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Sultans of String Celebrate Film Win With Sanctuary CD Release Concert in Toronto

Sultans of String Celebrate Film Win With Sanctuary CD Release Concert in Toronto

The Sanctuary CD Release concert in Toronto will be at the Jane Mallett Theatre on November 4, 2022. 

NY Times and Billboard-charting world music supergroup Sultans of String celebrate their "Best Musical Film" win with "Sultans of String: The Refuge Project - Visual Album", as part of the monthly competition of Cannes World Film Festival, with a milestone Sanctuary CD Release concert in Toronto at Jane Mallett Theatre on November 4, 2022.

The event, part of the Canadian Arab Orchestra's "Festival of Arabic Music & Arts" will feature the core Sultans of String (Chris McKhool - violin, Kevin Laliberté - guitar, Drew Birston - bass), as well as many of the special guests from their latest album. Artists include singer Leen Hamo, and clarinet player Majd Sekkar, both of whom came to Canada as refugees from Syria.

Other new Canadians include Padideh Ahrarnejad performing on Persian tar, Naghmeh Farahmand from Iran playing percussion, Donné Roberts, originally from Madagascar singing in Malagasy, and Saskia Tomkins performing on a rare string instrument from Sweden called the nyckelharpa. Tamar Ilana will be singing in Spanish and performing flamenco dance. Joining virtually will be Turkish string group Gundem Yayli Grubu and others, in a spectacular integration of sound and light.

Creating this collection of songs from the global diaspora is personal for bandleader and violinist McKhool. "My family name would have been pronounced Makhoul back in Lebanon, but when my grandfather arrived in 1903, as a stowaway on a ship, he probably encountered a Scottish border guard that thought it would be nice to give the spelling a Scottish flair, hence the oddball spelling for a Lebanese name," McKhool explains.

"These first Lebanese to Canada and the U.S. came with no money in their pockets, but with a tremendous drive to succeed. My grandparents saved up and opened a restaurant in Ottawa called the Laurier Tea Room, which did booming business after the war. The song from this project, Hurricane, is an ode to so many who came to the New World planning to work hard and save up enough to bring their loved ones over."

Sanctuary is the second instalment in their Refuge Project. The first, simply entitled Refuge, was heralded as "a fantastic, moving, dreamlike, epic, timely album" by Ken Micallef (Jazz Times, Stereophile, Downbeat) and won many awards including 2 Independent Music Awards for Instrumental Song of the Year and World Music Producer of the Year, and Producer of the Year at the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards for bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool and co-producer John Bailey. The lead track "Mi Santuario" from their follow up Sanctuary CD was part of John Bailey's 2022 Engineering Juno Award nomination.

One of the singers on Sanctuary, Yukiko Tsutsui says "We need this uplifting music ... 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. 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."

Watch Sultans of String with special guests from Sanctuary here:




From This Author - Michael Major


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