Take a musician born in London, raised for a time in Sudan, and relocated to Ohio at five years old. Have his parents make him listen to Bob Marley, and let him eventually discover great Afrobeat like William Onyeabor, and Pharoah Sanders’s legendary saxophone. Here is how we get to Ahmed Gallab, the mastermind behind Sinkane, who just released their new album “Life & Livin’ It” from City Slang.
“U’huh,” the first single off the record (released right after Trump was elected) has lyrics in Arabic, Gallab’s native tongue: “Kulu shi tamaam!,” “everything is great!;” “ya zol ya zain!,” “my beautiful friend,” a Sudanese term of endearment. “They just feel good, you don’t have to know what they mean,” Gallab explains. “It’s kind of like listening to Caetano Veloso or Jorge Ben—you don’t have to know Portuguese to feel what they’re saying.”
Borrowing from reggae’s positive approach to music, trying to share good vibes in hard and difficult times, and mixing many different sounds and traditions, Sinkane creates a new, ideal world everyone can be a citizen of. Watch two videos after the break.