(NORTH ADAMS, MASS.) – Sinkane brings his electrifying, socially conscious, world-funk sextet to Club B10 at MASS MoCA on Saturday, February 24, at 8pm. The London-born, Sudan- and Ohio-raised Ahmed Gallab aka Sinkane incorporates a wealth of musical influences in his unique, horn-laced soul fusion, reflecting his global background, with bits of Afro-pop, alt-rock, soul, blues, reggae, disco, electronica, free-jazz, and funk.
Ahmed Gallab led the 15-piece Atomic Bomb Band with collaborators included David Byrne (Talking Heads), Money Mark (Beastie Boys), Damon Albarn (Blur and Gorillaz), Charles Lloyd, Amadou and Mariam, Jamie Lidell, Pharoah Sanders, and Joshua Redman.
Born to college professors in London, Gallab lived his early life in Sudan before political violence forced his family to flee to Ohio for asylum. Drawing on his global musical fluency, he spent his early years as a gun-for-hire, handling percussion and keyboards for the likes of Caribou, of Montreal, and, most recently, Yeasayer. In 2012, after years of collaborating on the road with some of his musical heroes, Gallab established Sinkane to produce his own sound.
Releasing his first album, Mars, in 2012 to critical acclaim, Sinkane sold his sound as something authentically DIY. Pitchfork writes, “[It’s] both refined and easygoing. It works in multiple musical registers simultaneously and smartly — the syncopated rhythms and breezy guitar figures of Sudanese pop, krautrock, early-‘70s funk, free jazz, Fader-friendly global indie — while maintaining a clear authorial voice (largely coming from Gallab’s playing multiple instruments on each song).”
Back-to-back songs on the album jump between different genres, themes, and tenors — resulting in a mixtape-like production. Shortly after Mars dropped, Gallab founded the supergroup Atomic Bomb! band, which exclusively played the music of Nigerian funk king William Onyeabor. The band’s first performance in 2014 sold out London’s Barbican.
But it’s not only Sinkane’s funky blend of sound that attracts critical acclaim — Pitchfork calls the band’s discography “a weekend immersed in your local record store’s world music rack” — it’s also his optimistic message that keeps listeners begging for more. “Times are tough, struggles have always existed in our lives, but hope, love and the power of positivity help us stay alive,” Gallab shares. “It is what inspires me to wake up in the morning, make music, and, ultimately, connect with people.”
Sinkane leaves its politics at the door and instead finds purpose in music’s capacity for connection and community, as evidenced by its celebrated third album, “Life & Livin’ It.” “This is homegrown Buddhism,” NPR writes. “[It’s] a guide to aligning life with one’s own expectations and natural rhythms rather than the social norms.”
Deeply personal and passionately optimistic, expect to lose yourself in Sinkane’s rolling beats, Afro-rock jams, funky pop, dance beats, smiling mantra, and get-on-up dance moves.
Tickets are $10 for students, $14 in advance, $20 day of, and $26 preferred. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during box office hours or purchased online at MASS MoCA.
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making, displaying, and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA’s 250,000 sq. ft. of gallery space includes partnerships with Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, Anselm Kiefer with the Hall Art Foundation, Sol LeWitt, and James Turrell.
Gallery admission is $20 for adults, $18 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is seasonal and will reopen in late May 2018. For additional information: 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA.
MASS MoCA is open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays through June 22. From June 23 through September 3, MASS MoCA galleries are open seven days a week — from 10am to 6pm Sundays through Wednesdays and from 10am to 7pm Thursdays through Saturdays.