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Symphony hosting a sultanic weekend to kick off February

Chris McKhool performs “Fiddle Fire” with the Symphony of the Kootenays Sunday, Feb. 2. - Submitted
Chris McKhool performs “Fiddle Fire” with the Symphony of the Kootenays Sunday, Feb. 2.
— image credit: Submitted

The Symphony of the Kootenays will launch its new year and the month of February with a special couple of days featuring some special guests.

February 1 and 2 will be an exciting weekend for the Symphony, back from a year's hiatus with two successful concerts already under its belt, and and a winter and spring of 2014 that bodes to be a big draw.

Saturday, February 1, will see a performance by Juno Award nominess and two-time  CFMA winners the Sultans of String. The Sultans are kicking off their own new year with the release of their high octane worldbeat-symphonic mash-up, "Symphony!" at the Key City Theatre on February 1. And the Symphony of the Kootenays is joining them for this very special evening!

Known for dizzying roots music jams, poly-rhythms and revved up riffs, the Sultans of String sound can't be pinned down — it's Sable Island meets the Silk Road, with detours through the Gypsy-Jazz coffeehouses of Eastern Europe, next an East Coast Kitchen Party, then over to the majestic Arctic and the bustling markets of Lebanon. Fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar while a funky bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet with a symphony of sound deepened by world rhythms that inspire whole audiences to get up and dance.

The band is led by Juno-nominated 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (Jesse Cook, Pavlo) who grew up in a Lebanese-Egyptian (Makhoul) house bursting with music and diversity. Growing up, Chris was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality alongside Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons.

When McKhool first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté's rumba rhythm, their musical synerg created Sultans of String's signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar.

From this  foundation, the dynamic duo has grown, featuring such musical friends as 2nd guitarist Eddie Paton, bass master Drew Birston, and Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon, as well as special guests such as folk pop darlings Dala, The Chieftains' Paddy Moloney, ukulele giant James Hill, and others.

When McKhool first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté's rumba rhythm, their musical synergy created Sultans of String's signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. From this rich foundation, the dynamic duo has grown, featuring such amazing musical friends as 2nd guitarist Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk, Amanda Martinez), and Cuban percussionist Chendy Leon (Parachute Club, Alex Cuba), as well as special guests such as folk pop darlings Dala, The Chieftains' Paddy Moloney, ukulele giant James Hill, and others.

Sultans of Swing and the Symphony take the stage at the Key City Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. And the following afternoon, Sunday, Feb. 2, Chris McKhool returns to the KCT stage with the Symphony of the Kootenays for a performance of "Fiddle Fire!," especially geared for the younger set.

Known as "Canada's greatest eco-troubadour for young people", McKhool gets children and families dancing, clapping, laughing and singing songs. Kids and their parents scat-sing, become a rhythm section and join McKhool on stage to play rare percussion instruments from around the world! McKhool plays several musical styles; rumba flamenca, Gypsy-jazz, blues, classical, funk, world beat, and East Coast fiddling, supported his all-star band and a spectacular full Symphony Orchestra!

McKhool and the Symphony of the Kootenays perform "Fiddle Fire!" on Sunday, Feb. 2, at the Key City Theatre. Showtime 2 p.m.

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