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ITHACA, NY – Two time JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nominees & SiriusXM Award winners SULTANS OF STRING make a much anticipated stop at music hotspot HANGAR THEATRE on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 to release their new CD, “Subcontinental Drift”.

Known for spotlighting treasured special guests from around the world, including The Chieftains’ Paddy Moloney on their last CD, Sultans of String are particularly excited about this east-meets-west offering.

“There is something really magical about joining world music rhythms that we often play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East”, says bandleader/fiddler Chris McKhool.  Yet, Subcontinental Drift is more than a genre-hopping passport – it is a musical promise that embraces differences while finding common ground across culture, land, and time.

The Sultans of String (provided photo).

Ambassadors of musical diversity Sultans of String thrill their audiences with their global sound-tapestry of East Coast celtic, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and Gypsy-jazz, celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity. Fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar, while the rhythm section lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound.

Since forming 8 years ago, Sultans of String have been on an impressive trajectory with an astonishing number of awards and accolades in tow, including 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards, a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal (for McKhool), and 1st place in the ISC (out of 15,000 entries).

The band is led by 6-string violinist McKhool (Jesse Cook, Pavlo) who grew up in a Lebanese-Egyptian house bursting with music and diversity. Growing up, Chris was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality alongside Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons. At the core of the band’s sound is his bold and fiery fiddle, melded seamlessly with founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s (Jesse Cook) rumba rhythm– together their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. Added to this rich foundation for the Ithaca performance is in-the-pocket bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk) and jaw-dropping percussionist, Chendy Leon (Parachute Club, Alex Cuba).

The band’s US manager and acclaimed promoter David Wilkes (Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker) states, “Over the decades, I’ve worked with numerous top ten and #1 Billboard artists. In all that time, I have not worked with composers more talented than Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté from Sultans of String. Not only are they a superb writing team, they are also amazing arrangers & musicians.

The band has a non-stop tour schedule in support of Subcontinental Drift.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.