Sultans of String to bring a musical Christmas Caravan to the Valley

World music to launch Christmas in the Columbia Valley

The Sultans of String are taking their Christmas Caravan on the road and making Invermere their first stop.

“We’re going to be taking people on a world music tour of Christmas songs,” said bandleader Chris McKhool. “The idea with Christmas Caravan is to bring the energy and the drive of the world music rhythms that we love to play to Christmas songs that people love to hear.”

The Sultans of String will play a Greensleeves collaboration developed with a traditional Turkish string ensemble and will perform Jingle Bells and The Little Drummer Boy like you’ve never heard them before. Listeners will also be treated to the sounds of a Himalayan sleigh ride, African roots music, Quebecois fiddle tunes, rumba flamenco, ska, the symphony and more.

Mr. McKhool, who has Lebanese and Egyptian heritage, grew up celebrating both Christmas and culture.

“Christmas songs as well as music from around the globe were always part of my upbringing,” he said. “With this record we created the spiritual Christmas album I have always wanted to hear that honoured this tradition, as well as bringing in diverse cultures.”

He also took The Huron Carol back to its roots. The classic song, which he said is “kind of the first Christmas carol” was originally written in the 1600s but the version people sing today underwent “a complete re-write of the lyrics.”

The Sultans of String dug through archives to find the original lyrics and had them translated and set to music “so people can hear the intention of that song for the very first time,” he said.

In addition to hearing holiday music from around the world and listening to an old classic as it was intended, audience members will also get to perform.

“There are a couple of songs that people will sing along with,” he said. “We love it when people sing along with us.”

Following the lead of Good King Wenceslas who blessed the less fortunate, the band supports UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency in Canada.

“As a world music band, we work with a lot of people who come to North America as refugees, as those fleeing persecution and as those seeking freedom,” he said. “We’re so lucky when we get to share music with people who come from other cultures, other countries.”

Sultans of String will donate ten per cent of all merchandise sales and will have UNHCR brochures and donation boxes at the show.

The Sultans of String caravan will arrive at Pynelogs Art Gallery and Cultural Centre on Thursday, November 29th.

The opening act – new Valley resident Nathan Lamb – starts at 6 p.m., with the Sultans of String bringing good tidings to you and your kin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available online at columbiavalleyarts.com.

The Pioneer is partnering with Sultans of String for two tickets and a CD giveaway! Enter the contest on our Facebook page, live now. Or drop in and we will add your name to the draw. Contest closes at 10 a.m. Monday, November 26th. See the Pioneer Facebook page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaValleyPioneer/.

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