Your 2021 Sultans of String Christmas Caravan Playlist and Tour

3x JUNO nominees and Billboard-charting SULTANS OF STRING serve up Global Grooves & Holiday Cheer with their 2021 CHRISTMAS CARAVAN YOUTUBE PLAYLIST and TOUR!

YOUTUBE PLAYLIST https://tinyurl.com/sultanschristmasplaylist

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST https://tinyurl.com/mwyhr32w 

LISTEN/BUY ALBUM https://sultansofstring.lnk.to/THc3VID

Canadian band Sultans of String keeps imaginative imperatives in overdrive for the entirety of Christmas Caravan, a generous pitch for global unity through the music of Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah. These five musicians have jubilantly recharged the classics with arrangements that demand attention. ★★★★  – Downbeat, USA

As winter crests and the mercury falls, everyone from your taxi driver to the music supervisor at the mall starts running timeless hits like “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.”

But Canada’s global groove wizards Sultans of String wanted to go deeper into this beautiful tradition, and have launched their 2021 Christmas Caravan Playlist, featuring songs from their album which hit Billboard’s World Music Charts and the New York Times Hits List. Recorded and co-produced with JUNO Award-winning engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey, Christmas Caravan isn’t your typical holiday collection. You may recognize a few titles but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before.  They celebrate the holiday spirit with an adventurous musical trip around the world, featuring exuberant originals, world-music-inspired classics, and seasonal favourites to warm your heart on a cold winter’s night.

They kick it off with a fresh version of “Feliz Navidad” along with Alex Cuba, who was just nominated for another Grammy in the Best Latin Pop category with his new album Mendo. In addition to his four Grammy nominations (all for Best Latin Pop Album in 2011, 2016, 2018, and 2022), Cuba has been nominated for five Latin Grammy Awards, four of which he won.

Alex Cuba

From fiery fiddle tunes to a Caribbean sleigh ride, the surprising and delightful holiday Christmas Caravan fiesta heats up when Sultans of String bring their signature sound to well-known gems such as “The Christmas Song,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” a Turkish twist on “Greensleeves,” “Silent Night,” a Django-jazz inspired “Django Christmas,” not to mention a Rumba-Flamenca fuelled “Jingle Bells.”

Special guests also include jazz chanteuse Nikki Yanofsky, Mary Fahl from the October Project, hang drum player David Charrier from France, Turkish string group Gundem Yayli Grubu, Canada’s singer to the stars, Rebecca Campbell, African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, Panamanian star Ruben Blades and Luba Mason, Pakistani-Canadian sitar player Anwar Khurshid, and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra!

Of special note is “Sing for Kwanzaa,” a cut featuring Richard Bona and Sudanese-Canadian Waleed Abdulhamid. Fans call Bona “The African Sting,” critics call him a pro, but it’s his unique and electrifying style of connecting with his audience that titles him what he really is—a true musician. This is the perfect song to celebrate Kwanzaa held December 26 – January 1 each year.

“An amazing worldbeat Christmas where even the tried and true is taken to such new and amazing lengths. Very hot stuff clearly made to chase the cold winter away.” – Midwest Record, USA

And Sultans of String is also bringing the show on the road!

Joining Sultans of String for the Christmas Caravan December tour is Rebecca Campbell and on select shows Donné Roberts (JUNO winning African Guitar Summit) w/Singer-Songwriter Yukiko Tsutsui from Japan, soulful-pop JUNO winning singer Kellylee Evans, award-winning flamenco dancer/singer Tamar Ilana, multiple CFMA winner Lynne Hanson, Andalusian classical and Arabic jazz instrumentalist Fethi Nadjem, the velvet voice of Kristine St-Pierre who won CFMA for Francophone Songwriter of the Year, and UK-Canadian multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Saskia Tomkins.

The Christmas Caravan tour also raises awareness of the plight of international refugees and the work of the UN Refugee Agency https://amplify.e-activist.com/14441/p2p/90279/sultansofstring .  As fundraising partners with UNHCR, the band has raised over $10,000 from their community awareness efforts and UNHCR’s ‘tip boxes’.

“Helping refugees is a cause we care about deeply because more than 67 million refugees worldwide are in desperate need of our support. They have every right to live a safe and dignified life as much as we do”, says Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient McKhool. “By supporting this show and partnership with the UNHCR, you are providing life-saving assistance to refugees all over the world.”

This vision is embodied in their double CD offering, Refuge/Sanctuary, which they’re also performing at the Simcoe Theatre show!

WHEN ‘N’ WHERE:

Fri. Dec. 3, 2021 – Collingwood Christmas Concerts @ Simcoe Street Theatre
65 Simcoe St, #Studio 7, Collingwood, ON
8:30 pm EST (Doors: 8:00pm)
Tix/Info: $25
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/collingwood-christmas-market-concert-series-christmas-caravan-tickets-208199679847

Sat. Dec. 4, 2021 – Refuge/Sanctuary @ Simcoe Street Theatre 
65 Simcoe St, #Studio 7, Collingwood, ON
8:30 pm EST (Doors: 8:00pm)
Tix/Info: $25
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/collingwood-christmas-market-concert-series-the-refuge-sanctuary-concert-tickets-208233591277

Fri. Dec. 17, 2021 – Annapolis Symphony @ Maryland Hall
801 Chase St., Annapolis, MD
8:00 pm EST
Tix/Info: $59-$119
https://annapolissymphony.org/events/holiday-pops-sultans-of-string

Sun. Dec. 19, 2021 – Zoom Room Global Livestream
7:00 pm EST
Tix/Info: $10 requested minimum donation
https://sultanschristmas2021.eventbrite.ca

Mon Dec. 20, 2021 – Harmony Concerts @ Algonquin Theatre 
1385 Woodroffe Avenue, Building E, Ottawa
7:00 pm EST (Lobby 6:00 pm / Doors 6:30 pm)
Tix/Info: $35.79 – $56.79  l  613-727-4723 x6442  l  boxoffice@algonquincollege.com
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sultans-of-string-christmas-caravan-tickets-202065131247

SPECIAL GUESTS:

Rebecca Campbell
Rebecca Campbell is an acclaimed and prolific singer who also serves up percussion, Stella guitar, melodica, and harmonica. Bred in the Maritimes and Ottawa, educated in Montreal, and now based in Toronto, Rebecca has performed with Jane Siberry, Lynn Miles, Porkbelly Futures, Parachute Club, Royal Ottawa, Ian Tamblyn, among countless others. Her gorgeous voice has graced both the big and small screen and on over 120 recordings.

Kellylee Evans
Known for her stunning crystalline voice that is both powerful and emotive, Kellylee Evans is a stylistic connoisseur who has tackled everything from jazz to R&B and pop, in such previous tasty classics as “fight or flight?” and “Nina”, her Juno-winning tribute to the legendary Nina Simone. She recently released “Come On”, and comes on the heels of two nearly career-ending accidents: a freak lightning strike in her Ottawa kitchen and further effects of a concussion suffered during a fall at her home.

Lynne Hanson
Too tough for folk and too blues-influenced for country, Lynne Hanson’s brand of “porch music with a little red dirt” can turn on a dime from a sunshine blue sky ballad to a full-on thunderstorm of gritty Americana swamp from one song to the next.  Lynne is a two-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner, a recipient of the Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, winner of the Blues and Roots Radio International Song Contest, two-time Folk Music Ontario Song From The Heart Blues Award winner,  a two-time Indie Acoustic Project Alt-Country album of the year winner, and a two-time Kerrville New Folk finalist.

Tamar Ilana
Powerhouse vocalist and dancer Tamar Ilana fronts Ventanas, a six-piece Toronto-based world music ensemble featuring the city’s finest world musicians. With songs in Ladino, Spanish, Bulgarian, Hebrew, French, Romani, and Arabic, Tamar Ilana intertwines composite rhythms with flamenco dance, leading audiences down the less-traveled paths of the Mediterranean and mixing in contemporary interpretations of ancient ballads, original compositions, and new choreographies. “I’m a huge admirer,” says Leslie Feist.”

Fethi Nadjem 
Fethi Nadjem was born in 1983 in Algeria where he grew up in a family of musicians and learned Andalusian classical music, becoming accomplished on both violin and mandolin. At the age of 21, he became one of the founders of the acclaimed world music fusion band named Djmawi Africa, performing Andalusian classical music for 13 years across the globe. When he arrived in Toronto to begin a new life in Canada, he continued to pursue his musical career, performing with several bands and musicians. Fethi is a member of the World-Fusion style music band, Moskitto Bar, and additionally performs with the Arabic-Jazz band, Moneka Arabic Jazz.

Donné Roberts
Donné Roberts is a passionate performer who performs mainly in Malagasy, his mother tongue from his birthplace of Madagascar. Yet this never proves to be a barrier to the audience, providing living proof that music truly does transcend language. Donné came to wider recognition for his solo release and his contribution as one of the members of the African Guitar Summit, which won a JUNO, and as a member of Okavango The African Orchestra that also won a JUNO Award.

Kristine St-Pierre
Folk-pop singer-songwriter Kristine St-Pierre captivates audiences with her velvet voice and wide range of emotions that challenge us. In 2018, Kristine received a CFMA for Francophone Songwriter of the Year, and the 1st track hit the Top 10 in SiriusXM’s FrancoCountry channel. In addition to tours across Canada, Kristine has performed in Kenya, Nigeria, Congo, and most recently in Ukraine, establishing closer links between musical creation and the values of respect, inclusiveness, and equality.

Saskia Tomkins
Saskia Tomkins is a British musician and actress, living since 2007 in Ontario. A stellar multi-instrumentalist, she serves up the violin, viola, cello, and nyckelharpa, seamlessly crossing genres, including traditional, modern, jazz, and classical music. In great demand, she has performed with the likes of The Chieftains, Jimmy Bowskill, The Chieftains, Kim Doolittle, Ken Whiteley, and a plethora of other amazing musicians, actors, and dancers! Currently, she performs with hubby  Steáfán Hannigan as Steáfán & Saskia, the instrumental jazz/roots duo 2ish with Brandon Scott Besharah; the Celtic crossover group Cáirdeas, and the jazz trio Marsala and the Imports.

Yukiko Tsutsui 
Yukiko Tsutsui is a singer/songwriter from Akita, Japan. Her compositions are beautifully arranged and are influenced by Japanese contemporary music, traditional folk music, and world music. Since immigrating to Toronto in 2016, she has been performing with various musicians at multiple venues and was selected to perform the Japanese National Anthem at Richo Woodbine Mile broadcasted internally on TSN. Yukiko also produced/hosted her Canadian syndicated and award-winning radio show, Japanese Musiquest, on the Kootenay Coop Radio, exposing listeners to Japanese music and culture.

Sultans of String Interactive Zoom Concert #5 – Lockdown Smackdown on January 23, 2021

Happy New Year friends, I don’t know about you, but this new lockdown is making us feel a little too isolated…Therefore announcing our Sultans of String Livestream January 23, 8:00 pm EST Livestream -Lockdown Smackdown Edition!

Let’s super-spread some good live-streaming vibes and keep connected. Isolating doesn’t have to be lonely! And we can celebrate the inauguration of a new U.S. president at the same time!

Limited tickets available here https://sultans-lockdown-smackdown.eventbrite.ca

MORE DETAIL: Featured on the NY TIMES HITS LIST and the BILLBOARD WORLD MUSIC CHARTS! On the last day of Ontario Lockdown (unless that changes) let’s super-spread some good live-streaming vibes and keep connected. Sultans of String band members Chris McKhool, Kevin Laliberté and Drew Birston perform the “Best of the Sultans”, beamed right into your living room! Eddie Paton will also join us for a song from his musical lair.

This is over ZOOM, which is awesome because it is interactive, and we will be able to see and hear you, and you can see and hear us, and you can all see each other as well! It is a real show! So pour yourself a quarantini, and get ready to enjoy the music! Link becomes live at 7:40 pm to get settled and chat with our friends. And make sure you have speakers plugged in if you have them!

Show will last about an hour, including a talk back portion, so bring your burning questions, as we will be opening up the floor for anyone who has always wanted to ask any of the artists about their inspiration, or music, or whatever strikes your fancy. We have kept the ticket price low with a minimum $10 donation for the show, as many of our friends and fans are out of work right now. Please contribute what you can to support the arts through these strange times!

$1 from each ticket sold is being donated to our UN Refugee Agency fundraiser: http://fundraise.unhcr.ca/sultansofstring

Thanks and look forward to seeing you all soon!

Limited tickets available here https://sultans-lockdown-smackdown.eventbrite.ca

FEEDBACK FROM PREVIOUS ZOOM CONCERTS:

“Sultans of String are still ground-breaking after all the decades. The music is of-this-moment, our moment. It is a tonic, fresh air, in the midst of all that has separated us.”

“It was so intimate. Every seat was perfect, front row centre. It’s a great way to establish personal connections with the artists.”

“This was the best Zoom – online show I have seen. The setting and production values were excellent. It was obvious that time was taken to ensure us of a completely professional concert. Loved the music – hope there are more to come.”

“Wow! What a special evening of song, storytelling, dance and palpable heart-sharing! I was amazed at the coordination it must have taken to connect everyone, and was moved by having so much artistry connected in a “zoom-room”….just wow….what a joy!”

“It was great to have live music come right to our homes. The band played amazing music! The sound quality was wonderful. Hope to hear more live music from Sultans of String, soon.”

BIO: Three-time JUNO Award nominees and Billboard charting band Sultans of String creates “energetic and exciting music from a band with talent to burn!” according to Maverick magazine. Thrilling their audiences with their genre-hopping passport of Celtic reels, flamenco, gypsy-jazz, Arabic, Cuban and South Asian rhythms, the group celebrates musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar, while 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 an irresistible need to dance.

Sultans of String have never taken the easy road. Since releasing their debut album Luna in 2007, they 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 charts and the New York Times. 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.

With their historic and visionary seventh album Refuge, McKhool and co. bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration into the studio like never before. Their most ambitious, diverse, inclusive and passionately political album, Refuge puts the Toronto-based Sultans face-to-face with a VIP roster of artists from around the globe — including American banjo master Béla Fleck, Israeli vocalist Yasmin Levy and others, like Iraqi violinst Imah Al Taha and Iranian santur master Amir Amiri, who have fled the peril and persecution of their homelands for the safer shores of North America.

Their live resumé is similarly stellar. Equally at home in a concert hall, jazz club or festival setting, the Sultans have gigged at the legendary club Birdland in New York, the renowned Celtic Connections Festival in the U.K. and the San Jose Jazz Festival. They have performed with symphonies across Canada and the U.S., and played live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, World Cafe and SiriusXM in Washington.

3x JUNO Nominees and Billboard Charting SULTANS OF STRING take their Global Grooves & Goodwill to hearts and homes with their Christmas Caravan & UNHCR Fundraising Zoom Concert!

SAT. DEC. 19, 2020 – 8:00pm EST (5:00 PST / 7:00pm CST)

SPECIAL GUESTS: Rebecca Campbell, Tamar Ilana, Donné Roberts, Kristine St-Pierre & more TBA!

ZOOM TICKETS: http://christmascaravan2020.eventbrite.ca
FACEBOOK EVENThttps://www.facebook.com/events/202730184800176

As winter crests and the mercury falls, everyone from your taxi driver to the music supervisor at the mall starts running timeless hits like “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.” But on their Christmas Caravan album which hit Billboard’s World Music Charts and the New York Times Hits List, Canada’s string wizards Sultans of String go deeper. Recorded and co-produced with JUNO Award winning engineer John ‘ Beetle’ Bailey, Christmas Caravan isn’t your typical holiday album. You may recognize a few titles but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before. They’ll be bringing global grooves and goodwill to hearts and homes with their Christmas Caravan Zoom and fundraising concert for the UNHCR http://fundraise.unhcr.ca/sultansofstring

“Helping refugees is a cause we care about deeply because more than 67 million refugees worldwide are in desperate need of our support. They have every right to live a safe and dignified life as much as we do”, says bandleader/violinist and Queens Diamond Jubilee recipient Chris McKhool. “By supporting our tour and partnership with the UNHCR, you are providing life-saving assistance to refugees all over the world.”

These efforts are part of the band’s global vision to unite countries, cultures and traditions through the international language of music.  McKhool explains, “My parents are from Lebanese and Egyptian backgrounds, and also celebrated Christmas in the home. So Christmas songs as well as music from around the globe were always part of my upbringing. With this record and show, we created the spiritual Christmas songs I have always wanted to hear and perform that honoured this tradition, as well as diverse cultures.

“We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards” adds McKhool. “And while this is a Christmas album, it is approached from the perspective of a world music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from the classic sounds of the Andrews Sisters, to a Himalayan sleigh ride, African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and even the grandeur of the symphony.” 

For this festive event, the band has some very special guests joining in on the holiday cheer, including Rebecca CampbellTamar IlanaDonné RobertsKristine St-Pierreand more tba!

FEEDBACK FROM OUR ZOOM CONCERTS

“Music sounded amazing and the video production was super slick.”

“This was the best Zoom – online show I have seen. The setting and production values were excellent. It was obvious that time was taken to ensure us of a completely professional concert. Loved the music – hope there are more to come.”

“The show was amazing. Sound was top-notch, and I would know since I’ve been subjected to online classes for a while now. Overall great experience”

“It was great to have live music come right to our homes. The band played amazing music! The sound quality was wonderful. Hope to hear more live music from Sultans of String, soon.”

“That was a show, a variety show! A celebration of talent and music and diversity. So many friends and happiness coming together and you seamlessly switched from live acts around the country (ies) to videos to your home stage. Wow. big WOW! I had to remember that I was watching a live show, not a recorded, remixed and cut in the studio and then broadcast. Phenomenal.”

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

• 2020 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees – Ensemble of The Year & Producer of the Year for “Refuge”
• 2020 Folk Music Ontario – Songs From The Heart Award for “I Am A Refugee” & Instrumental Song for “Refuge”
• 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominees – Producer of the Year with Christmas Caravan
• 2018 Music featured in the acclaimed film, “Hotel Mumbai”
• 2017 JUNO nominees – World Music Album of the Year
• 2017 New York Times Hits List with Christmas Caravan
• 2017 Billboard World Music Charts  — Christmas Caravan CD hits #6
• 2017 Canadian Nielsen World Music Charts – Christmas Caravan CD hits #3
• 2017 Folk Music Ontario- Songwriting Award for “Sing For Kwanzaa” from Christmas Caravan
• 2016 Canada’s High Commission in London UK presents SOS at Trafalgar Square
• 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
• 2016 Global Music Awards– World Music / Beats 
• 2016 ISC – Honorable Mention
• 2015 JUNO nominees – Instrumental Album of the Year    
• 2015 TIMA winners – Best World Album
• 2014 SiriusXM Independent Music Awards Winner- World Group of the Year  
• 2014 IMA Independent Music Award Winner – Instrumental
• 2013 ISC  International Songwriting Competition Winner- Instrumental
• 2013 Festivals & Events- Performer of The Year 
• 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for bandleader Chris McKhool
• 2012 Canadian Folk Music Awards winners– World Music Group of the Year
• 2012 Festivals & Events- Entertainer of The Year 
• 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Finalist – Instrumental
• 2011 Independent Music Award 2x Finalist – Instrumental & World Beat Album
• 2011 ISC International Songwriting Competition 2x Finalist-  Instrumental & World Music
• 2010 JUNO Award Nominees –  “Instrumental Album of the Year”
• 2010 Canadian Independent Music Awards nominees- Favorite World Group
• 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place – Instrumental
• 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award triple nominee winning Instrumental Group of the Year
 (also nominated for Ensemble of the Year and Pushing the Boundaries)
• 2008 International Songwriting Competition Winner (ISC) – Instrumental
• 2008 Festivals & Events Ontario- Best Variety Act

WEBSITE/SOCIALS:

http://www.sultansofstring.com
http://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring
http://www.instagram.com/sultansofstring
http://twitter.com/sultansofstring

Join our #WithRefugees campaign
Sign the petition today
Donations can be made at http://fundraise.unhcr.ca/sultansofstring

This recording was produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

We would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.