Press Release for Film “Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album”
Sultans of String are excited about the first screenings of their feature-length film “Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album” – their pandemic project that just won at the Cannes World Film Festival, Best Istanbul Film Festival, and was selected for the Vancouver Independent, Scarab, and Folk in Film Festivals. Come join their Cast and Crew party, and celebrate their recent wins with a film screening, as well as another birthday “year around the sun” for bandleader Chris McKhool, all while raising donations for a good cause!
TORONTO: Sunday, November 20, 2022
Doors at 6:00 p.m., Film at 7:00 p.m. sharp.
Tranzac Main Hall, 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 2M7
All admission proceeds from Toronto show after hall rental costs are donated to the UN Refugee Agency for their life-saving programming. Sultans of String have raised more than $10,000 so far!
HAMILTON: Thursday, December 8
Doors at 6:00 p.m., Film at 7:00 p.m. sharp.
The Westdale Theatre, 1014 King St W, Hamilton, ON L8S 1L4
The film is 95 minutes long, and screenings will be followed by a chat! The film includes songs from Refuge and Sanctuary, which are up for four Canadian Folk Music Awards!
WHAT IS THIS FILM??
Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album. Mixed in full Dolby Atmos, this ambitious, diverse, inclusive, and passionately political film puts NY Times and Billboard-charting world music supergroup Sultans of String face-to-face with a VIP roster of global ‘ambassadors,’ some of whom are recent immigrants and refugees to Canada and the U.S., as well as essential Indigenous voices. All are masters of world music that communicate with each other through the global language of music.
Addressing the struggles of life on Mother Earth has always inspired this band. In Sultans of String: The Refuge Project – Visual Album, they bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on discussion and songs that speak to the challenges facing the world’s displaced peoples—their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.
Joined by an international cast, this three-time JUNO-nominated band immerses themselves in the plight of the international refugee and the humanitarian response that should greet everyone in search of a home.
Bandleader Chris McKhool explains, “The larger Refuge Project is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to Canada. We are bringing in special guests that are newcomers to this land, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. We wish to celebrate the successes of those who make the journey here and bring their extraordinary talents with them, in this case, music. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you.”
The Refuge Project features stellar performances by Ahmed Moneka and Imad Al Taha, refugees from Iraq, Syrian refugee Leen Hamo, Donné Roberts from Madagascar with partner Yukiko Tsutsui from Japan, Algeria’s Fethi Nadjem, Colombian refugee Juan Carlos Medrano, Iran’s Padideh Ahrarnejad, Romani Nyckelharpa player Saskia Tomkins, tabla player Ravi Naimpally from India, sitar player Anwar Khurshid from Pakistan, string ensemble Gundem Yayli Grubu from Istanbul, and many, many more, including an orchestral version of “The Power of the Land” featuring Indigenous performers Duke Redbird and Twin Flames.
“The true inspiration behind these albums and film is the incredible artists we get to collaborate with,” says McKhool. “We learn so much from these diverse voices, and each one of them is so personally inspiring. As Ahmed Moneka, an artist and refugee from Iraq, says, ‘Love is the main reason for a great future,” and we are so privileged to be able to collaborate with so many incredible voices on this project.”
“Energetic and exciting music fest from a band with talent to burn… the very epitome of world music: no boundaries, no rules!” – Maverick Music Magazine, UK
Refuge Project Sizzle Reel – Summer in Tehranto: https://youtu.be/uGzM35R1sCA
Nov 12 Deep Gap NC • Songs From the Wood Concerts
Nov 13 Black Mountain NC • White Horse Black Mountain
Nov 15 Sandersville GA • Live on Stage
Nov 17 Morgan City LA • Schreier Theatre
Nov 20 Toronto ON • Tranzac Club Film Screening
Nov 26 Owen Sound ON • Harmony Centre – Christmas Caravan
Nov 27 Kitchener ON • Registry Theatre – Sanctuary (The Refuge Project)
Dec 2 Highgate ON • Mary Webb Centre – Christmas Caravan
Dec 04 Gravenhurst ON • Gravenhurst Opera House – Christmas Caravan
Dec 8 Hamilton ON • The Westdale Film Screening
Dec 10 St Catharines ON • FirstOntario PAC with Niagara Symphony – Christmas Caravan
Dec 11 St Catharines ON • FirstOntario PAC with Niagara Symphony – Christmas Caravan
Dec 15 Willow Street PA • Willow Valley Cultural Center – Christmas Caravan – SOLD OUT
Dec 17 Midland ON • Brookside Music – Christmas Caravan
Dec 18 Kleinburg ON • The McMichael Gallery – Christmas Caravan
Dec 19 Ottawa ON • Algonquin Theatre – Christmas Caravan
Dec 20 Cobourg ON • Concert Hall at Victoria Hall – Christmas Caravan
Dec 21 Toronto ON • Kingston Road Village Concert Series – Christmas Caravan
MORE ABOUT SULTANS OF STRING: Bandleader Chris McKhool (Makhoul in Lebanon) has an Egyptian-born mother who happened to play 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 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 and the jaw-dropping beats of percussionist Chendy Leon.
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 Annapolis, 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, Ruben Blades, Yasmin Levy, Benoit Bourque, Béla Fleck, Crystal Shawanda & Ken Whiteley.
Thanks to the generous support of funding agencies:
This recording was supported by the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto.
We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.
We would like to acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
For more information, please contact:
Publicist I Music Commentator I Shameless Idealist