The ever-traveling Sinkane reflects on his ancestral home in "Ya Sudan" - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Sinkane’s “Ya Sudan” single cover art | courtesy of the artist

Ahmed Gallab has lived in a variety of places around the globe — born in London, he spent his early childhood in Sudan before bouncing across the U.S. with his family, from Boston to Utah to Kent, Ohio. Gallab currently lives in New York City, has made music under the Sinkane banner for over a decade, and listening to his songs, you can hear that ever-wandering spirit, the curiosity that comes with constantly finding oneself in new surroundings. There are hints of rock and pop, of experimental electronic music, of Afrobeat and beyond.

Sinkane’s seventh album Dépaysé comes out on May 31st via City Slang, and the lead single “Ya Sudan” finds Gallab celebrating his ancestral home and his cultural identity through an uplifting rhythm, an infectious melody, and lean production. He sings of his heritage and his personal journey: “I think of all the people I keep beside me, the ones who came before and fell underneath. / The ones I know who watch over me. / I think of all the people here on my journey, how they help bring out new parts of me / when I accept my duality.” And of that duality, he reflects on how the aesthetic qualities and vibrant eclecticism that come from traveling, and having that so-called “worldly perspective,” are also neatly contained in the Republic of Sudan itself.

As Gallab says in a press statement:

“I am so inspired by how the recent uprising in Sudan has unified Sudanese people all over the world. I feel like we are truly understanding our identity. It feels inclusive and welcoming. Sudan is one of the most diverse places on Earth. From the Nuba Mountains to Port Sudan. Dongola to Darfur. Kassala to Khartoum. We are people made up of different languages, cultures, and religions. Our differences create our beautiful and rich identity. As for me, growing up outside of Sudan has given depth to my identity. This is the message of ‘Ya Sudan.’

Being Sudanese is about being yourself unapologetically.
Not letting anybody define who you are.

This song is for the Kandakas who have been at the forefront of toppling Omar El-Bashir. And the strong men and children who stand beside them. And all of us outside of Sudan standing together showing the world our resilience. There is no better time than now to be Sudanese.”

Watch the animated video for “Ya Sudan,” which takes visual cues from vintage Sudanese vinyl artwork, as well as childhood family photos of Gallab. Sinkane’s 2019 tour kicks off next month, and it brings the band to Johnny Brenda’s on June 13th. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; full tour dates can be found below..

Tour Dates
06/04 – Zurich, CH @ Mascotte
06/06 – Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet
06/07 – Beverungen, DE @ Orange Blossom Festival
06/08 – London, UK @ Field Day Festival
06/09 – Paris, FR @ Villette Sonique Festival
06/12 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall *
06/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
06/14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere * ^
06/15 – Boston, MA @ Cafe 939 *
06/16 – Burlington, VT @ ArtsRiot *
06/18 – Toronto, ON @ The Velvet Underground *
06/19 – Detroit, MI @ El Club *
06/20 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement *
06/21 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop * ^
06/22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club * ^
06/25 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern ^
06/26 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir ^
06/28 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent ^
06/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre ^
09/12 – Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall
09/13 – Durham. NC @ Motorco
09/14 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight
09/15 – Nashville, TN @ Basement East
09/17 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
09/18 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
09/19 – Houston, TX @ Last Concert Cafe
09/20 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links
09/21 – Austin, TX @ The Parish
09/24 – Phoenix, AZ @ Last Exit Live
09/30 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
10/02 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
10/04 – Ft. Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre
10/05 – Boulder, CO @ Fox Theater
10/06 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Front Room
10/08 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
10/09 – Kansas City, MO @ RecordBar
10/10 – St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
10/12 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird Music Hall

* = w/ Bassel and The Supernaturals
^ = w/ The Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show

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