Imagine you’re on your way to a job interview and you get a phone call from Caribou’s Dan Snaith asking you to drop everything and go on tour with him because his drummer just broke his wrist. And you gotta leave like, now. What do you do?
Well, if you’re Ahmed Gallab, aka Sinkane, you tell the cabbie to turn the f--- around so you can go to the bank, overdraw your account and get on the first plane out of the city.
Gallab’s geographically limitless foray into music is as interesting as it is inspiring, so it’s no wonder that Snaith offered him the tour drummer role after briefly meeting him at a music festival. Consequently, it’s no surprise that Of Montreal and Yeasayer offered him the drumming reigns after seeing him perform with Caribou.
Gallab was born in London, but many of his formative years were split between Ohio and Sudan. His father was a London-based diplomat, but once the government for which he was working was overthrown in Sudan, their family had to start over in the U.S. -- emphasis on the starting over.
Because his parents’ Sudanese degrees weren’t valid in the states, they had to get their PhDs all over again. And they didn’t hesitate to do so, but the family always kept their homeland close to heart.
Every summer, Gallab returned to Sudan, which had a “huge, profound influence” on his life and on his music. According to him, it was a “really beautiful time,” because it “allowed him to understand that people are very different but also very similar.”
Splitting his time between Sudan and America afforded him the opportunity to be a fly on the wall, gliding between very different cultures and musical traditions. Yet, he found this “beautiful relationship between the different kinds of music he was into” -- the “honest and earnest energy” was all the same, according to him.
Music first came into Gallab’s life through religion. His grandfather was a well-respected Muslim cleric and at gatherings where he would recite prayers, there was this “beautiful call and response” that became “spiritual and tantric” for Gallab.
Fittingly, it was a Spiritualized show that really changed his life. It solidified an impulse -- fostered by geography and religion -- to “connect with as many people as possible,” to help others free their minds, be themselves and “watch the sunshine.”
Gallab typically works alone as Sinkane, but that’s starting to change as he aims more and more for a Bob Marley-esque universality. His new album, “Life & Livin’ It,” dropped on Friday, Feb. 10, and it showcases a more immediate, live energy. Before going in to record, he played the songs live a lot with his band in an effort to meld the pedal-steel/country-Western influence with the funky Afro-psych a little better.
So, at his Soda Bar show on Sunday, March 5, expect the simplicity, space and groove that only Sinkane’s rhythmic approach to melody and production can give you. Expect to share the high of spirit and body that Gallab has always pursued.
Rutger Rosenborg was almost a Stanford neuroscientist before he formed Ed Ghost Tucker. He now plays in the Lulls and makes music on his own when he's not writing. Follow his updates on Facebook or contact him directly.