Sinkane plays songs from their newest album at The Mill

Sinkane performed to a lively crowd this Tuesday. Lead man Ahmed Gallab used his performance to speak on behalf of Sudan.



Pedro Barragan, Arts Reporter

In celebration of the release of their latest album ‘Dépaysé,’ Sinkane came to Iowa City to perform at The Mill on Oct. 8.

Sinkane’s music blends multiple genres, from free jazz and funk rock to krautrock and Sudanese pop. With Sudanese-American Ahmed Gallab as that front, Sinkane has a diverse array of members from guitarist Jonny Lam from China to Fillipina keyboardist Elenna Cannals.

The music video for “Everybody” made its debut on NPR Music and has gone on to be selected for Stereogum’s Best Videos of the Week.

After opening act Pink Neighborhood stepped off the stage, the growing crowd of patrons at the Mill awaited Sinkane.

Once the band appeared, Gallab took a moment to ask the crowd for a moment of silence for the Native American tribes which once inhabited the ground that is now The Mill. The audience applauded, quieted, and finally the song, “U’Huh” blasted through the speakers.

Gallab transported the audience into a world of energy and charisma. While finishing the lyrics to “Everybody,” Gallab sang, “To my mama, to my papa, and all my friends in Iowa City.”

Although a technical issue temporarily paused the performance, Gallab took the opportunity to speak to his listeners about his native land of Sudan. He spoke about moving to the U.S. in 1989 with his family for his father’s studies. During this time a coup took over Sudan.

Gallab went on to depict how many of his father’s friends disappeared, how many were murdered. But the story was one of hope. He told how Bashir’s reign fell once a young generation of Sudanese natives protested and successfully overthrew him, eliminating his 30-year reign as of this April. Then the notes to “Ya Sudan” began.

Before performing at the Mill, Gallan spoke with *The Daily Iowan* about Sinkane’s upcoming performance.

“Growing up both in the United States and Sudan was challenging but, ultimately, a very rewarding experience,” Gallab said in an email to *The DI*. “ It’s positioned me in a very weird place where I can find very cerebral connections between many disparate things like all of the elements that make up my city.”

Gallab said the last time Sinkane played in Iowa City, the band ended up hanging out with their fans at the venue until 5 a.m. eating pickled beets.

“I really hope that happens again,” he said.

Gallab wrote about feeling like an outsider and how he intends for his music to eliminate such a notion to all listeners.

“All these genres come from different parts of the world,” he said. “The people who made these different musics can all relate to one another and it’s no coincidence that they are inspired by one another. Country music and reggae have a long history of that. Even African music and country have a history together.”

Gallab spoke about feeling like an outsider and how he intends for his music to eliminate such notion to all listeners.

“As a kid, I remember wishing there was an artist that I could relate to,” said Gallab. “So, I feel like I need to release this music hoping that I can connect with more people like me and show them that they’re not alone. It’s working too. I’ve made a lot of new friends because of Sinkane. It’s made me realize that I’m not alone and that, as long as I am honest in my work, I will find other people to connect with.”