience and the musicians… Superb!” – Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal“The playing is top notch and every track is a musical discovery!” – Errol Nazareth, Toronto Sun