From Ragas to Riches…Canada’s SULTANS OF STRING release Subcontinental Drift with Sitar Master ANWAR KHURSHID

August 4, 2015

Sultans of String Autorickshaw

A Sweeping East Meets Middle-East meets West Collaboration

2015 JUNO Award Nominees – Instrumental Album of the Year
2014 SiriusXM Independent Music Awards Winner – World Group 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

[Toronto, Canada]  2015 JUNO Award Nominees and 2014 SiriusXM Award Winners Sultans of String, are serving up a smorgasbord of ragas, reels and rumbas on their new, special collaborative release, Subcontinental Drift, with sitar master Anwar Khurshid (Oscar winning Life of Pi, Love Guru).The album officially drops September 25th, 2015 on Fontana North.

While Sultans of String are known for spotlighting treasured special guests from around the world, this is their first wholly collaborative offering where the entire body of work was created together.

“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.

Yet, Subcontinental Drift is more than a global sound-tapestry. It is a musical promise that embraces differences while finding common ground across culture, land, and time.

Indeed, while the album treks across all kinds of musical terrain, the fertile soil beneath each track is fed by hope unhindered and freedom found. “One of the songs we wrote together, Journey to Freedom, actually traces Anwar’s journey from Pakistan to Canada and finding his new home here. “He’s become a great musical and personal friend.says McKhool, whose name would have been spelled Makhoul in Kfarmishki, Lebanon, where his ancestors are from. ” Together we started writing songs about the freedom and equality we experience living here in Canada, about finding ourselves, and our hope of creating a better world. And I feel in some way, like these songs reflect our own personal journeys towards finding a world peace.”

Perhaps one song above all on the album highlights the universality of music. “Anwar and I discovered that we knew a tune in common with different names. There’s an ancient Irish fiddle tune called “Rakes of Mallow“. It also made its way to England and when the English were ruling India, I guess the English and the local Indian musicians were playing and learning from each other musically. I knew it on the fiddle and Anwar knew it slightly differently on the sitar. In India they have been calling it “Band Sargham” and our two interpretations of the tune totally matched and locked in together”.

“There are a lot of musicians out there but it’s a rare thing to find another musician where there’s a communication that’s above words…one of us can start playing something and the other two get it”, says Sultans co-founder and guitarist non-pareil, Kevin Laliberté.

Adds Khurshid, “there is this musical connection between us, but what I noticed the first time I came here and I played with you guys, was this wonderful humanity and generosity… such a nice welcome that you had for me. It was really soul-enhancing.”

The band will be touring non-stop in 2015 and 2016 in support of Subcontinental Drift (full schedule below).


“Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic!” ~ Bob Ezrin (Producer–Pink Floyd. Kiss)

“The blending expands the potential reach of the group…while offering a wonderful experience for this travelling band of merry music-making men to cross their music with yet another genre.” ~ Toronto Star

“This Canadian quintet performs an international mix of styles, from Spanish flamenco to Gypsy jazz to Latin rumba, combining ace musicianship and craft with an infectious enthusiasm for humanity’s shared heritage.” ~ Philly Metro

“Sultans of String are one of Canada’s hottest new musical exports, dynamically embodying their homeland’s values of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures. … they weave a gorgeously-hued tapestry of Folk, Spanish, Arabic, Latin, French and gypsy strands.” ~ International Celtic Connections Festival, UK
“If there’s a string, chances are these guys can tear it up!” ~ Vue Weekly

“Since they started out working as an instrumental duo, violinist Chris McKhool and guitarist Kevin Laliberte have kept adding players and guests, even occasional singers. But whether it’s four or 40, the band taps an irrepressible enthusiasm.” ~ Calgary Herald

“A new fusion of roots and classical…the results are mind blowing.  Even though the instrumentation is different, 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… any fan of world beat or contemporary instrumental music is sure to absolutely flip for this gem.  Hot stuff throughout and a sure bet to notch a Juno and any other award winning hardware to come its way.” ~ Midwest Record, Chicago

“What this band does is not only good fun, it’s stocked wall-to-wall with irresistible international musics – gypsy jazz classics, flamenco music, Inuit melody, ukulele raveups, visiting musicians from the Chieftains…Lebanese music, you name it. If it’s got strings and fingerboards, count them in. What they never forget to provide, though, is enough melodic charm to beguile almost anyone.” ~  Buffalo News


• 2015 JUNO nominees – Instrumental Album of the Year
• 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 Album & 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 Artist/Group
• 2009 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) First Place Winners – 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

Subcontinental Drift by Sultans of String with Anwar Khurshid


Aug 5 — 10pm Live on KPFA Radio, California
Aug 6 — 8:00pm, Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, California
Aug 7 — morning show, live on KMAX TV, West Sacramento, California
Aug 7 — 7:30pm,  Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center, Auburn, California
Aug 8 — 8:00pm, Sutter Creek Theatre, Sutter Creek, California
Aug 9  — noon, San Jose Jazz Festival, San Jose, California
August 28 — 7:30pm, St Paul’s United Church, Midland ON, with special guest sitar master Anwar Khurshid
August 29 — 7:30pm, Meaford ON, Meaford Hall Arts and Culture Centre, 877-538-0463 with special guest sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Sept 11 — Showcasing at Arts Midwest conference, Kansas City, Missouri
Sept 12 — 7:30pm, Opera House at Boothbay Harbour, Maine
Sept 13 — The Grand, Ellsworth, Maine
Sept 19 – 5:00pm Brantford Jazz Festival, Brantford ON
Sept 19 — 8:00pm The Registry Theatre, Kitchener ON, featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Sept 26 — Branches and Roots Festival, Ormstown QC
Oct 1 — Nineteen on the Park, Lebovic Centre, Stouffville ON, featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Oct 2 — 8:00pm, Capitol Theatre, Port Hope ON, featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Oct 15 — 8:00pm, Agora des Arts, Rouyn-Noranda QC
Oct 17 — 7:30pm, North Bay Symphony, North Bay, ON
Oct 23-24-25 — Showcasing at Alberta Contact, Shell Theatre, Dow Centennial Centre, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Oct 27 — Education shows w Anwar Khurshid for students, Flato Markham Theatre, Markham ON
Oct 28 — Education shows w Anwar Khurshid for students, Flato Markham Theatre, Markham ON
Oct 30 — 8:00pm, Trinity St Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, CD release featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Nov 7 — 8:00pm, Aeolian Hall, London, ON, CD release featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Nov 13 — 8:00pm, Meadowvale Theatre, Mississauga ON, CD release featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Nov 14-15 — Official Showcase at NERFA North American Folk Alliance Conference, Kerhonkson NY w/ sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Nov 19 — 8:00pm, Ironwood, Calgary, AB
Nov 20 — Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Centre, Camrose, AB
Nov 21 — 7:30pm Shell Theatre, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Nov 22 — 2:00pm, Shell Theatre young audience show, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Nov 22 — 7:30pm, Maclab Centre, Leduc AB
Dec 12 — Christmas Fiesta! Symphony concert w/ Cathedral Bluffs Symphony Orchestra, PC HO Theatre, Toronto ON


Jan 24 — 7:30pm, Performing Arts Lakefield, Lakefield, ON
Feb 5 —  Nelson Odeon, CD Release,, Nelson NY, featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Feb 6 — Oswego Music Hall, CD Release, Oswego NY, featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
Feb 28 — Claude Parlour Music, CD Release, Caledon ON featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
April 1 — Pawling Concert Series, Pawling NY
April 8 — 10:00 AM Student show, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Burlington ON
April 8 — 8:00 PM Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Burlington ON
April 23 — with Sault Ste. Marie Symphony, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
April 24 — with Sault Ste. Marie Symphony, Elliot Lake, ON
April 29, Largo Cultural Center, Florida
April 30 —  (7:30pm & 9:30pm) , South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Cutler Bay, Florida
May 1 — Cafe Moka, Tavernier, Florida
May 13 — NAC National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage, CD Release featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid
August 6 — Barrie Rhythmfest, Barrie ON
August 7 — Music at Fieldcote, Ancaster ON, featuring sitar master Anwar Khurshid


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Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications  416-624-3466 | 416-846-6877 (cell)