A city lost to the sands of time, a language sung into existence. Jim Chuchu interprets a story woven into the fabric of ancient textiles in his latest single, Kumaiha.
Jim recently had a chance to engage with a team of researchers working on decoding a collection of ancient textile-manuscripts, their intricate designs believed to be mere decorations for centuries. These designs outline a song-language known as jelika. Jelika was the tongue of the songsmiths of the lost city-state of Rhamta, individuals said to be gifted with the power to control the wind through song. Inscribed upon one of the textile-manuscripts was a fragment of a poem, telling the tale of one of the last of these anonymous songsmiths.

According to the inscribed poem, a vicious maharyu (mæhæɛriuː or 'sandwind') would descend upon Rhamta and the surrounding plains every 100 years. This 'sandwind' carried flecks of fine, suffocating sand, as well as shards of obsidian and craggy boulders. It was so fierce it could scrub whole cities into fine dust, and strip living flesh from bones. Each time maharyu approached Rhamta, the songsmiths would gather outside the city walls, initiating their jelika song-rituals to persuade the vicious wind and keep it at a safe distance away from the city.

For this, the songsmiths were

It had been 99 years since the last visit of the maharyu, and a new leadership had taken control of Rhamta. But this time, the city had turned its back on them.