With his new uplifting record Life & Livin’ It, Ahmed Gallab (Sinkane) is heading to WOMADelaide to showcase his unique blend of R&B and electronic music that is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s dial.
Under his Sinkane alter-ego, Gallab released the African influenced album Mars in 2012 before showcasing his popular American music influences with the follow-up Mean Love, which featured the underground hit How We Be. His infectious creations mix LCD Soundsystem-like dance punk with future R&B as well as Sudanese touches, where his parents are from. With his new album Life & Livin’ It, the London-born singer, who grew up in Utah, of all places, wanted to create an album of positive vibes for these unpredictable times.
“I’m inherently a very positive person,” says Gallab, who is also the bandleader of Atomic Bomb! Band. “I wanted to give a little perspective to the political situation or the emotional situation in the world, and music to me is a really fun experience – a party. We had a lot of fun touring Mean Love on stage and I realised how magnetic and easy it was for people to enjoy that kind of thing. I really took that idea and energy and put it into the new album.
“I really aim to create a very safe and positive environment within a Sinkane show and within a Sinkane record. I’m really inspired by people like Bob Marley. He brought people together. You’d go to a show and couldn’t feel anything but joy and happiness, and it seems that people are attaching themselves to the record in that way and it makes me very happy.”
The record, which was released in January, has received acclaim from publications such as the Guardian and Clash Music with the Guardian in a four-star review writing that Life & Livin’ It is a “compelling reminder of the uplifting power of music”.
The horn-heavy Afro-funk single U’Huh features Gallab singing the chorus in Arabic, which is widely spoken in Sudan.
“Subconsciously I have a lot of Sudanese elements. There’s probably more of that in this record than anything I’ve ever done. I’ve even got as far as singing a bit in Arabic.”
“With that song (U’Huh), my aim was to talk about the fact that we’re not living in the greatest of times. Things aren’t that great but it is important to understand that it’s always been that way. If you talk to your parents’ generation and their parents’ generation they’ll always talk about how in their day there were things that they had to deal with, be it the Great Depression or WWII or the Vietnam War or [fighting] racism with the civil rights movement. The power of positivity, and to live within a positive community, can help get people out of situations. I feel that community is very important in Sudanese culture, in Sudanese music, but it is also important in everyone’s lives too, especially in my music.”
WOMADelaide, Botanic Park
Friday, March 10 to Monday, March 13