“… reggae, soul, African, country are tied together emotionally. They all come out of oppression and hardship: poor white folk have a longing and urgency that’s very similar to that of Jamaican, African and African-American musicians.” – Ahmed Gallab

Born in London, Gallab lived his early life in Sudan before political violence forced his family to flee to Ohio for asylum. His musical interests reflect his global background, borrowing bits and pieces from the music scenes he frequented: Afro-pop, alt-rock, soul, blues, reggae, disco, and funk. Drawing on his 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.

The name “Sinkane” is inspired by Joseph Cinqué, a West African who was illegally enslaved in the mid-19th century and eventually led a slave revolt on the ship Amistad. As Gallab tells John Schaefer, “Sinkane is a word that I misheard in a Kanye West lyric. I heard the song ‘Never Let Me Down’ on his first record, and J. Ivy, who’s rapping, says, ‘Give us, us free like Cinqué,’ which I misheard as Sinkane. I created this idea of who Sinkane was in my mind.”