Global ambassadors of musical diversity, Sultans of String, will shine a light on the plight of refugees during the Canadian Folk Music Awards with a screening of its documentary Sultans of String: The Refuge Project.
The screening takes place April 1 at 3 p.m.
Sultans’ Sanctuary album leads the CFMA nominations with four, and the film features music and interviews from Sanctuary and its sister album, Refuge.
The 1.5 hour screening will be followed by a fun Q&A with bandleader Chris McKhool and co-producer John “Beetle” Bailey, hosted by Michael Tymchuk.
Mixed in full Dolby Atmos, this ambitious, passionately political film puts group face-to-face with recent immigrants and refugees to Canada and the U.S., as well as essential Indigenous voices. All are masters of global music who communicate with each other through the universal language of music.
Together, they perform songs that speak to the challenges facing the world’s displaced peoples—their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.
Joined by an international cast, this three-time Juno-nominated band immerses itself in the plight of the international refugee, and the humanitarian response that should greet everyone in search of a home.
Chris, whose paternal grandfather was from Lebanon, explained, “The larger Refuge project is centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to Canada and the United States. 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. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you.”
The Refuge project features stellar performances by Iraqi refugees Ahmed Moneka and Imad Al Taha; Syrian refugee Leen Hamo; Malagasy guitarist Donné Roberts and his Japanese partner Yukiko Tsutsui; Algerian artist Fethi Nadjem; Colombian refugee Juan Carlos Medrano; Iranian tar player Padideh Ahrarnejad; Romani Nyckelharpa player Saskia Tomkins; Indian tabla player Ravi Naimpally; Pakastani sitar player Anwar Khurshid; Turkish string ensemble Gundem Yayli Grubu, and many more. It also includes an orchestral version of “The Power of the Land” featuring Indigenous performers Duke Redbird and Twin Flames.
“The true inspiration behind these albums and film is the incredible artists we get to collaborate with,” said Chris. “We learn so much from these diverse voices, and each one of them is so personally inspiring. As Ahmed Moneka, an artist and refugee from Iraq said, ‘Love is the main reason for a great future,” and we are so privileged to be able to collaborate with so many incredible voices on this project.”
The film is receiving industry recognition on the film festival circuit, including the Vancouver Independent Film Festival, Best Istanbul Film Festival, Paris Movie Festival, Montreal Independent, Hamburg Indie, Boston Independent, and Folk in Film Festivals.