North Indian bhangra meets brass funk
Botanists know that hybrids have special energy, because the best features of the parents are combined in them. The same holds true in music. A good example is the American Red Baraat, where most players come from Indian background. The joyous ensemble mixes an explosive, highly danceable and colourful cocktail from North-Indian bhangra, Bollywood-themes and funky marching band music with lots of horns.
The 9 strong band is led by Sunny Jain, who plays the dhol, a two-headed horizontally played hand-drum. He has a jazz background and has worked with Kenny Barron, Kyle Eastwood, Roy Hargrove, Q-Tip and Martha Wainwright. Most of the other guys in the band also come from jazz. The seeds of Red Baraat were sown in Sunny’s own wedding, when his musician friends arranged a traditional North-Indian wedding parade for him. Soon he put up his own traditional wedding band, which in time evolved into Red Baraat. The unique band recently released its debut album, Chaal Baby, and has turned out to be quite a hit. First in New York and then more broadly after it had driven audiences wild on several world music festivals and got one song on to the funky guerilla style documentary Yes Men Fix The World.