If you happened to attend any of this year's CMJ Music Marathon in New York City, chances are you came across the name Sinkane. It's the project of guitarist and singer Ahmed Gallab -- who, in the past, has drummed for Of Montreal, Yeasayer and Caribou. The band played six CMJ shows in just three days, and then topped off an exhausting weekend with a release show for its debut album, Mars.
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 host 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."
Gallab, who was born in Sudan, combines his love of East African soul with his indie pop and dance-ready electronic grooves on Sinkane's debut album. He and his bandmates perform a live set in our studio.