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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

SIDI GOMA

By Tom Pryor

Black Sufis Of Gujarat
KAPA

In India, Sidis are the descendants of East Africans who traveled to the subcontinent, as traders, soldiers and slaves, for millennia; and Sidi Goma is a performance troupe from the Indian State of Gujarat that performs the Sufi ritual music passed on to them by their African ancestors. This remarkable album marks their first recording, an endeavor which benefits their whole community both economically and by raising consciousness about their culture. But don't go out and buy it just because of that -- the album rocks on its own. With unique instrumentation consisting of the malunga (a musical bow), the mai misra (coconut rattle) and a battery of percussion including the musindo and the mugarman drums, Sidi Goma casts a hypnotic, trance-inducing spell not unlike the Gnawa of Morocco or the Qawwalis of Pakistan. Like their Sufi brethren, the Sidis' music builds slowly, but eventually reaches an ecstatic fever pitch that leaves the listener that much closer to the Divine.