Folk Roots Radio Episode 544: feat. Sultans of String – Refuge (Covid Times) & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 544: feat. Sultans of String - Refuge (Covid Times) & More New Releases

We’re bringing another of our Covid Times interviews to Episode 544 of Folk Roots Radio – an opportunity for artists to chat about how the coronavirus pandemic has upended their music careers. This time around we are joined by Chris McKhool, violinist and band leader of world folk combo, Sultans of String, who released a fabulous new recording “Refuge” earlier this year – an album that highlights the extraordinary contributions that indigenous people, immigrants and refugees make to culture and life in North America. Sultans of String were supposed to be out on tour across both North America and the UK this year. None of that has been able to happen which is why we encourage all our listeners – if you like the music you hear on this show, buy the music, don’t just stream it! That way, you can really make a difference in artists lives during a period that they can’t be out on the road. We also check out more of the latest new releases, and this time around we hear from Ruston Kelly, Will Kimbrough, The Bodarks and Vi Wickam and Paul Anastasio. Check out the full playlist below.


According to Chris McKhool, violinist and leader of Sultans of String “the goal of the Refuge project is to highlight the extraordinary contributions of those that have arrived here from around the globe, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you, featuring special guests from First Nations, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Syria, Mexico, Portugal, Cuba, and Sudan.”

Refuge features collaborations with over 30 musicians including Béla Fleck, Robi Botos, Ifrah Mansour, Demetrios Petsalakis, Imad Al Taha, Amir Amiri, Duke Redbird and Twin Flames.

A video version of our interview with the Sultans of String’s Chris McKhool will be coming to our sister show, the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions alongside the videos for the songs used in this episode (below). You can find the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions online at

For more information about the Sultans of String, visit

If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!


You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)


Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Ruston Kelly
Shape & Destroy (2020, Rounder Records)

Will Kimbrough
The Late Great John Prine Blues
Spring Break (2020, Self)

The Bodarks
Long Gone Suzie
Side Effects (2020, Self)

Vi Wickam and Paul Anastasio
Weiser Stomp
Swinging at the Savoy (2020, Wickam Music)

Sultans of String
I Am A Refugee (feat. Ifrah Mansour)
Refuge (2020, Self) CDN

Interview: Chris McKhool (Sultans of String) discussing their latest album “Refuge”.

Sultans of String
The Power Of The Land (feat. Duke Redbird & Twin Flames)
Refuge (2020, Self) CDN

Sultans of String
Asi Soy (feat. Yasmin Levy)
Refuge (2020, Self) CDN

Sultans of String
I’m Free (feat. Waleed Abdulhamid)
Refuge (2020, Self) CDN

Ruston Kelly
Hallelujah Anyway
Shape & Destroy (2020, Rounder Records)

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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