Shannon Thunderbird & Sultans Of String Soar With Black Winged Raven

The global roots band offer another single from their LP Walking Through The Fire.

Sultans Of String and Shannon Thunderbird take orchestrated flight with their new collaboration Black Winged Raven — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

The latest single from Sultans Of String’s recent album Walking Through The Fire, Black Winged Raven is a foot-stomping barnburner featuring Ts’msyen artist Thunderbird, originally from the Pacific Northwest B.C. coast’s Gilut’sau Band of the Royal House of Niis’gumiik, Gispudwada (Orca) Clan. The lyrics are sung in Sm’algyax, with the music beautifully arranged with Sultans of String and the epic strings of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Raven is the culture hero of the Pacific Northwest Indigenous People,” explains Thunderbird, whose fireside chats, lectures, and original music open the minds and hearts of audiences to the rich culture and history of Canada’s Indigenous people. “My sister Kate and I grew up with the stories of Raven. He is a very robust character that our people, the Coast Ts’msyen love and respect — to this day we listen to these stories.”

Raven was responsible for organizing the world that was in chaos at the time “and it led to me writing a tribute to him because he is a champion problem solver, and he changed the world through humour, and contemplation and logical action, and he put all of nature in all of the places that we know of today,” says Thunderbird. “And we are so excited to play this live with orchestras on this tour!”

Indeed, Sultans Of String will be joined by Indigenous collaborators, live on stage with Stratford, Niagara, Brantford, and Winnipeg symphony orchestras. “One of the things we have been working on is to increase capacity within Canadian orchestras to include Indigenous voices on stage,” says Sultans Of String bandleader and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee recipient Chris McKhool.

“This is our first major foray into this rich and important repertoire, with the help of the Sultans,” explains Bradley Thachuk, music director of the Niagara Symphony. “We could not be more thrilled to bring this concert to the stage on the weekend of Truth and Reconciliation.”

“The orchestral material is beautifully done,” adds William Rowson, music director of the Stratford Symphony. “We are always looking for ways to have meaningful collaborations with Indigenous artists and this show came as a way to participate with our artistry in a way that feels really great.”

Philip Sarabura of Brantford Symphony agrees: “Arts organisations across Canada are trying to find ways to connect with Indigenous communities, we are really keenly aware that this is something that we should be doing more of. All of the people in our community can come experience this incredible culture, in conjunction with symphony orchestra.”

For this track, Indigenous collaborators Kate Dickson, Marc Meriläinen, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuck and others join on the chorus, while more Indigenous collaborators from Walking Through The Fire make cameo appearances in the video, with more joining the live concerts.

Sultans Of String Tour Dates

With Leela Gilday, The North Sound, Don Ross, Shannon Thunderbird, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk, Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan), and a multimedia extravaganza including Northern Cree, Kendra Tagoona, Tracey Sarazin, Duke Redbird and more.

Sept. 28 – Markham Flato Markham Theatre
Sept. 29 – Stratford Stratford Symphony
Sept. 30 – St Catharines Niagara Symphony
Oct. 1 – St Catharines Niagara Symphony
Oct. 2 – St Catharines FirstOntario PAC Education show
Oct. 3 – Brantford Brantford Symphony
Oct. 4 – Lindsay Flato Academy Theatre

With Shannon Thunderbird, Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk, Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan), and a multimedia extravaganza including Northern Cree, Kendra Tagoona, Tracey Sarazin, Duke Redbird and more.

Oct. 10 – Sudbury Café Heritage (Education & evening shows)
Oct. 11 – North Bay Capital Centre
Oct. 12 – Timmins Timmins Museum, O’Gorman HS
Oct. 13 – Geraldton Geraldton Concert Series
Oct. 14 – Thunder Bay Sleeping Giant Folk Music Society
Oct. 15 – Dryden Dryden Entertainment Series
Oct. 16 – Sioux Lookout Sioux Hudson Entertainment Series
Oct. 17 – Red Lake Red Lake Entertainment Series
Oct. 18 – Kenora Lake of the Woods Concert Group
Oct. 19 – Fort Frances Tour de Fort Entertainment Series
Oct. 22 – Burlington Burlington PAC
Oct. 23 – Burlington Burlington PAC (Education show)
Nov. 12 – Walkerton Victoria Jubilee Hall

Jan. 19 – Ottawa Centerpointe Theatre
Jan. 23 – Kingston Kingston Grand Theatre (Education & evening shows)
Jan. 25 – Brampton Rose Theatre (Education & evening shows)
Jan. 30 & 31 – Guelph River Run Centre (Education show)
Feb. 1 – Guelph River Run Centre (Education & evening shows)
March 2 & 3 – Winnipeg – Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
April 15 & 16 – Markham Flato Markham Theatre (Education show)

Find tickets for all shows HERE, listen to Walking Through The Fire HERE, order a CD HERE, watch Sultans Of String’s latest videos above, sample more from the group below, and fly over to their website, Twitter and Facebook.


Photo by Kevin Kelly.

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