Press Release: Sultans Of String's 'Christmas Caravan' Hits #6 on Billboard's World Music Chart!

by Missy Wolf / 189 days ago / Comments

SULTANS OF STRING’s CHRISTMAS CARAVAN Hits # 6 on Billboard’s World Music Chart!

 

In the first week of its release, Sultans of String’s first festive offering, Christmas Caravan, grabs the #6 spot on Billboard’s World Music charts.

 

With this genre-hopping disc, these 3x JUNO nominees/3x CFMA winning ambassadors of musical diversity have expanded the traditional notion of Christmas music, injecting it with new-found energy and non-traditional sounds. Recorded and co-produced with JUNO Award-winning engineer John ‘ Beetle' Bailey, this isn’t your typical holiday album. You may recognize a few titles, but you’ve never experienced seasonal music quite like this before.

Sultans of String’s acclaimed world music tapestry has been amplified on this release through its embrace of orchestration and pop, and spurred on by a stellar cast of guest musicians, bringing, even more, color to their lively palette. 

"We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards,” says bandleader/violinist and Queens Diamond Jubilee recipient Chris McKhool. "This is a Christmas album but approached from the perspective of a world-music band. We explored diverse genres, from Quebecois fiddle tunes to collaborating with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jump around from the classic sounds of the Andrews Sisters to a Himalayan sleigh ride, African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony." 

First, the band made a dream list of their favorite vocal artists to join in on this musical sleigh ride. Their holiday wish came true with 6x Grammy winning Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason (Panamanian 7 Grammy and 5 Latin Grammy Award winner), platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, 2x JUNO/Grammy Winner Alex CubaBenoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante (3x JUNOs, 4x Gold, 3x Platinum records), Sweet Honey in the Rock (Grammy winning all-woman, African-American a cappella group), Cameroon’s Richard Bona (Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock), Canada’s singer to the stars 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.

 

Why make a Christmas album for a band that has earned its street cred on performing music from diverse cultures? McKhool explains "My parents are from Lebanese and Egyptian backgrounds, and also celebrated Christmas in the home. So Christmas songs, as well as music from around the globe, were always part of my upbringing. With this record, we created the spiritual Christmas album I have always wanted to hear that honored this tradition, as well as bringing in diverse cultures. As a violin player, I also performed with string orchestras in my youth, so the icing on the cake was traveling to Prague to record with the City of Prague Symphony Orchestra!"

 

Adds McKhool, "One of my favorite tracks, Jesous Ahatonhia (The Huron Carol), is fascinating to me. I went back into the archives and found a direct transliteration of the original Huron-Wendat lyrics, which were written in the 1600s by St Jean de Brebeuf. This is Canada’s first Christmas carol, and while there are some complex issues around this song, it is of great historical significance. Now people can hear the intent of the original lyrics for the very first time. Ojibwe artist Crystal Shawanda vocal is so compelling on this song!"

 

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Sultans Of String Tour Dates

05/26/2018 ~ Zephyr House Concerts Mount Albert, Canada
05/30/2018 ~ Nighttown Cleveland Heights, OH
05/31/2018 ~ Ambrose West Asheville, NC
06/01/2018 ~ Fiddle & Bow Society Winston-Salem, NC
06/02/2018 ~ Songs From The Wood House Concerts Deep Gap, NC
06/03/2018 ~ Cameo Art House Theatre (pres. by Rooster’s Wife) Fayetteville, NC
06/07/2018 ~ Music in St. James Park Toronto, Canada
06/09/2018 ~ House Concert Houston, TX
06/10/2018 ~ Kerrville Folk Festival Kerrville, TX
06/30/2018 ~ Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival Rochester, NY
07/10/2018 ~ Vivez L’Experience Gatineau, Canada
07/16/2018 ~ Levitt AMP Utica Music Series @ Kopernik Park / Quartet Utica, NY
07/17/2018 ~ Jazz & More in the Park (Rotary Band Shell) Wasaga Beach, Canada
07/18/2018 ~ Aurora Bandshell Aurora, Canada
07/20/2018 ~ Elora Festival Elora, Canada
07/21/2018 ~ Home County Music Festival London, Canada
07/22/2018 ~ Home County Music Festival London, Canada
08/18/2018 ~ Forest Festival Haliburton, Canada
09/16/2018 ~ Westben Theatre Campbellford, Canada
10/20/2018 ~ Centre culturel de Beloeil Beloeil, Canada
10/21/2018 ~ THEATRE HECTOR-CHARLAND L'assomption, Canada
12/18/2018 ~ National Arts Centre / Centre national des Arts Ottawa, Canada

About Missy Wolf

Missy Wolf Co-Founder, Editor, Journalist

From an early age I knew music and entertainment were in my blood. I have always been enamored with the idea of being in this industry, though I never wanted to be a front and center "Star". Taking the audience behind the scenes for up close conversations with the artists they love is where I want to be. Life in lyrics has always been my style, so as my favorite country artist Wade Hayes sings, I am living my life and chasing my dreams! Conducting interviews, meeting talented people and sharing stories and adventure are my passion. My new favorite hashtag is #iaskyouanswer, so stay tuned for more interviews, articles and adventures!