Why you should care
Even if your moves aren’t quite this smooth, Sinkane is gonna make you want to join the dance party.
In life as in music, Ahmed Gallab is a relentless wanderer. Born in London, raised in Sudan and then Ohio and now based in Brooklyn, New York, Gallab cooks up a thick stew of styles and global influences that boils down to this: supremely soulful music that just begs your body to move. Performing as a solo artist under the moniker Sinkane, the multi-instrumentalist mixes elements of reggae, funk rock, R & B, country and Afrobeat into a percussion-heavy sound that lands on the sexy side of synth-pop. Rising above the musical mélange is a delicate, Curtis Mayfield-esque falsetto.
These ingredients come together brilliantly in “How We Be,” the opening song on his latest album, Mean Love. The breezy, clap-filled track lays down beats that are so danceable, it’s no wonder that visual artist Nick Bentgen simply trained his lens on a crew of skillful dancers for the accompanying video. As with the music, the dancing offers a dizzying mishmash of styles that combine to form one seductive spectacle. Bentgen juxtaposes dancers from the New York City Ballet, B-boys from Boston, a jooker from Memphis, an all-girls step team from Queens and two parkour fanatics against various New York City backdrops to great effect.
But oh, we’ve got life right in the pocket.
“The video really captures the excitement and diversity of movement — mainly urban movement,” says Jessica Koslow, an arts journalist who studies street dancing and who wrote her master’s thesis on krumping, noting that even the ballet dancers sport street clothes as they glide through outdoor environments that are “all about youth and potential and people trying to make it in New York.” As Gallab moves through the city, he encounters other artists expressing themselves in ways that, Koslow argues, are even more expressive than song lyrics.
That may be the case, but Gallab sums up that intoxicating feeling of boundless potential rather well in the song: “But oh, we’ve got life right in the pocket.” It’s the perfect mantra for a globe-trotting talent who is engaged and inspired by nearly everything he encounters.