Sultans of String
940 Bonisteel Rd
Trenton, ON K8V 5P8
3x 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 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 and New York Times charts. 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, plus a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal (for bandleader Chris McKhool). Their 2020 release Refuge garnered many awards including two Independent Music Awards for Instrumental Song of the Year and World Music Producer of the Year, two songwriting awards from Folk Music Ontario, as well as the 2021 CFMA for Producer of the Year for Chris McKhool and John Bailey.
McKhool has an Egyptian-born mother who happened to play the 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 (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 in-the-pocket bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk).
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 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, Rubén Blades, Yasmin Levy, Benoit Bourque, Béla Fleck, Crystal Shawanda and Ken Whiteley.
“Simply awesome!”- Mariposa Folk Festival
“What a great show and a full house on a Thursday is a first! Hope to have them back! – Sandhill Stage, Florida
“Sultans of String are so extraordinary and put on a sensational show.” – Lincoln Center, NY
“You get the feeling this is Strunz & Farah or Willie & Lobo or Gypsy Kings taken to the next level of the game, sometimes all at once… a sure bet to notch a JUNO and any other award winning hardware to come its way.“ – Midwest Record, Chicago