Sultans of String will perform Oct. 12 at the Museum of Making Music. From left are Kevin Laliberté, Chris McKhool and Drew Birston. Courtesy photo
Arts Arts Arts & Entertainment Carlsbad Cities Community Community News Region

Eclectic Canadian trio storms Museum of Making Music

CARLSBAD — It is one of the oldest forms of storytelling and over time has evolved and incorporated new methods of instruments, melodies and more to music lovers the world over.

And for one Canadian band, their art form sings the tales of their travels, people they’ve met and musical inspirations from the Middle East to Flamenca. Those influences have led to numerous awards and climbed the ladder of the charts to enthusiastic fans.

The Sultans of String bring their eclectic sound to the Museum of Making Music on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.

“It’s a mish-mash of different styles,” said guitarist Kevin Laliberté. “Imagine a bunch of aging rockers interpreting world music.”

The group formed 10 years ago, although when Chris McKhool and Laliberté met 17 years ago at jazz gigs in Toronto. From there, they added Drew Birston, Rosendo Leon on percussions and Eddie Pheon as another guitarist and began touring, mostly in Canada, the U.S. and United Kingdom.

At the Carlsbad show, though, the audience will hear McKhool, Laliberté and Birston knock out their set, showcased by McKhool’s skills on the violin, while Laliberté plays the acoustic guitar and Birston on bass.

“Over the decades, I’ve worked with numerous top 10 and No. 1 Billboard artists,” said manager Dave Wilkes. “In all that time, I have not worked with composers more talented than McKhool and Laliberté from Sultans of String. Not only are they a superb writing team, they are also amazing arrangers and performers.”

The band has produced six albums and are working on their seventh, though much of the new material will not be played at their Carlsbad show.

“The common theme that people say to us after the show is that we’re looking like we’re having such fun, it’s really infectious,” Laliberté said. “We take music very seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. We try to have a lot of fun on stage.

The band takes gives its audiences a passport of world music such as Celtic reels, Gypsy-jazz, Arabic and Cuban rhythms, violin dances with kinetic guitar and robust bass play. Their sound of acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry creates layers and depth of sound.

In addition, Sultan of String incorporate Latin America, fiddling traditions from Canada, Ireland and Scotland, although the band does tip their cap to The Who or Led Zeppelin.

“It’s acoustic slash interpretation of music from around the globe,” Laliberté said.

Birston said engaging the audience on an emotional level has been one of the keys to the band’s success.

“We tell a lot of stories in our show, various stories about Canada, people we’ve met,” Birston said. “We’re sharing a lot of different experiences from world music and we tie those in with real stories from real people we’ve encountered.”

The band’s music has hit No. 1 across Canada on Top 10 national radio charts, No. 6 on the Billboard world music chart and received multiple awards and accolades.

Tickets for the show are $25 for general admission and $30 for premium seats.

“We engage the audience with storytelling and then the song,” Birston added. “We like to engage the audience, in terms of that fun element, with clapping. We have fun with ourselves and with the audience.”

Leave a Comment