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Global issue 12

In FocusIndia in Africa Sidi music and dance reveal their African roots, especially their polyrhythmic drumming style Sidis are Indian, and blend in with the nally a religious performance, goma was travel outside their village, across the coun- multicultural mosaic of India. In terms of brought to the stage by the Sidi Sufis who try and overseas. Dressed in animal skins clothing, housing and language, they can- considered the theatrical performances an decorated with peacock feathers, and with not be differentiated from other Indians. extension of their worship. African drums painted faces, Sidis perform their African- Sidis have all but adapted to life in India, (mugarman, which stands on feet;musindo, derived music all over the world – in Ma- similar to the numerous other migrant similar to a dhol, or double-headed drum, laysia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, the USA groups. What really sets Sidis apart from and the UK. One audience member in other Indians are their artistic traditions. Sidi religious practices Delhi admitted to having seen Sidis on the Sidis blend into India’s diversity but their Discovery Channel but had not known that music and dance signal a connection with involve music, song and they lived in India. sic have been identified as Tanzanian and dance. Their polyrhythmic of the Prophet Muhammad’s first muezzin,Some Sidis believe they are descendants- Africa. Melodies and themes in Sidi mu Ethiopian. drumming style, known Hazrat Bilal, an Ethiopian. Bilal’s beautiful Sidi servants once entertained the noble voice and devotion to the Prophet won him courts with theirngoma drums, rattles and asgoma, is considered an this important position. conch shells. Music and dance took on an Over the past decade, scholarly interest extension of their worship important function, as it gave them some- in the Sidis has grown. They have estab- thing of Africa to hold on to while adapting and brings their African lished the Sidi Goma Al-Mubrik Charitable to their new country. Sidis in Gujarat felt a Trust, which is administered and managed need to form a new identity and entrenched roots to the fore by Sidis. The Trust aims to enhance the some aspects of their ancestral culture by economic, social and educational needs of gathering at the dargahs (shrines) of their but only played with the hands; and armpit the community. This exemplary initiative Sidi Sufi saints: Bava Gor, Bava Habash drums), malunga (braced musical bows), might be a model for migrant communities and Mai Mishra. mai mishra (coconut rattle) and nafir to follow throughout the world.● Sidi religious practices involve music, (conch trumpet) add to the authenticity of song and dance. Their polyrhythmic drum- the performance. Dr Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, Senior Fellow, ming style, known as goma, brings their There are several goma groups, and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London African roots to the fore. Though origi- tradition has become a vehicle for Sidis to globalfourth quarter 2012 www.global-briefing.org l61


Global issue 12
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