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artsfile chats with Sultans of String leader Chris McKhool

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The Christmas album has almost become a banal cliche. But not to Ottawa native Chris McKhool and his band of merry music makers, the Sultans of String. For these players, it's go big or go home every time out and so this season they have released an 18-song CD with a string of guest artists that includes the Panamanian star Rubén Blades, the a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, the patriarch of Celtic music Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, Alex Cuba, along with an orchestra from the Czech Republic.

The Sultans are currently on their Christmas Caravan tour and will play in a sold out concert in Ottawa Dec. 18 at the NAC. But before the show ARTSFILE had a chance to chat with McKhool about the concert and the album. "We thought it would be really fun to bring the energy and drive of world music rhythms to the Christmas songs that people like to hear" at this time of year, he said.

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