World Music Album of the Year 2017

Sultans of String

Subcontinental Drift


World Music Album of the Year




Independent*Fontana North

There’s something essentially Canadian about Sultans of Strings’ Subcontinental Drift with its swirl of influences from Cuba, France, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Pakistan and Spain. Based in Toronto, they’ve grown increasingly ambitious, especially on 2014’s Symphony, and now, with the addition of Anwar Khurshid (sitar), they’ve transformed themselves again, expanding their reach to create a joyful mix of East and West.

You can hear it in an unlikely cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” sung in English/Urdu, but rooted in Afro-Indo-Caribbean rhythms. You can hear it in the trad-fiddle tune “Rakes of Mallow,” which was brought from Ireland to India two centuries ago, when it was adapted into a prayer to the Hindi goddess Meenakshi. You can hear it in Laliberté-McKhool tunes like “A Place to Call Home” and “A Heart Does What It Does,” which bring a subcontinental sensibility to North American singer-songwriting, with each side making the other stronger.

“Sultans of String succeeds brilliantly… they’ve found the freedom to put all these worlds together, performing with a spirit of playfulness, of openness, of warmth, that makes Subcontinental Drift such a beautiful surprise.” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine)