Sultans of String Subcontinental Drift

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Submitted by Don Graham

Sultans of String definitely colour outside the lines. Their brand of music is refreshingly unique in a captivating and mesmerizing way. The full band consists of two guitars, bass, tablas and fiddle or violin depending on how you look at it, and on the latest album, sitar.

The origin of the band was a duo with McKhool and Laliberte. The two met when Laliberté was a guitarist coming off a tour with Jesse Cook and cross Canada tour with The Chieftains. When McKhool (who has worked with Jesse Cook, Pavlo and Club Django) first heard guitarist Laliberté’s rhumba rhythm their musical meeting was the impetus of the Sultans of String’s sound , the irresistible relationship between the violin and the flamenco guitar. Acoustic strings meet with electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound, creating a sound that was uniquely theirs and a sound that was so big it was hard to believe it was coming from just two people.And soon more members were added to fill out the sound. “I wanted to create a band that would keep me as interested as the audience.. it’s got to be fun for me. To have a band that is able to incorporate all these styles; it keeps it really interesting. I think I would get more weary of a project that was just diving into a not creating something special.”

The current lineup consists of Chris McKhool on violin, Kevin Laliberté & Eddie Paton on guitars, on bass Drew Birston and rounded out with Chendy Leon on percussion, Ravi Naimpally on tabla with special guest Anwar Khurshid on sitar.

Sultans of StringSultans of String“There is something really magical about joining world music rhythms that we often play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East”, says bandleader/fiddler Chris McKhool. “I know I would lose interest in a project that was just diving into one style and not thinking outside the box too much. Part of the fun is seeing how far we can stretch it while still being Sultans of String. You know, people lead super busy lives and everyone’s running around like crazy, but I just wanted to create the kind of listening experience where you can be in a bubble for a few minutes and enjoy something that sounds really out of this world.”

This month the band released their fifth album, ‘Subcontinental Drift’, to rave reviews and a huge CD release tour is on its way. Chris McKhool is super excited about this album, the current band and the upcoming tour. “This album is the best thing we’ve done so far and the inclusion of Anwar Khushid on sitar both in the studio and on live performances is adding to the excitement. He adds an element of east meets west with his sitar and the emotion the instrument evokes. For me it is so cool to take that and add our music and put it into an accessible format. We please the audience and ourselves every night. I sometimes catch myself on stage listening to these guys as a fan of music and then realize I’m part of it. There are many moments where I think I’m the luckiest guy on the planet.”

Sultans of String are such an incredible world music band they well should be the spokespeople for the genre.’ Subcontinental Drift’ is a brilliant album and even if you are not really that into world music you will become a fan after listening to this album. These guys are the A team of world music players and together they make accessible, life-affirming, joyful music. Want to cure the winter blues this year? Buy this album.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
October 15 Agora Des Arts, Rouyn-Noranda, QC
October 17 Symphony, ON
October 23-25 Alberta Contact Showcase, AB
October 27-28 Youth Shows, Markham, ON
October 30 Trinity St. Paul Centre, Toronto, ON.
November 7 Aeolian Hall, London, ON
November 13 Meadowvale Theatre, Mississauga, ON
November 14 Nerfa Showcase Kerhonkson, NY
November 19 Ironwood Stage, Calgary, AB
November 20 Lougheed Centre, Camrose, AB
November 21, Shell Theatre, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
November 22, Shell Theatre Youth Show, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
November 22, Maclab Centre, Leduc, AB
December 12, Christmas Symphony Fiesta! Toronto, ON

For more information visit the website at to purchase online or hard copy of the new CD ‘Subcontinental Drift’.

Editor’s Note: To have a chance to win a tickets to a Sultans of String concert visit us on Facebook at Cashbox Canada.