The On The Corner label continues its cosmic adventures by announcing Sunken Cages’ first album and releasing a video for “Song for the Zanzi,” a tribute to the forgotten Africans of India.
Ravish Momin is the Indian-born, New York-based drummer, educator and electronic producer behind Sunken Cages. A passionate proponent of Indian folklore and black music in the broadest sense, he mixes acoustic instruments with the sound of machines to produce a timeless sonic alloy inspired by the urban currents of South African gqom, Angolan kuduro and Egyptian mahraganat. With director Travis Williams and the dancer Ishita Mili, the artist reminds us of the existence of the Zanzi (or Sidi) people, a little known African diasporic community that counts some 70,000 individuals in India, in the states of Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
Arriving in India as early as the first century as merchants, sailors or mercenaries, they were then imported through migratory movements as slaves and soldiers. These descendants of East African Bantus have seen their history erased by time and ignorance and “Song for the Zanzi” does something to bring back awareness. A remix of the track, by Iyer, was discovered on the Door to the Cosmos compilation and here, Sunken Cages displays a dark, percussive and acidic character to the piece, which reminds us that the Sidis remain deeply rooted in the Indian culture, although they are discriminated against. This track comes ahead of his first album When The Waters Refused Our History, a rendez-vous between history, electronic music, Hindu ritual chants and traditional instruments such as the Russian Gusli, the Oud, Tibetan cymbals, and the darbuka.
The album will be available on April 30, 2021 from On The Corner Records. Pre-order it here.