Music Review – Sultans of String


Album: Symphony! (link)

Artist: Sultans of String

After their launch seven years ago, Sultans of String continue to bring their entrancing and rhythmic instrumental sound to audiences across North America and around the world. The band has won many awards, including two Canadian Folk Music Awards, first place in the International Song Writing Competition, and even a Juno nomination. Symphony! is the band’s fourth album, and this time they combined their masterful rhythm and international sound with a full symphony orchestra. Accompanied by special guests Paddy Moloney of The Chieftans, Dala, Bassam Bishara, and James Hill, Symphony! has something for everyone.

Band leader and six string violinist Chris McKhool is joined by guitarists Kevin Laliberté and Eddie Paton, bass master Drew Birston, and Cuban master percussionists Chendy Leon and Alberto Suarez. Together, the Sultans of String have created a sound that captures the common voice found within music and demonstrate how music can bring people together.

Often compared to bands like Gipsy Kings and The Irish Rovers, Sultans of String blend Spanish Flamenco, Middle Eastern Folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz to create one of a kind music. By adding a full orchestra to add a sense of fullness to the sound the songs expand from simple rhythmic melodies to epic masterpieces. The music is dramatic, exciting, and, for those not typically not a fan of instrumental music, Symphony! is anything but ordinary.

Each song is distinctively different. The album begins with the track “Monti’s Revenge.” Quickly the listener will recognize that the musicians are telling a story with their music. The sound is theatrical, and, with a touch of imagination, a tale blooms forth from the music. The orchestra sets the stage and the masterful musicians bring the characters to life. The song is exhilarating and fun, but “Monti’s Revenge” is only the beginning of this astonishing album.

Need an escape to a warm and tropical land? The song “Palmas Sinfonia” combines flamenco with a dash of rhythm that will make you feel like You’re dancing on a sandy beach in some exotic location. Symphony! has a style of music for every taste. From songs like “Road to Kfarmiski” that will take you away to an ancient land, to “A Place to Call Home” which is imbued with an earthy harmony and a relaxed elegance that can be found in every home.

Sultans of String even venture to capture the music found outside of the human experience with the song “Luna.” Inspired by a killer whale and the legend that surrounds her, “Luna” incorporates the emotional violin and superb orchestra with the soul-stirring sounds of the killer whale.

Symphony! is a superb album that captures the essence of diversity found throughout the world, and by using music, Sultans of String bring together that diversity in an epic auditory celebration. This album is perfect for any occasion, whether studying, relaxing, or just as background music during a evening meal. Symphony! just needs to be heard, enjoyed, and shared with others.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.