Elemental Funk-Rock with a Pop Twist
Life and Livin’ It, by Sudanese funk-rock artist Sinkane, is a brief work packed with worldly influences. Despite futuristic synths and a contemporary use of falsetto on several tracks, there is something organic about the album. Funk definitely has roots, as Life and Livin’ It is firmly rooted in a refreshing funk revival style. It suggests that life is a dance, and that we might be livin’ it within the walls of a club or a disco-tech, flowing along among others en masse, barefoot and enveloped in Sinkane’s smooth, higher registers and free jazz tempos.
The elemental trend continues with the benign and catchy, “Favorite Song,” a possible self-fulfilling prophecy that feels very much underwater. With a short and memorable refrain, the tune steps firmly into the realm of pop while maintaining a funky danceability. In contrast, it is followed immediately by “Fire,” a deeper-reaching track with Afro-rock influences, whose still-liberal use of falsetto may suggest the less pop-infused works of Youssou N’Dour in Senegal.
Several tracks on the album utilize Afro percussion patterns and aesthetics, including the bubbly “U’huh” and “Won’t Follow,” with its bright key shifts, and “Theme From Life and Livin’ It.” The album incorporates these styles intentionally, claiming the genre as something of distinctly non-western descent. The long intros on certain tracks and the free-wheeling timing claim jazz, too, with substantial evidence in jubilant and insistent trumpets which feature prominently on several tracks. The album asks questions of origin and of cultural knowledge, with a mix of styles that combine to form an earthy, palatable fusion. In “Passenger,” Sinkane asserts, “If I don’t take control, I might never make it home.” The album ends with, “The Way,” a song with an intriguing flute line that hints at reggae and drops instrumentation in short bursts like breadcrumbs along a proverbial path to the place where the album coalesces in the mind of the dancing, relaxing, discerning listener.