Sinkane is the epitome of boundless musical fusion and joyous celebration on ‘We Belong’”

Sinkane is the stage name of Sudanese-American musician Ahmed Abdullahi Gallab, who knows no boundaries. He’s worked with Yeasayer and of Montreal and is the musical director of Atomic Bomb! Band, an ever-shifting group tribute to Nigerian funk legend William Onyeabor that has included David Byrne, Dev Hynes, Damon Albarn, Amadou and Mariam, Joshua Redman and more. Sinkane’s own work pulls in funk, electronica, prog rock, free jazz, disco and Sudanese pop influences.

But the moniker has also morphed into the name of Gallab’s musical collective; you could even argue that Sinkane is a state of mind. On Sinkane’s ninth album We Belong, that spirit is often a joyous celebration. “How Sweet Is Your Love?” is glorious, feel-good dance funk with far-out Afrofuturism burbles that sounds ready to soundtrack a Soul Train line. “Come Together” is a George Clinton-style, spaced-out disco banger. And the deep funk of the title track is irresistible. Gallab has said he and collaborator Money Mark wanted to channel Parliament-Funkadelic, the gospel celebrations of ‘70s Pentecostal pastor T.L. Barrett (specifically, his epic Like a Ship) and even the surprisingly “bonkers” chords of Justin Timberlake’s “Señorita.” “We Belong” features singers Ifedayo (Gatling, of Harlem Gospel Travelers) and sharp-edged powerhouse STOUT (Denise Renee), with the latter cutting loose to the high heavens—a guest turn that elevated the song’s ending so much that Gallab cut a Vernon Reid guitar solo originally planned to go there.

Sinkane - Come Together (Official Video)


Gallab calls this album his “love letter to Black music,” and it doesn’t shy away from hard subject matter. Inspired in part by Stevie Wonder, “Another Day” features smooth Philly R&B singer Bilal and STOUT. “Another fire burning bright/ One more spirit chalked white … How many mamas need to cry?/ And if there’s a god up in the sky/ Why is it us they sacrifice?” STOUT sings, before the choir comes in: “They keep wringing and wringing and wringing us out.” Tru Osborne lends soulful falsetto to “Everything Is Everything”—which sounds like Sly & The Family Stone grooving on gospel—and “Invisible Distance.” “Home” offers lovely rocksteady vocals by Hollie Cook, who was part of the last iteration of the Slits, and the album also features sax player Casey Benjamin and trumpeter Kenyatta Beasley. Quiet storm-flavored nu-jazz and Afro beats inform “Rise Above.” More than anything, in a divisive world, We Belong is about connection.