New Song, Lyric Video, T Shirts by Ahmed Gallab

Hey, friends!

After a collaborative performance at Brooklyn’s 37d03d (formerly PEOPLE) Fest this weekend, today I am releasing a new song, “Ya Sudan. ” It's from my forthcoming new album Dépaysé out May 31st on City Slang. A song about reflecting on my cultural roots, family, and what it means to be Sudanese. Stream it now via an animated video inspired by vintage Sudanese vinyl artwork and features childhood family photos.

Some of you might have seen Sudan in the news lately. 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.” 

We're also announcing a fall headline U.S. tour. Tickets go on-sale Friday, May 10th. See below for a full itinerary for upcoming dates.

Recent singles include title track “Dépaysé”-- which features lyrics in Arabic and English and combines psych-rock with elements of Sudanese folk music -- and the acclaimed lead single “Everybody” (via NPR Music), praised by outlets including Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, Brooklyn Vegan, and more.  

EME Shirt.jpg

The new t shirts were designed by my friend Dale Dreiling and custom hand dyed by Sinkane keyboardist Elenna Canlas using the Shibori dye method. Elenna used organic indigo and marigold botanical dyes to make blue, green and yellow. The colors of the first Sudanese flag adopted by the Sudanese people after the country gained independence from Egypt and Britain in 1956. 

Dépaysé is available for pre-order HERE.

Sinkane 2019 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

06/12 - 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

Have a great week!

Something special by Ahmed Gallab


Writing “Mean Love” was a pretty amazing process. I was having so much fun exploring my favorite musics and, one day, discovered a connection between all of them. Reggae, Funk/Soul, African, Country-Western seemed to relate by a shared feeling of oppression coming from the people who founded those genres. Poor black/white folks in the States, Jamaicans, Africans all felt oppressed and used music as a vehicle to express their feelings. This was the understanding that made me relate to all of them. I figured that it would be interesting to experiment with combining elements from all of these styles to see what might come of it. I’d ask myself, “what are the spiritual sounds of each of these music styles?/what elements of these sounds make me feel happy or sad?” And off I’d go. Funny enough I found that a lot of these musics are actually connected! Everybody knows about the r&b and reggae connection. But less know about how influential Country music was on reggae and vise versa. Not many people know about the Country music scene in Nigeria in the 70s. Or (at the time) the psychedelic sounds of African music that were influenced by the African influenced music from the US. That sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? Zamrock, Afro Rock, and most notable, William Onyeabor. This was the meat and potatoes of the music of “Mean Love”. Lyrically, at its core, the album was inspired by Existentialism. @gregisaccurate and I would talk for hours about this stuff. We thought we were so smart. “Yeah, and we’ll say things THIS way and people will think about it and go ‘A-HA!’ This is so brilliant!” No one got the deeper meanings. 

We spent almost every day on the phone. I’d tell him stories then send him demos with me singing mumbo-jumbo and hackneyed Arabic. About a week later I’d get an email with lyrics that fit almost perfectly and phonetically to said gibberish. You can’t make an Ahmed without breaking a few Gregs. 

Every morning we’d drink several cups of espresso and, at the end of the day, we’d head to my favorite bar Lowlands and I’d make Sazeracs. 

When we finished we realized that we had something special. What’s your fav song from this album? #hardcoretourstories

Don't be an asshole by Ahmed Gallab


We finished the “Mars” album cycle summer ‘13. It was pretty rough. A break was very much welcomed. Jay and I went to Asheville, NC for the month of August. Our friends at Moog kindly loaned us a bunch of synths and we got to work on music. 

I wrote “Moonstruck”. During that time I got a call from @Luakabop’s Yale Evelev. We met at Central Park when Sinkane played with Femi Kuti earlier that summer. They wanted to talk to me about a new project: being Musical Director of The Atomic Bomb! Band. Performing William Onyeabor’s music live for the first time ever with @moneymarkofficial@DamonAlbarnand @davidbyrneofficial

Before Byrne would sign on he wanted to talk to me on the phone. He wanted to feel me out. I made sure I was prepared.

This is the same time @jonnypartysjoined the band. Jonny changed everything for Sinkane. When we started rehearsing with Atomic Bomb! He and I had one goal: to be so good that we scared people. We logged 100 hours of rehearsal. Dissecting the songs and rebuilding them with a bit of a modern edge. All while writing and recording “Mean Love”. AB! was supposed to be a 6 show commitment. What came to be was 2 years of relentless touring. Sometimes both bands playing the same festival on the same day. I also performed on stage with every single one of my idols: Pharaoh Sanders, Lijadu Sisters, Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd, Amadou & Mariam, @Jamie_Lidell, Mohatella Queens, @alexishotchip , @museumofloveband, Green Gartside of Scritti Politti, Byrne, Albarn, Money Mark. The list goes on. I even went to Nigeria and met Willy. That and the Lijadu Sisters are stories of themselves. It was insane. 

This project also taught me a very important lesson: don’t be an asshole. When collaborating with people you must understand that everyone is working for the same purpose: Greatness. Sometimes you don’t get what you want. And, ultimately, if everyone respects each other, you will achieve something much greater than you ever imagined. Yale and Eric are some of the most passionate people in the music industry. Without them I would be much less. #hardcoretourstories

Reality checks by Ahmed Gallab


The “Mars” album cycle was full of so many reality checks. I found myself dealing with a new set of issues that didn’t exist when I was a hired gun. Everything became my responsibility. The band wasn’t making any money either which made everything much more stressful. 

After a very fun tour with @toroymoi we headed to SXSW. This was my first time playing and I was beyond stoked. My excitement lasted until the beginning of our first day there. 8 shows in 1 day with very little time between each. We’d get to the show and hear the same thing, “You got 45 mins. That includes set up.” So, we’d maybe get through 2 songs before we had to head to the next place. It takes a special kind of musician to enjoy SXSW. 

My agent woke me up one morning. “Usher is here and wants to perform with you.” I hung up the phone. He called again. “No seriously. He’s doing a surprise performance with The Afghan Whigs and wants to do Runnin with you! A car is gonna pick you up at noon to head to the rehearsal.” Clockwork: the car came at noon. Took me and @kevandyd to the rehearsal and, lo and behold, Usher singing with The Afghan Whigs. He and Greg Dulli introduced themselves and we rehearsed “Runnin” a few times. 

Kevin and I walked out of the building, looked at each other and just started laughing hysterically. That was SO random! 

Backstage felt like a movie. Future, School Boy Q, Pharrell, and Solange were all hanging out. I don’t get nervous at shows but, on this day, I was scared shitless. The show started and no one knew that Usher was there so, when he came on stage, everyone went bonkers. I stood next to the stage next to Pharrell. I couldn’t take my sunglasses off because I was crying. Then, as Usher started to announce me, Pharrell pointed me up to the stage. 

The performance was... Character building. I had no idea what I was doing. I was completely out of my depth. Let’s just keep it at that. Being a good entertainer isn’t easy. That night I realized that Usher is a very good entertainer and I was definitely not. I met Krist Novoselic right after that. 📸 1 & 2 @phil_difiore, 3 @jesselirola 

The final piece of the puzzle by Ahmed Gallab


Sinkane officially started in 2007. By 2008 I had recorded 2 albums: “Color Voice” and “Sinkane”. I played almost all of the instruments on these albums and, honestly, can’t remember the process of recording. I was a complete stoner at the time. These records were so self indulgent and whimsical. Listening back I can see myself like a kid in a sandbox. With all the toys and time in the world to play. I was creating my musical universe and didn’t give any serious thought to arrangement or purpose. It was the first time that I could do whatever I wanted and I went ham. 

In 2011, Jay and I parted ways with @Yeasayer and I had just finished recording “Mars”. I asked all of my music friends to play on it. @thetwinshadow, Yeasayer, @heladonegro@Jaytram@wildbelle@nomo, @casey_benjamin, among many more, played on it. Dan also did an amazing Daphni remix of “Runnin” for me. I cashed in all of my favors. But I still didn’t have a label. This is when I met my first manager @kevandyd. He worked on Yeasayer’s album campaign so I’d see him around all the time. I distinctly remember him introducing himself backstage in Chicago. ”Dude! I love your music! Why aren’t you and Jay coming to dinner with us?” We weren’t allowed. Anyway, he took it upon himself to help me get my feet on the ground. He gave me a laundry list of contacts and told me to send my song “Jeeper Creeper” to everyone on that list. I wrote a short paragraph and spent 2 days sending that song to over 200 emails. I was relentless. Within a month that song was all over the internet. In comes @hamsterslang: owner/founder of @cityslangrecords. Christof got my album from Dan during the same time. He loved it so much that he flew from Berlin to tell me in person. We went to lunch and he offered me a deal on the spot. It was all happening! 

The final piece of the puzzle came a few months later. A week after I self released “Runnin”, I got an email: “DFA CALLING”. What would a label like @dfarecs want to do with me? They wanted to hear more music. I sent them “Mars”. “We’re gonna send this to James Murphy. If he likes it then we’ll put it out.” Welp, apparently he liked it. #hardcoretourstories