While planes, telephones and computers connect people from varying countries, the rhythm of Bedouin Soundclash’s music is international.
“It’s street soul music, but the streets can be anywhere from Toronto to Kingston to Dakar,” said Eon Sinclair, bassist of Bedouin Soundclash.
This Toronto trio began at Queen’s University where Sinclair and Jay Malinowski, the vocalist and guitarist, had their first encounter.
“I met Jay the first day of university and we became friends right away,” Sinclair said. “A few weeks later, he heard me playing bass in my room and brought his guitar over so we could try playing together, and once we did, we both felt we had something cool to work on together.”
Sekou Lumumba, the second drummer the band has had, joined late last year after he and the other two met through mutual friends in the music business.
Sinclair explained Bedouin Soundclash’s name came from an artist by the name of Badawi who released an album by that name in 1996.
“Jay had the album and our first tunes reminded him in parts of that sound, but I think he felt it was a cool band name and we all agreed,” Sinclair said.
Bedouin Soundclash released its debut album “Root Fire” in 2001, followed by “Sounding a Mosaic” in 2004. Behind the single, “When the Night Feels My Song,” the sophomore album led the band to earn the Juno Award for Canada’s Best New Artist. After the success of its second album, Bedouin Soundclash followed up with “Street Gospels” in 2007 and has released another album.
“Our biggest challenge has been balancing the things we need to do to make the band successful with things we like to do outside of the job and making sure we have enough time doing both,” Sinclair said. “I guess it’s no different than any other job in trying to balance work and life.”
The newest album, “Light the Horizon,” was recorded in Philadelphia and produced by Philly native King Britt. The band has also worked with producer Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains in previous years.
This isn’t the first time Bedouin Soundclash has been in the area. The band has played for the Warped Tour and at the Theatre of Living Arts. Sinclair said he always gets excited when coming to Philadelphia.
“It’s an amazing city that we’ve played in a few times, but we especially want to play a show in Philly having just recorded with King Britt and various Philly-based musicians,” Sinclair said.
Sinclair said the band gathers inspiration for its music in many places.
“My environment, the things around me, whether it’s family, friends, people I know, things going on in the community or the news or things happening culturally,” Sinclair said. “Other musicians push the idea of what music can be and how it can be made. I grew up with lots of different bands – the Wailers, The Funk Brothers, Paul Simon, Byron Lee and The Dragonnaires and Sam Cooke.”
Although the band’s future is still a mystery, Bedouin Soundclash will keep making music for a long span of time.
“I hope that we can make music that excites us and that always feels new, but most importantly, I hope that we can always have the band as a source of our happiness,” Sinclair said.
Mark Lauterbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.