Sultans of String – Walk Through the Fire

Sultans of String – Walk Through the Fire

Baby Butter has got the bird flu, Joe Taylor will be doing the review today.

Like a great Sunrise, “A Beautiful Darkness”, shines it light of the spirit of the indigenous people.  This is just the first of fourteen incredible songs that portray Canada’s First Nation people. Each song is a personal portrait of the essence of a nation that has been persecuted for hundreds of years and this record has personal stamp that showcases the depth and passion of a people who simply want to be a part of humanity and have their traditions represented and appreciated.

The Rez is a heartfelt song about home, but the message is the same everywhere with every family. Home is where the heart is, no matter where you live on this earth.

“Take off the Crown” is the most powerful song on this record with Digging Roots driving the angry message of what I consider the most shameful secret that has been uncovered recently with the discovery of the dead children who have been ripped away from their family and stuck in a system that destroyed them. This song should be playing on every station around Canada, so we can face our past and begin some form of healing.

“KO” is simply a gorgeous song about preserving the essential goodness that our land provides for our body and souls. Not only do you get a wide breathe of ideas and understanding of the first nation people, but each song is a collaboration from indigenous artist from all over Canada, different nations sharing their gifts and moral vitality with us. Sultans of String truly made this a passion play to have complete inclusiveness and to unfold the diverse artistry of our national treasures.

The Cree came in and shared a traditional dance, the Inuits share a song of happiness that feels like a rebirth. They even show up later with a traditional throat singing moment with a piece called “Humma”. They playfulness of this piece is like listening to two best friends sharing an amusing moment. Shannon Thunderbird and Kate Dickson share a song of both complete heartbreak and a sense of freeing the spirits of the 215 indigenous that were found on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops BC. This is one of the most profound songs I have ever heard. It is so haunting and yet has a sense of relief that will have you crying for forgiveness. Well Shannon Thunderbird does stop there. She hits us with a punch to the chest with a driving tribute to a powerful leader in, “Black Winged Raven”.

Dr Duke Redbird hands us a story about our Mother Earth that is a message that we are all the same in this universe. They are wonderfully philosophical words.  The North Song (A married couple- Forrest and Nevada Eaglespeaker) gets a turn to sing about “Sweet Alberta”. I love this Pop song because it sounds a lot like a great James Taylor piece. It is very warm and friendly.

Highway of tears is a 725 kilometre stretch of road that is located between Prince George and Prince Rupert BC. It is a location where many missing and murdered indigenous women and girls tend to happen. This is a very solemn instrumental done by Don Ross and MJ Dandeneau.

Even the Metis are highlighted on this record with a Canadian fiddle song about the martyred hero we all know in our Canadian history books as Louis Riel. If you don’t know this story, it is explained in a very visual way on this song. Then they slip into a lively and celebrated sound called “Tkaronto Reel”.

The level of dedication and the brilliance of sophistication that Sultans of String bring to this project should be celebrated all around Canada as well as the world. The songs represent a big part of Canada that the world should get to know. It is done with a deep sense of humanity as well as humility. Each song truly tells a unique story and they face the truth with a sense of purpose. It runs the gambit of a nation’s emotion and gives us traditional lessons that need to be taught to our future.  The layout of the liner notes in their CD are done beautifully and tastefully.

They are currently touring this project around Ontario. I strongly urge you to go out and see this live. I’ve recently seen them do a Christmas show last month and the value you get from them is immeasurable. Go to and look under their Shows tab. Treat yourself like a true Canadian this year!

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