Sultans of String are bringing their Christmas Caravan World Music Tour to the ACT Dec. 7. (Contributed)

Sultans of String bring world music and Christmas together at the ACT in Maple Ridge

The Christmas Caravan World Music Tour takes place Dec. 7.

Three time Juno Award nominees and three time Canadian Folk Music Award winners Sultans of String are bringing their holiday act to Maple Ridge.

They will be performing hits form their Billboard charting and New York Times acclaimed CD, Christmas Caravan.

Christmas Caravan was recorded and co-produced with Juno Award winning engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey.

The album embraces orchestration and pop with a stellar cast of guest musicians including Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, Ruben Blades and Luba Mason, jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante, all-woman, African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, Cameroon’s Richard Bona, Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell, singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid and hang drum player David Charrier from France.

“We wanted to make a real contribution to the Christmas repertoire, and hopefully create some new standards,” bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool said.

“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,” added the Queens Diamond Jubilee recipient.

Sultans of String formed 14 years ago and pride themselves on playing rhythms and grooves from around the world.

One of my McKhool’s favourites tracks is Turkish Greensleeves because they had the opportunity to collaborate with a collective of Turkish Roma string players.

“They brought the song to a whole other place, a whole other world which we couldn’t have done on our end. Same with Silent Night and the hang drum playing of David Charrier, or Neil Gow’s Lament and the pennywhistle playing of Paddy Moloney. The strength of the guests and being able to collaborate with them is what really makes this album shine,” he said.

Sultans of String bring their Christmas Caravan World Music Tour to the ACT, 11944 Haney Place, downtown Maple Ridge, at 8 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Tickets are $38 premium, $33 preferred and $28 orchestra.

• For more information call 604-476-2787 or go to theactmapleridge.org.

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