Sidi Goma

About Sidi Goma

It is not very well known that Africans arrived in Gujarat, India in the 13th century. Since then they have kept African traits and certain forms of syncretic forms of rites and rituals of worship. This also holds true in their dance and music as they use African derived steps, movements, and instruments. 

To lift themselves up, they inject playfulness, satire and a lot of irreverence into their music. Their performance is an exuberant and happy dance ritual, yet devotional as it is dedicated to their saint known as Sidi Mubarak Nobi. They start the performance with the simple and familiar call of the muezzin to prayer. It revolves around the danced prayer called the zikr. Virtuosic drumming accompanies their ecstatic dancing that is agile and energetic. The performance accelerates and crescendos with the music becoming more and more frenetic. They wear costumes made from peacock feathers rather than the ostrich ones that their ancestors would have used in Africa. Sometimes, the hurling and breaking of coconuts are also done during the performance.

They sing ritual songs like the qawwali, baithi, dhamal and other kinds of devotional songs. They have integrated their African rhythms, melodic shapes and styles, and instruments with the local Gujarat influences. All Sidi drums are hit using only the hands. Their show is wholly acoustic and involves a lot of chanting. They also use coconut rattles and these are held sacred and no one outside of the Sidis is allowed to touch them.


Sidi Goma Photos

Sidi Goma Video