Sultans of String Single: "El Bint El Shalabeya"
This track El Bint El Shalabeya reinvents an ancient traditional Lebanese song, bringing in Syrian refugee Majd Sekkar, Algerian mandole player Fethi Nadjem, and Greek oud player Demetrios Petsalakis, who all now find their home in Canada. It is from the upcoming album REFUGE (releasing March 20, 2020), a project that is "centred around the positive contributions of refugees and new immigrants to U.S.A./Canada, " says bandleader Chris McKhool, whose Lebanese grandfather stowed away on a ship bound for North America a century ago. "We are bringing in guests that are newcomers to this land, as well as global abassadors for peace".
This very fresh arrangement of El Bint El Shalabeya is also a musical tribute to Dick Dale who passed away in March. Dale was known as "The King of the Surf Guitar" (which was also the title of his second studio album). Like Sultans of String violinist McKhool, Dale's father was of Lebanese descent from his father, who drew on Middle Eastern music scales in his arrangements. Sultans of String fleshed out this arrangement with the incredible string playing of GŁndem Yayli Grubu, a Turkish Roma string group in Istanbul.
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