Sultans of String April 2 at the Venables

The Sultans of String, with all their incredible talent and explosiveness, are coming to our magnificent theatre on Sunday, April 2. This is a change from the original scheduled performance, because they’ve been asked to attend the Juno Awards!

(From their press release) “Canada’s genre bending string slingers SULTANS OF STRING garner a JUNO nomination for World Music Album of the Year at the celebratory JUNOs Press Conference for their feast of raucous reels ragas ‘n’ rumbas, Subcontinental Drift, featuring special guest/sitar master Anwar Khurshid (Oscar-winning Life of Pi).

“We are honoured to receive this JUNO nomination for our new album! We could not have made this recording without the support of the whole Canadian roots community, and our special collaboration with Anwar”, states bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool. He adds, “there is something magical about joining world music rhythms that we often play, but with pop sensibilities and forms and lengths, and blending that with the music of the East.”

Yet Subcontinental Drift is more than a genre-hopping passport. It is a musical promise that embraces differences while finding common ground across culture, land, and time.

“Together we started writing songs about freedom and equality, and our hope of creating a better world. I feel in some way that these songs reflect our own personal hopes and journeys towards finding a world peace. This is a message that is needed more than ever at this time”.

The award nomination comes on the heels of the band’s whirlwind North American and UK Subcontinental Drifttours, including a special appearance organized by the High Commission at London’s Trafalgar Square. Distributed by Fontana North in Canada, the album hit #1 in Canada on Earshot’s international charts, top 10 on the American CMJ charts and top 15 on Billboard’s World Music charts in the U.S. It also got picked up for distribution in the U.S. by CEN/SONY and by Proper in Europe.

Sultans of String are celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band, criss-crossing North America and performing at many taste-making forums such as JUNOFest, legendary jazz club Birdland in NYC, and California’s hip music scene, including the San Jose Jazz Festival. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. Sultans of String were recently filmed by MPBN’s Maine Arts! in a feature concert, and performed live on BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, World Cafe, and on SiriusXM in Washington. The band has been on the road non-stop, and will make their debut in The Netherlands and mainland Europe this summer. 

They are currently recording a festive world-music-inspired Christmas Caravan CD featuring Canada’s singer to the stars Rebecca Campbell (Bruce Cockburn, Alanis Morissette, Emmylou Harris) and 5x Platinum selling Nikki Yanofsky, The Chieftains’ very own Paddy Moloney, JUNO winner Alex Cuba, Cameroon’s Richard Bona, Panamanian 7x Grammy/5x Latin Grammy winning Ruben Blades, and more.

Tickets are $40. Seating is assigned. This will be one of the most incredible music experiences of your life. You can afford the ticket and you cannot afford to miss this. Tickets are available on line at, at the Frank Venables Theatre box office or at Medici’s at 522 Fairview Road in Oliver…250-498-2228

Final concert will cap a great concert series

by Marion Boyd, South Okanagan Concert Society

Mark your calendar for Friday February 24th, when the Penderecki String Quartet performs in the final concert of the South Okanagan Concert Society winter season. In the second decade of an extraordinary career, this celebrated chamber ensemble’s performing schedule takes them annually to the great concert stages of North and South America, Europe and the Far East. Making up the prestigious quartet are Jeremy Bell, violin, Jerzy Kaplanek, violin, Christine Vlajk, viola, and Paul Pulford, cello. The quartet has collaborated with many eminent ensembles as well as with artists such as James Campbell and Janina Fialkowska who have thrilled audiences here in past years.

The concert will be at the temporary venue of the Oliver Alliance Church just north of Oliver at 7:30 pm. Tickets are on sale at Beyond Bliss Esthetics in Oliver, Imperial Office Pro in Osoyoos and at the door. This is the time to use up any remaining admissions on your flex pass and to bring your cheque book to catch the Early Bird prices for next season. Single admissions are $20 and students 17 and under are admitted free. This is a great opportunity to introduce the young musicians in your family to world class live music.

Sometimes people ask me why I love the concert series music so much. I decided to ask members of the audience what draws them. Here is what Brita Park told me:

“I’ve got this image of my recently immigrated parents in the early 50’s. My Dad had been working two jobs (16 hours a day) and had finally earned a bit more than was required for the daily food to feed a family of eight. My mother’s immediate thought was “New shoes for the kids!”. Too late! To her dismay, my father came home without the extra money. Instead he carried a beautiful record player and proudly chose one record from a stack of new LPs. The lively strains of a Strauss waltz filled the house, drifted over the porch and the orchard below. Father gallantly twirled my mother around the living room and we children joined in.

“Later my mother admitted that it was my father who had gauged the family needs correctly, not she. Our old shoes would have to do. It was the beautiful shared music of Strauss, Chopin, Mozart, Bach and Mendelssohn that lifted the family up, accompanying, sustaining, and delighting us through all our years of growing up.”

So come and share the beautiful music of the Penderecki String Quartet with others who love music. Allow yourself to be lifted up, sustained and delighted. Don’t be afraid of winter roads. Call Maureen at 250 495 7978 if you want to arrange transportation in the van. Join us. Come!