Sultans Of String Appearing @ The Rochester Jazz Festival
Raucous world-roots string wizards, CFMA winners and JUNO nominees, 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.
“Canada’s ambassadors of musical diversity” include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Pavlo), dueling guitar czars Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook, The Chieftains) & Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk), and the jaw dropping talent of Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Parachute Club, Alex Cuba)!
Since their formation only 5 years ago, Sultans of String have been riding a wave of success, from their debut CD, Luna, and 2nd offering, Yalla Yalla!, both hitting #1 on world/international music charts in Canada, to their triple Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, winning Instrumental Group of the Year. The band has been recorded live for broadcast on BBC Television, SiriusXM in Washington DC, CTV’s CanadaAM, CBC’s Canada Live, and has topped campus/community radio charts inArgentina, Australia, Belgium, Belarus, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain, The Netherlands, U.S. and U.K.
In the past year alone, they've acquired a JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nomination, representation from acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck), and booking representation in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. They also took home 1st place in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 15,000 entries) and placed as finalists for two 2011 International Independent Music Awards. The band just released their 3rd album entitled MOVE, presenting, once again, an exhilarating celebration of world music styles.
“Canada is a real meeting places of musical influences from around the world” says bandleader/violinist McKhool. “At the same time, as a band we try to tell uniquely Canadian stories, putting forth our vision of the world as one family.” Chris’ paternal Makhoul grandparents immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in the early 1900s, and his Egyptian-born mother, an accomplished pianist, also has paternal Lebanese ancestry. “Growing up, I was taught the values of tolerance, respect for all peoples and celebration of culture.” McKhool’s unbridled passion for exploring the rhythms and melodies has led him to the far corners of the world, incorporating instruments and styles everywhere he went.
Touring as a trio 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 U.K., Birdland jazz Club in NYC, Canada’s National Arts Centre, Mariposa Folk Festival, Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre, and Folk Alliance in Memphis, TN. Sultans of String have also performed on larger stages with Windsor & Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestras with noted conductor Maestro John Morris Russell (Cincinnati Pops), as well as their Cuban Trumpet Ensemble.