Sultans of String are crowdfunding this very important project
If you’ve been at all perturbed by the demonization of immigrants, migrants and refugees that has been going on recently in many western nations, you’re not alone.
Chris McKhool and the Sultans of String believe in using their art to go beyond just music, and on this new recording, they are recognizing the superbly valuable talents and contributions that come to us in musicians who arrive from beyond political borders.
The band is currently hard at work and in the midst of a campaign to fund this project, to be called REFUGE, that welcomes the talents of 25 guest artists, most of whom are immigrants to North America, or who come from communities of persecuted peoples.
Said Chris: “Our guests are out of the park, including collaborations with Indigenous Elder Dr. Duke Redbird – along with Twin Flames, Somali spoken word artist Ifrah Mansour, Yasmin Levy, and many, many more.”
“The Power of the Land” is an original poem by Duke Redbird that Chris and company are setting to music for the recording. Also collaborating on this piece is the duo Twin Flames, two Indigenous performers who bring powerful tribal musical influences from their First Nations and Inuit heritages.
Other guests on the album form a veritable musical feast of performers who hail from all over the world: Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Pakistan, Madagascar, Greece, Turkey, Colombia, Algeria, Somalia, Syria, Portugal, Hungary, Mexico, Cuba, Sudan, USA, and Israel. Talk about a musical cornucopia.
“This is a project that is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to the USA and Canada. We are bringing in special guests that are newcomers to this land, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. We wish to celebrate the successes of those who make the journey here and bring their extraordinary talents with them – in this case music.
“This recording is part of a larger project the band has undertaken to fundraise and raise awareness for the UN Refugee Agency. We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. One person is forcibly displaced almost every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution.”
One of those displaced people is Ahmed Moneka, actor and musician. He came to Canada as a refugee from Iraq after working on a documentary about human rights for LGBTQ people. Over the course of five years, Ahmed has become fluent in English, has embraced performing both as a singer and actor; is currently performing in Shakespearean plays; and is finding his way beautifully in this completely new culture. The Toronto arts community has embraced Ahmed, and he hopes to pay that welcome forward.
Ahmed’s task as a refugee was to find a way to live between your memories and your future. That sentiment formed the lyrical idea for “Imad’s Dream,” possibly the most emotional and evocative piece of music on this album.
Ahmed’s is just one story of many behind what will certainly become one of the most stunningly beautiful and relevant recordings to be released in the coming year.
Please help the band bring their ideas to fruition in the studio:
REFUGE includes the following talented musicians and performers:
Ahmed Moneka – IRAQ / CAN
Amir Amiri – IRAN / CAN
Anh Phung – VIETNAM / CAN
Anwar Khurshid – PAKISTAN / CAN
Béla Fleck – USA
Donné Roberts – MADAGASCAR / CAN
Demetrios Petsalakis – GREECE / CAN
Duke Redbird – OJIBWE ELDER / CAN
Edmar Castaneda – COLOMBIA / USA
Fethi Nadjem – ALGERIA / CAN
Gundem Yayli Grubu – TURKEY
Ifrah Mansour – SOMALIA / USA
Imad Al Taha – IRAQ / USA
Majd Sukar – SYRIA / CAN
Marito Marques – PORTUGAL / CAN
Michel DeQuevedo – MEXICO / CAN
Nagmeh Faramand – IRAN / CAN
Robi Botos – HUNGARY / CAN
Rosendo Chendy Leon – CUBA / CAN
Sammy Figueroa – PUERTO RICO / USA
Selcuk Suna – TURKEY / CAN
Twin Flames – INDIGENOUS / CAN
Waleed Abdulhamid – SUDAN / CAN
Yasmin Levy – ISRAEL