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CD REVIEW: Sultans of String - Yalla Yalla!
By Don Sechelski - 11/22/2011 - 03:36 PM EST

Artist: Band:Sultans of Swing
Album: Yalla Yalla!
Genre: World
Sounds Like: nobody else
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Yalla Yalla, Tikal, Le Bisou
CD Review: Several months ago, I received the 2009 release, Yalla Yalla!, from the Sultans of String, a Toronto based instrumental group. I set it aside with intentions of writing a glowing review but life got in the way in the form of health problems. As I sit down now to review this wonderful CD, I understand theyíve released another album in the meantime. I canít wait to hear it but nevertheless, want to add my voice to the growing acclaim for this amazing group. Founded by violinist Chris Mckhool and guitarist Kevin Laliberte, Sultans of Swing is a joyous blend of world music styles ranging from Flamenco to Afro-Cuban with good measures of Arabic Folk and Gypsy Jazz ala Django Reinhardt thrown in for seasoning. This breathtaking concoction is evident on Yalla Yalla! as the band swirls through its paces. Mckhool and Laliberte are joined in the Sultans by Eddie Paton on nylon string guitar, Drew Birston on bass, and Rosendo Chendy Leon on percussion. Each member is a master of his instrument and the synergy of the group is almost overwhelming. The title track, Yalla Yalla! kicks off the CD. A whirling dervish of a tune with complex rhythms and intricate interplay, the listener is transported to a Bedouin tent surrounded by dancing beauties. Another favorite of mine is Tikal, a gentle waltz highlighted by Mckhoolís six string violin and guest performer George Gao on erhu. Iím looking forward with great anticipation to hearing the bandís newest release, MOVE. Hint, hint, guys. In the meantime, Iíll try not to wear out my copy of Yalla Yalla! as I play it for all my friends.

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