Noisey's Tshepo Mokoena on Sinkane's Life & Livin' It
It’s already been a destabilising year for Sinkane. The Sudanese-American musician, with his knack for melding funk, soul and West African syncopated rhythms, lost a major influence and hero when Nigerian electro-funk pioneer William Onyeabor died last month.
Then, he watched his former reality TV star of a president sworn into office.
But on second album, Life & Livin’ It, Ahmed Gallab stays positive. The follow up to 2014’s Mean Love kicks off with a refrain on single U’Huh - a reminder that it’ll all be alright, though recent events may hint otherwise.
“To my sisters who ache, my brothers losing strength: we don’t need to be saved. We’ll make our own way,” Gallab sings, ending with an Arabic assurance that “everything is OK”.
Luckily, as far as this album goes, he’s right. A call to persevere underpins Life. It helps to have someone like Sinkane, a third-culture kid straddling more than one identity, offer up a bit of perspective.
Where Mean Love orbited near Mars, this new offering pulls things back down to earth - you’d probably reflect similarly if your identity linked to Sudan, a country battling its way through inner conflict, and the US, another country seemingly split down the middle between right-wing populism and progressivism.
This album, with thumping basslines and joyous brass, offers a glint of hope. In 2017, that’s the least we can ask for.
Tshepo Mokoena (@TNM_)