Mohammed Sillah aka Saint was born and raised (“to a certain extent”) in Gambia, before fleeing to Malmo, Sweden as a refugee five years ago with his brother. Despite the initial culture shock that he faced early on, with the “major transition switching from a familiar developing country to an unfamiliar European state with completely different social norms”, Saint ultimately learnt that he was quick to adapt to the situation but more importantly, appreciates the fact that he is fortunate enough in seeing both sides of the world. It’s this fresh perspective and insight which transpires through his music, and as he puts it in his own words, it “keeps me aware and focused on being great” at whatever he does.
“MUSIC ALWAYS MADE SENSE TO ME, I WAS INTRIGUED EARLY ON BY THE POWER MUSIC HAS. IT’S VERY COOL”
It’s no surprise that Saint describes his creative process as “very unorthodox”, because when you listen to his The New Funky Dread debut full length project from last year (or any other of his brilliant recordings for that matter), Saint keeps you on edge at all times through subtle sonic nuances to showcase that element of surprise or spontaneity. In a way, it’s fitting that even his path into making music presented itself naturally as he didn’t really know when he decided to pursue music. However, what he did know, is that music always made sense to him, he was interguard early on by the power music has.
“I USUALLY LEAVE THE MESSAGE TO WHOEVER DECIDES TO PRESS PLAY AND LISTEN … BECAUSE THE MESSAGE VARIES DEPENDING ON THE MOOD, ENVIRONMENT AND TIME”
Fittingly categorizing his music as “World music”, Saint eloquently combines Hip Hop and Rap inflections (he cites the likes of Outkast’s Speakerboxx and The Love as well as Kanye West’s Late Registration as inspirations) with the rhythmic vibrations and soul of African roots (inspired by Malian instrumentalist Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder’s Talking Timbuktu) to create a universal sound that transcends everything. Therefore, it’s poignant that Saint leaves the message to be decided by “whoever decides to press play and listen… because the message varies depending on the mood, environment and time”.
Although he hasn’t decided if he’s gonna release anything yet, Saint is still excited to see how this year is going to end whilst not entirely ruling out the prospect of new music with a “well see how it goes, we’re in this together”. Either way, you’ve still got the absolutely breathtaking and groovy COLORS performance of previously unheard track “A Lovely Bargain” for you to tuck into!
Make sure to check out his COLORS show here!
Styling: SARA JURIC