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AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #2 - SINKANE

Sinkane curates this installment of Africa in Your Earbuds, featuring Weynoow, Take Your Soul, Dahomey, Little Clown and more.


 

If we start namedropping all the elite indie bands that Sinkane (aka Ahmed Gallab) has played with (…currently Yeasayer, previously Caribou, of Montreal, and Born Ruffians…), you're going to accuse us of being hipster-than-thou. Which we probably are.

But more to the point: Sinkane is the musical mastermind behind our second installment of Africa In Your Earbuds - the mixtape series of African and African-inspired music curated by the best and brightest of our homies.

Ahmed's musical influences originate in his homeland of Sudan, where he lived on and off throughout his childhood. In 1989, with the coup that brought current North Sudanese dictator al-Bashir to power, his politically active family was exiled – many of their friends were disappeared or imprisoned.

Being the newly American kid that he was, Ahmed preferred the sounds of punk to what seemed like the "cheesier" sounding Sudanese music his pops played. (Ah, youth.)

But all that has come full circle now; as Ahmed puts it, he feels drawn to the energy of these sounds – the African psychedelic rock from 60's and 70's (which, in turn, were heavily influenced by James Brown and Parliament among others) - a perfect mix of African and American funk and R&B. Throw in some classic country, singer/songwriter, and Dylan-esque folk, and the beautiful synergies that inspire Sinkane emerge.

For the mixtape (tracklist after the jump), Ahmed crate dug from his father's era and beyond, and came up with some greats from Sudan, Somalia, Zambia, and West Africa. One of our fave touches? Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" into Fela's eternal words.

So strap on your earbuds, people, and enjoy the open blue sky and sweltering heat of summer - you'll prolly wanna alight some serious trees. In other words, the mix is super f'ing psychedelic.

New Yorkers: check out Ahmed, the mastermind behind Sinkane, performing with Yeasayer tonight and tomorrow night (and hey, might as well stay for the Flaming Lips and Weezer) - and every Sunday at midnight at the Manhattan Inn.

 

DOWNLOAD AFRICA IN YOUR EARBUDS #2: SINKANE

Listen to Africa in your Earbuds #2: Sinkane

TRACKLIST:

1. Iftin – Weynoow (Somalia)

2. The Sahara All Stars of Jos - Take Your Soul (Nigeria)

3. Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Contonou – Dahomey (Benin)

4. Iftin - Lamahuraan (Somalia)

5. The Witch - Little Clown (Zambia)

6. Shar Habeel - El Bambi (Sudan)

7. Chrissy Zebby Tembo & Ngozi Family - Coffin Maker (Zambia)

8. Sinkane - Runnin' (US/Sudan)

Audio
(Youtube)

7 Gengetone Acts You Need to Check Out

The streets speak gengetone: Kenya's gengetone sound is reverberating across East Africa and the world, get to know its main purveyors.

Sailors' "Wamlambez!"Wamlambez!" which roughly translates to "those who lick," is the cry the reverberated round the world, pushing the gengetone sound to the global stage. The response "wamnyonyez" roughly translates to "those who suck" and that should tell you all you need to know about the genre.

Known for its lewd lyrics and repetitive (often call and response) hooks, gengetone makes no apologies for belonging to the streets. First of all, most artists that create gengetone are grouped into bands with a few outliers like Zzero Sufuri riding solo. The songs themselves often feature a multiplicity of voices with screams and crowds coming through as ad libs, adding to this idea that this is definitely "outside" music.

Listening to Odi wa Muranga play with his vocal on the track "Thao" it's easy to think that this is the first, but gengetone fits snuggly in a history of sheng rap based on the kapuka style beat. Kapuka is onomatopoeically named, the beats have that repetitive drum-hat-drum skip that sounds like pu-ka-pu-ka-pu. Artists like Nonini were asking women to come over using this riff long before Ochungulo family told them to stay home if they aren't willing to give it up.

Here's seven gengetone groups worth listening to.

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