Welcome to another hour of festive music for the holidays. Folk Roots Radio at Christmas features a selection of mostly new and original holiday music by independent artists, who hope to bring something new to a genre that’s often criticized as being a vapid and uninspiring marketing tool for a consumer culture, that, let’s be honest, goes mad during the holiday season. With that in mind, we’re also including an interview with Chris McKhool, the leader of world music combo, Sultans Of String, who talks enthusiastically and engagingly about their new spin on seasonal music, “Christmas Caravan”, which really attempts to bring something new to holiday standards many people see as tired, boring and, dare I say it, rather predictable. So here it is. Stoke up the fire, pour yourself some egg nog, settle down in your favourite chair and enjoy! Check out the full playlist below.
Canadian world folk supergroup the Sultans of String have just released their first holiday album, “Christmas Caravan”. Turning the notion of holiday music completely on its head, the new album, recorded and co-produced with JUNO Award winning engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey, features Quebecois fiddle tunes and collaborations with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jumps from a classic Andrews Sisters holiday sound, to a Himalayan sleigh ride, African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony. You name it, its in there. To help celebrate the season, the band brought in an all star cast of guest musicians including six times Grammy winning Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason, platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante, African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, Cameroon’s Richard Bona, Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France. We caught up with Sultans of String fiddle maestro, Chris McKhool, at home in Toronto, to learn more about the new album. The Sultans of String will be touring the album across Canada in the run up to the holidays, including a visit to the Registry Theatre in Kitchener ON (December 1), the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto (December 2) and Aeolian Hall in London (December 3). Check out all the dates and visit the Sultans of String online at sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String, “Turkish Greensleeves”, “Himalayan Sleigh Ride” and “Hallelujah” from “Christmas Caravan” (2017, Self).
This week’s Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Australian roots band Perch Creek recorded just before this summer’s Hillside festival. Perch Creek are great fun, and put on a fabulous live show. It’s a great interview, and definitely worthing checking out – they even pulled out their instruments to play a song for us in their hotel room! As always we found time for a lot of new music we’ve received and kicked off a new weekly feature on the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards, taking place in Edmonton from November 6-8 2015.
The Sultans of String are about to release their latest album, “Subcontinental Drift”, a collaboration with sitar master Anwar Khurshid. To celebrate the release, Folk Roots Radio has been given two amazing prize packs to give away. Included in the prize pack are two tickets for the Saturday September 19 show at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener and a Sultans of String four-CD pack.
Want to get in on the draw to win this fabulous prize? Get in touch via the website, social media or an e-mail to jan[at]folkrootsradio.com. Good luck!
The Sultans of String are bringing their latest release, “Subcontinental Drift”, a collaboration with sitar master Anwar Khurshid (Oscar winning Life of Pi, Love Guru) to the Registry Theatre in Kitchener on Saturday September 19.
Sultans of String are a fabulous live band and a must-see for anyone who loves folk, world and jazz rhythms put through a blender and delivered with panache by a kick-ass string band. This promises to be a great show! Check out all the details and some comments from the band below.
This week’s Folk Roots Radio focuses on the upcoming Hillside Festival, taking place from July 24-26 at Guelph Lake. The show features interviews with Hillside Artistic Director Sam Baijal and Chris McKhool, the leader of the Hillside-bound Sultans of String. Hillside has something for everyone – a great mix of music, fabulous community workshops, a dedicated children’s area, an artisan village and great food… and there are still some weekend and day passes available. To learn more about the festival, visit hillsidefestival.ca – one of the best and most informative festival websites out there. Yet another thing that the Hillside Festival does very well indeed!
The Sultans of String brilliantly blend together Spanish Flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz musical influences to create a wonderfully rich cinematic sound that is almost intoxicating. The band is lead by 6-string violinist Chris McKhool who grew up in a Lebanese-Egyptian (Makhoul) family and guitarist Kevin Laliberté who write much of the material. Always pushing boundaries, their latest album “Symphony” (2013, Sony/Red) was recorded with a full orchestra while their new release, “Subcontinental Drift” (due in September) will feature sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid. Whether playing as a duo, five piece or with a full orchestra, their live show is something to behold – a fiery violin dances with a rumba-flamenco guitar while a bass lays down a funky unstoppable world rhythm groove that can’t help but bring a smile to your face as an irresistible urge forces you to get involved whether that is by clapping along or getting up to dance. They’re out on the festival circuit this summer including a visit to the Hillside Festival on July 26. We caught up with Chris McKhool at home in Toronto. For more information visit sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String “Road to Kfarmishki”, “Josie” (excerpt), “Luna” (excerpt) and “Monti’s Revenge” (excerpt) from “Symphony” (2013, Sony/Red).