Sunny Jain Announces New Album ft. Over Fifty Artists Phoenix Rise
That latter song is one of many Phoenix Rises songs that came together in an unusual way. “The whole track started with Chris Eddleton, the drummer in Red Baraat,” Jain says. “When we’re on the road, he’s always playing with his car keys—banging them back and forth and making dope rhythms on them.” Eddleton didn’t have a drumkit at home, so Jain had him record himself jangling his keys and built the song around that.
Dancer Brinda Guha and mrudangam player Rajna Swaminathan created the rhythmic structure, while Vijay Iyer sent nearly a dozen synth and piano stems. Jain filled out the bottom end with his dhol. The resulting song is carried by a pizzicato sense of impending danger that sounds a bit like Dr. Dre, but it’s punched up and rolled around by the interlocking percussion. “Where is Home” is sung by Shilpa Ananth, who was on tour in India when the lockdown began and found herself stuck in Dubai, unable to get back to the US. Her long stretched vocal, punctuated by mbira and the emotional interplay between Jain’s dhol and Joe Russo’s drums, highlights the incredible poignance and strangeness the concept of “home” suddenly took on for so many people in 2020.
Lyrics in Shona roughly translate to:
There are rebels out here. There are those from the elephant totem.
“The Elephant totem has the descriptive characteristics of being a large mammal, earth trembles when they move, that of great tasks, overlooker of the forests. MAGANDANGA (rebel), being a known movement of justice; guerrilla war against imperialism, colonialism. The great founding Shona ancestor and god of war was called Murenga Pfumojena Sororenzou and it is his spirit that is traditionally called upon when there is a war to be fought – CHIMURENGA” – John Falsetto (Pfumojena)
“Every day people are our heroes right now. Every day people are doctors, nurses, bosses, workers, fathers, mothers, siblings, community. This is a video that celebrates them, and the need to dance and move.” – Shruti Rya Ganguly
“We made this song to give thanks to and to salute all the people out there fighting for justice and a better world. Collaboration and community uplift us all.” – Sunny Jain