Modcast #172: Sinkane

As Sydney Festival approaches the final days, its still yet to celebrate one of the program's finest inclusions - Sinkane. The Brooklyn based Sudanese immigrant has clocked serious road miles playing with Yeasayer, Caribou and Of Montreal, and with his very own 4-piece mines a mix of 70s funk, Afrobeat, Sudanese pop and New York indie. His vibrant catalogue is packed with tracks that will make you bounce, including the groovy singles Jeeper Creeper and Running from the DFA-released Mars.

Before lifting the roof off The Spiegeltent this Friday 24 January and Sunday 26 January, we sat down with Ahmed to discuss youth, Yeasayer and his #1 fan Usher.

What are your fondest memories of growing up in Sudan?

My fondest memories are of the sincere love and appreciation that my family has towards one another. We are a team and we work together to make every day a beautiful one. It is inspiring.

Having played with Caribou, Of Montreal, Yeasayer and Born Ruffians, how much more rewarding is your solo project than playing as a hired gun? Is there anything about it that you miss?

My solo project is rewarding in that it is my own venture. It's also exciting to take all of the practice from working with other bands and put it into use in Sinkane then see the results. Some concepts work and some don't. What I miss the most is the youthful ignorance. Being a hired gun is like being a little kid with parents that take care of everything for you.

Did those experiences raise the bar when it came to piecing together your own band of players?

Yes. They made me understand what was needed to be done to succeed. It's important to have people who are, not only excited, but also devoted to playing music for a living.

The cover for your Mars album was actually shot on an Australian beach while you were touring with Yeasayer. What's the significance of this photo?

It shows me at a very vulnerable time of my life. I was at a place where I felt like I had figured something out. I finally knew what I wanted to do with music and I was right smack-dab in the middle of it. I was happy and traveling the world with some of the greatest people on Earth. I was also in Australia which I believe in one of the greatest places on Earth.

You've probably been asked this a lot but how did you come to join Usher and The Afghan Whigs at SXSW last year? It's a very broad combination.

He reached out to me. I still don't know how. I think The Afghan Whigs played him one of my songs and then, from there, the rest is history. I still talk to him. We hope to work together in the future. He's always been a huge inspiration.

Did you approach this mixtape with a concept in mind?

I wanted to address life as an existential process. It's meant to bring us all together. We all understand and experience all the energies and vibes in the music in this mix. Let's enjoy it all together. Happiness, darkness, beauty, ugliness, love, hate. It's all there. The message is important and how it is projected is also equally as important. Many different kinds of musics allow you to understand the same message in many different ways. Free your mind and your ass will follow.


Earth Wind & Fire - Elements of the Universe
Pharoah Sanders - Colors
Jaytram - Source of Love
Mo Kolours - Tusk Dance
SA RA Creative Partners - Fantastic Vampere
Robert Glasper Experiment - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Marc Moulin - Balek
Heldon - Les Soucoupes Volantes Vertes
Erykah Badu - Twinkle (exceprt)
Bernard Upshaw Singers - Have You Tried Jesus
Ali Farka Toure - Ichana Massina
Hannibal & the Sunrise Orchestra - The Bombing
Spiritualized - Electric Mainline
Funkadelic - Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts

January 23, 2014 at 12:09pm in modcast



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