Saturday, March 7, 2015

Red Baraat at the Bowery Ballroom

Sunny Jain, born in Rochester, New York, grew up listening to his parents' Indian classical music, devotional songs and 1960s Bollywood music. Jain learned to play the dhol, the double-headed dance drum of northern India often heard in Bollywood musicals. Forming the Sunny Jain Collective in 2002, Jain was designated a Jazz Ambassador by the U.S. Department of State and the Kennedy Center, for which he toured West Africa. Jain received the Arts International Award in both 2003 and 2005 to enable touring India with his jazz group. In 2004, Jain played dhol in the first Indian Broadway show, Bombay Dreams, and made his film debut playing dhol in the 2008 movie The Accidental Husband. Jain has performed at the request of the White House, Peter Gabriel, and the Olympic Games. When he formed Red Baraat in 2008, he designed a big band rooted in Punjabi percussion and the Indian brass band tradition. The Brooklyn-based band's third and most recent studio album, Gaadi of Truth, was released on January 20, 2015.

Red Baraat sparked a lively rhythm and dance party at the Bowery Ballroom tonight. Nine musicians jammed on that stage: five horn players, three percussionists, and one guitarist. Red Baraat harmonized the ancient sounds of Jain's cultural heritage with modern electronic sounds to create a mix of Bhangra, Latin, world, jazz, funk, hip-hop and go-go music. Their high-energy beats-and-brass world music even included traces of trance-inducing South Asian Qawwali and South American cumbia. Pushing the dohl and the sousaphone through electronic effects led to exciting new turns in the midst of the core indigenous sounds. The fiery, propulsive dance-friendly blend provoked the multi-national audience to shake hips while waving swaying hands to the sky. Brooklyn has never had a stronger party band.

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