Sultans of String

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Sultans of String
Sultans of String 2015.jpg
Sultans of String in 2015
Background information
OriginToronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresWorld, instrumental
MembersChris McKhool
Kevin Laliberté
Eddie Paton
Drew Birston
Chendy Leon

Sultans of String are an instrumental music group based in Toronto, Ontario, combining elements of Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz.[1][2] The group's leader is award-winnning producer and Canadian musician Chris McKhool.


Founding members Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté began performing together in 2004, seeing potential in the combination of McKhool's six-stringed violin and Laliberté's flamenco guitar.[3] Their complex rhythms and melodies translated well to the stage, and they soon began recording and touring with a full band. They performed at festivals and events around Ontario.

In 2007 The Sultans of String released their first album, Luna.[3] That year they won a 2007 Musique du Monde Award and an Ontario Independent Music Award for Best Song and Best Instrumental. They were named Best Latin Jazz Group by Exclusive Magazine, and were nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award (Best Instrumentalist Group)[4] and a Toronto Independent Music Awards (World Music).

In 2008 Luna was a #1 hit across Canada on Top Ten national radio charts – “International” & ” World/Folk” categories. That year the band won the International Songwriting Competition (instrumental), and was named Best Variety Act by Festivals & Events Ontario. The band were finalists for the International Independent Music Award for Best World Fusion Song.[5]

In 2009 the band released their album Yalla Yalla. They were nominated for three Canadian Folk Music Awards, winning Instrumental Group of the Year, and in the finals for Ensemble of the Year and Pushing the Boundaries[4] They once again won the instrumental category of the International Songwriting Competition. Exclusive named them Artist of the Year and their album Best Toronto World CD.[5] In 2010 they were nominated as Favourite World Artist/Group at the Canadian Independent Music Awards. Yalla Yalla was nominated for a 2010 JUNO Award as Instrumental Album of the Year.[6]

In 2011 Yalla Yalla was a finalist for an Independent Music Award in two categories, Instrumental Album and World Beat Album.[7] Two of the band's songs, ”Auyuittuq Sunrise” and ”Gardens Of Lebanon”, were nominated for ISC International Songwriting Competition awards.[8] In May that year the band's album MOVE was released.

Move appeared on the !earshot Campus and Community National Top 50 Albums chart in January, 2012.[9] That year the band won a Canadian Folk Music Award as World Music Group of the Year[10] and were nominated for Instrumental Group of the Year and Pushing The Boundaries [10] McKhoo was nominated as Producer of the Year. [10] The band were 2012 OCFF Songs of the Heart winners[11] and Festivals & Events Entertainers of the Year.

In 2013 the band's track “Monti’s Revenge” won the ISC International Songwriting Competition[12] and was named a Song of the Heard winner by Folk Music Ontario[11] The band was also named Festivals & Events Performer of the Year and nominated for a SiriusXM Canadian Indie Award. McKhool was presented with a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. Also in 2013 the band released an album, Symphony!.

In 2014 the band was named World Group of the Year at the SIRIUSXM Independent Music Awards.[13] Their song "Josie" was named Instrumental Song of the Year at the 2014 IMA Independent Music Awards, and McKhool and Rebecca Pellett were given the Vox Pop Award for production of Symphony!.

Symphony! was nominated for a 2015 JUNO Award, [14] and the band won a 2015 Toronto Independent Music Award for World Music.[15] That year The Sultans of Swing independently released the album Subcontinental Drift.[16] This album was made in collaboration with sitarist Anwar Khurshid; in 2016 the band performed a concert in Ottawa showcasing their collaboration.[17]

In 2017 the band released an album of Christmas music, Christmas Caravan. They toured across Canada in support of the album.[18]


  • Luna (May 2007)
  • Yalla Yalla (May 2009)
  • MOVE (September 2011)
  • "Symphony!" (September 2013)
  • "Subcontinental Drift" (September 2015)


guest contributors include:


  1. ^ "Independent Music Awards". Independent Music Awards. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  2. ^ "Album Review: Christmas Caravan Sultans of String". Mainly Piano, Review by Kathy Parsons, December 22, 2017
  3. ^ a b Elizabeth Yates (2008-11-13). "Ambassadors of Musical Diversity" (PDF). Brantford Expositor. Retrieved 2011-08-25. (needs link to original source)
  4. ^ a b Mike Devlin (January 26, 2009). "The World in One Band" (PDF). Calgary Herald, 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2011-08-25. (needs link to original source)
  5. ^ a b Vernette Kim Mannix (2007-11-09). "Hipsters' Improv Jazz fusion earns award nominations" (PDF). Ottawa Metro. Retrieved 2011-08-25. (needs link to original source)
  6. ^ "Sultans of String (2010 Juno Award Nominees)". Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  7. ^ "Sultans of String". Independent Music Awards. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  8. ^ "International Songwriting Competition". Retrieved 2011-08-25.
  9. ^ "The National Top 50 For the Week Ending: Tuesday, January 3, 2012". !earshot.
  10. ^ a b c "Results 2012". Canadian Folk Music Awards. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  11. ^ a b "Songs From The Heart Past Winners". Folk Music Ontario. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  12. ^ "Previous Winners". International Songwriting Competition. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  13. ^ "2014 Nominees/Winners". SiriusXM Indies. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  14. ^ "Nominees 2015". The JUNO Awards. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  15. ^ "TIMA 2015 Nominees (Applicants from 2014-15)". Toronto Independent Music Awards. Archived from the original on 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  16. ^ "Subcontinental Drift - Sultans of String; Anwar Khurshid". The Whole Note, Tiina Kiik, 26 October 2015
  17. ^ "Sitar, violin, guitar & cajon entice the audience at high-energy Sultans of String show". Ottawa Jazz Scene, by Alayne McGregor 20 April 2016
  18. ^ "Sultans of String Christmas Caravan". Exclaim!, By Jason Parker Quinton, Nov 30, 2017

External links[edit]