By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 7th February 2017 at 12:00 pm
Sinkane is the band of Ahmed Gallab, a Sudanese singer/songwriter whose soulful sound is rooted in the music of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, he released ‘Mean Love’ on City Slang. The critical acclaim this debut garnered was proof that his songwriting ability, cleverly weaving the music of his heritage into his percussive-focussed, melodically catchy tunes, resonated with music fans all over the world. This week, he releases the follow-up to ‘Mean Love’, ‘Life & Livin’ It’, driven by a powerful message of optimism, a perfect, positive way to confront the political and social upheavals we’re currently experiencing.
Was Sinkane prescient? We’ll never know, but at the very least, this LP should be taken as a fun set of tunes that will keep your toes tapping. ‘Telephone’, revealed shortly after the new year, is a disco banger to rival any of Donna Summer’s. A drubbing of a former lover attempting a booty call isn’t exactly philosophical. Later track ‘Won’t Follow’ is Gallab’s resolve that he won’t trail behind a woman who’s walked out of his life. Goodbye, and good riddance. ‘Passenger’, driven by Afrobeats and laden down with bright horn lines, is less about the words than the euphoric crescendo of sound that mimics the freedom of finding your own way, “’cos if I don’t take control / I might never make it home”.
I should probably take a step back and explain where this Sinkane album came from, produced by Gallab himself and with lyrics and help with longtime collaborator Greg Lofaro. In the intervening time between ‘Mean Love’ and the making of this new album, Gallab toured with his band as the Sinkane live experience, playing 166 shows in 20 countries. He also led The Atomic Bomb Band, a 15-strong supergroup with David Byrne, Damon Albarn and a host of other famed musicians. Taken together, the experiences as Sinkane and in his opportunity fronting a major supergroup changed Gallab’s life, guiding him towards ideas for a new record: to recount the ups and downs of a life worth lived, and lived well. On early LP taster ‘U’Huh’ unveiled last autumn, Gallab sings the uplifting verse, “to my sisters who ache / my brothers losing strength / we don’t need to be saved / we’ll make our own way.“ The chorus includes the Arabic phrase “Kulu shi tamaam!”, which roughly translates to “everything is okay!” It’s a reminder that even when you’re down and out, one day you’re going to dust yourself off and get back up.
On ‘Fire’, Gallab goes between a more usual singing voice to a beauteous falsetto and then back again. The pensive words “when I only know what I’m told, I don’t understand, oh no, at all myself”, preceded by “fire / take me higher / but don’t take me away / where I stay”, suggest the Sinkane stand that to truly be part of society, you can’t just sit there passively. You have to be taken into the whirlwind and experience life, in a way that enriches you but without losing who you are.
The album closes ‘The Way’, a wonderful showcasing of Gallab’s vocal range, framed by horns. “There’s a road inside of us / we need maps made of love / the truth lies in each of us / we need signs we can trust”, sings Gallab, stunningly capturing the human condition: the conflicts in each of us that also lead to dramatic realisations about life and the world around us. While the philosophical conclusions Gallab proffers on ‘Life and Livin’ It’ will likely go over most listeners’ heads, the Sinkane project should be given full marks in tackling weightier topics about the meaning of life not usually found on pop records. One further, he manages to back these philosophical statements with infectious rhythms ensuring Sinkane will be the life of the party.
‘Life and Livin’ It’, the new album from Sinkane, will be out on the 10th of February on City Slang. To read more on Sinkane on TGTF, go here.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 17th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Header photo by Jo Bongard
Ahmed Gallab, better known as Sinkane, will be releasing a new album next month. ‘Life & Livin’ It’ follows his acclaimed 2015 album ‘Mean Love’, which spawned a series of excellent singles and took Gallab around the world on a dizzying set of live dates. Back in November, he unveiled the funky ‘U’Huh’, featured here on TGTF as a previous Video of the Moment.
Tonight, we’ve got another cut from the upcoming LP, ‘Telephone’, in the form of its promo video. It was filmed in a single shot in Lisbon, Portugal flat and stars classically-trained ballerina Kelly Nakamura and Sinkane himself. As you might imagine for a promo with a professional dancer, as well as how everyone was dressed in the promo for ‘U’Huh’, this is the kind of music to get you on your feet. Watch the music video below. Stay tuned for ‘Life & Livin’ It’, which will be released on the 10th of February on City Slang.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 17th November 2016 at 6:00 pm
Take a deep breath, it’s time for a much needed dose of positivity. And it comes courtesy of Sinkane, who released his debut album ‘Mean Love’ to much fanfare in 2014. Now he’s announced he is following up that strong entry into the UK music scene with a new LP expected in February 2017. ‘Life & Livin’ It’, his sophomore effort, is set for release on the 10th of February worldwide on City Slang.
To preview the LP, he has released the promo video for ‘U’Huh’, a colourful romp through the blues club underworld, with the artist choosing to replace his t-shirt and jeans with a zoot suit. Watch it below. He has a pretty extensive tour in February and March in North America, followed by a European tour that includes a London date at the Dome in Tufnell Park on the 29th of March; check out the dates on his Facebook. For much more of TGTF’s coverage on Sinkane, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 27th March 2015 at 6:00 pm
It’s Friday, so it’s time to get weird. This time, we’re going to Sinkane for the goods, in the form of a video only true visionaries would be able to come up with.
I’m not exactly sure how they did this, but as it’s described in the press release, music video directors Philip Di Fiore and Christopher J. Lytwyn shot a live performance of Sinkane and his band. As you do when you’re music video directors. Okay, that sounds simple enough. Then Di Fiore and Lytwyn took the footage they had and then digitally altered it by faffing around with musical instruments as the visuals were fed into said instruments. Di Fiore says of the finished project, “We were able to get beautiful combinations of colors and waves of light which moved with the musicians – as if we filmed the band live at the Aurora Borealis.” And it’s true. Watch the resulting video below.
Soulful solo artist Sinkane has just begun a brief winter tour of England and Ireland, which will include a show at London’s Oslo on the 1st of December. His current album ‘Mean Love’ is out now on City Slang, and its London launch party saw queues out the door back in September. If you’re quick, you can still catch one of the following live dates; tickets are available now.
Tuesday 18th November 2014 – Bristol Start the Bus
Wednesday 19th November 2014 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Thursday 20th November 2014 – Coventry Tin Angel
Monday 1st December 2014 – London Oslo
Tuesday 2nd December 2014 – Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Wednesday 3rd December 2014 – Dublin Opium Rooms
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 17th November 2014 at 4:00 pm
The super soulful Sinkane will be starting a tour of England and Ireland tomorrow evening at Bristol Start the Bus. Ahead of that, he’s released this groovy video from a show he did last month in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right, which is turning out to be the venue where all indie UK artists end up playing the first time they’re in our country. Watch below as he and his crew perform ‘How We Be’ in front of a group of eager, dancing fans.
Sinkane’s album ‘Mean Love’ was released to critical acclaim back in September on City Slang.