Life & Livin’ It, the new album from Sinkane, is just the kind of thing we need to kick off the spring with. Inspired by Sudanese-American multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab’s childhood spent in both Ohio and Sudan, this album is a colourful snapshot of a band in its ascendancy. Featuring elements of African music, funk, soul, indie-electro coupled with pop and disco, this is joyous party music.
BERLIN LOVES YOU recently interviewed Sinkane’s Ahmed Gallab, where we covered topics including his favourite African artists, William Onyeabor, what he’s listening to at the moment and why he loves Berlin. Check it out below.
Win Tickets to See Sinkane in Berlin
To celebrate the start of spring (and, I guess, to promote this album), the band are playing a special gig at Berlin’s regal Volksbühne on Sunday 2nd April. BERLIN LOVES YOU has 2 pairs of tickets up for grabs. Get in touch ([email protected]) and you might get in this gig kostenlos. We’ll pick the winners on the 29th March.
Ahmed, you’ve lived in many different places – London, Sudan, Ohio – do you feel like you are musically a sum of these parts?
“Yes. But also as a person too. Every place I’ve lived has influenced me to be the person I am today.”
What part of your early musical experiences growing up was most influential to you as the musician you are today?
“Hearing my grandfather recite religious stories. It was tantric and inspiring.”
What’s your opinion on genres – are they specific to a time or place? Do you find it frustrating having to put labels on your music?
“People need things to be defined for them. They need a very serious road map. If something doesn’t quite fit in to these narrow parameters of a genre that thing becomes confusing and hard to digest. I aim to challenge that. Everything is connected and music is much more than a label.”
With songs like ‘U’Huh’ you’ll undoubtedly set a new generation in search for more African and Afro-beat music. Who would you suggest these people should google?
“I would rather suggest visiting Africa and experiencing the culture first hand. African music is about the culture and community. Simply googling an African artist will only get you so far. You won’t truly experience or understand the music holistically.”
You lead and direct the Atomic Bomb! Band which play the music of Nigerian Electro-Funk legend William Onyeabor. What’s your connection to Onyeabor and how you think he will be remembered in years to come?
“William Onyeabor’s music will be remembered as truly unique and universal. There isn’t anything like him nor will there be in the future. I connect with his music in that it’s distinctly African but transcends the idea of what being African is and is, ultimately, truly unique.”
How have you managed to assemble such an esteemed cast of contributors to this outfit?
“I bribed them all with pizza and beer.”
If there’s one element your personal style has taken from Onyeabor, how would you describe it?
“Positive energy. When you approach something with that state of mind it makes all the difference.”
What are you listening to at the moment? What’s exciting about music in 2017?
“I’m listening to a lot of live Bob Marley recordings. Grateful Dead always. Specifically “Live From The Mars Hotel”. DRAM and Anderson .Paak. All of which is just so beautiful and rooted in organic and feel good vibes.”
Can you recommend an album to Berlin Loves You readers keen on broadening their minds?
“Helado Negro ‘Positive Energy’”
Have you been to Berlin before? Will you get to enjoy some time here and if so what are your plans? Need some tips?
“My label is based on Berlin so I’ve been there several times to play and hang. I love staying at The Michaelberger Hotel and eating at Cordobar. Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world.”
You’re playing at Primavera Sound this year. What’s it like playing at bigger festivals, and why are they important for new and lesser-known artists?
“It’s fun to vibe backstage with fellow musicians. You end up seeing a lot of familiar faces as well as making new friends at every festival you play. It’s exciting for us because we’ll be playing to so many people who don’t know us. It will be great to connect with folks.”
Primavera seems to consider the mood of the festival when placing artists. With that in mind, when would you say is the perfect time for a Sinkane gig? E.g. Dancing late into the night, or that magical moment when the sun sets over the sea.
“Dusk would be perfect. Starting during the golden hour and going deep into the night.”
BERLIN LOVES YOU has 2 pairs of tickets to see Sinkane live at Volksbühne on Sunday April 2nd. For a chance to win a pair, email ([email protected]) with the subject “Sinkane”. We’ll pick the winners on the 29th March.
Sinkane. BERLIN LOVES YOU