Sultans of String and some musical guests jazz up the forecast with their new single and video for Weather Update — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The funky, upbeat collaboration with Madagascar vocalist Donné Roberts, flutist Anh Phung and Mexican-Canadian djembe master Michel DeQuevedo is part of the Juno-nominated world music collective’s brand-new album Refuge, which finds them working with over 30 musicians, including Béla Fleck, Robi Botos, Ifrah Mansour, Demetrios Petsalakis, Imad Al Taha, Amir Amiri, Sammy Figueroa, Twin Flames, and many others. On this visionary disc, Sultans of String bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on 13 songs that speak to the challenges facing the world’s displaced peoples — their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.
“Each one of us in the world has a remarkable story to tell,” says Sultans of String co-founder and violinist Chris McKhool. “We are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations that feature special guests from First Nations, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Syria, Mexico, Portugal, Cuba, and Sudan.
The internationally co-operative approach of Weather Update — which also includes Turkish saxophonist Selcuk Suna and violinist Suat Suna — is in keeping with Refuge‘s mission statement. Out today, the album is “centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to U.S.A./Canada,” says McKhool, whose Lebanese grandfather stowed away on a ship bound for North America a century ago. “We are bringing in guests that are newcomers to this land, as well as global ambassadors for peace. We wish to celebrate the successes of those who make the journey here, and bring their extraordinary talents with them. We hope the kinds of conversations we can have as musicians can provide a model for peace that our politicians and citizens find inspiration from.”
McKhool’s bold, fiery fiddle — melded seamlessly with founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s rumba rhythm — lead the group’s distinctive signature sound. Added to this rich foundation are bass master Drew Birston, guitar wizard Eddie Paton, and Cuban percussion Rosendo Chendy Leon. Together, their musical synergy has earned them three Juno Awards, four Canadian Folk Music Awards and many more accolades.
The five-piece recently marked their 12th anniversary as a band, which includes a dizzying series of award-winning releases, international touring at notable venues (including JUNOFest, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections, NYC’s Birdland, and selling out Koerner Hall several times over).