Reviewed by: Fareeha Naim
With Sultans of String’s newest release, Subcontinental Drift, they bring East-meets-West vibes along with Anwar Khurshid on sitar. No strangers to combining genres and regional musical styles, this five-piece band continues to innovate and integrate. They celebrate musical diversity, previously incorporating Celtic, South Asian, Arabic, Spanish flamenco, and various other rhythms into their folk tunes.
What is created on this album is imagination to the max—a mixture of acoustic and electric instruments forming Western textures with Eastern rhythms. To merge sitar music with partially electric folk music? Unheard of. What it produces is a unique experience, transporting listeners from one side of the globe to the other within one track. A sitar playing a pop riff? Truly the definition of music without borders. One of the standout tracks, “Rakes of Mallow,” is a song that Khurshid and violinist Chris McKhool found they knew in common—in under three minutes, a guitar, violin, and sitar all get featured, backed by thumping bass and percussion. These guys are promoting diversity and creativity through music collaborations, filled with passion and fun. A wonderful thing to hear.
Whatever Sultans of String brings us next, we can be sure that it will test limits even more, and create even more musical magic.