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Sultans of String 'Asi Soy' by Yasmin Levy / folk radio video premeie

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There is no denying that Internationally awarded and honoured Canadian quintet Sultans of String celebrate diversity and creativity with a warmth and virtuosity. On Subcontinental Drift you could hear influences that included Indian classical, Spanish Flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Gypsy-jazz. In our interview with founding band member Chris McKhool, he said "I feel so lucky to live here in Canada. The music scene here in Toronto provides so much inspiration for me, with music coming here from all around the globe." He added "Both Rosendo ‘Chendy' Leon, our Cuban percussionist and Anwar Khurshid, our sitar player, are immigrants to Canada and very grateful to have found a home here."

For their latest album ‘Refuge', we find them extending that philosophy as they collaborate with over 30 musicians, including Yasmin Levy, Béla Fleck, Robi Botos, Ifrah Mansour, Demetrios Petsalakis, Imad Al Taha, Amir Amiri, Sammy Figueroa, Twin Flames, and many others on a wide-ranging treatise on displaced peoples, Refuge.

On this visionary seventh album, Sultans of String bring their unique brand of musical synergy and collaboration to bear on 13 songs that speak to the challenges facing the world's displaced peoples–their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.

On track #11, Asi Soy (This is Me), the band combined songwriting with Yasmin Levy, an acclaimed Israeli artist known for her twist on Sephardic songs. The musical tradition came from her father who recorded and preserved folk songs in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language that emerged in the territories of the ancient Ottoman Empire after Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492. 

Sultans of String raise awareness and funds while on tour for the UN Refugee Agency. They have raised over $8000 in 2020 to help provide medical supplies and attention, clean water, and shelter to some of the 70 million displaced peoples around the globe.