Red Baraat is a pioneering 6-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. Conceived by Sunny Jain, the group has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound — "rollicking funk music steeped in Northern India’s wedding celebrations, with a dash of D.C. go-go beats and hip-hop" (NPR). Created with no less a purposeful agenda than manifesting joy and unity in all people, Red Baraat’s spirit is worn brightly on its sweaty and hard-worked sleeve. And is being returned to them in cities all over the world, as word spreads of the band’s incredibly powerful live performances.
The release of Red Baraat’s 2nd album in 2012, Shruggy Ji, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music charts propelled the band on a nonstop three-year world tour that included performances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Monterey Jazz Festival, Peter Gabriel´s WOMAD, along with clubs, theatres, and performing arts centers across the world. Along the way, they sold out rooms as diverse as the Luxembourg Philharmonic and the Bowery Ballroom NYC and performed at the request of The White House in Washington, TED and Olympic Games in London.
Their 3rd studio album "Bhangra-Pirates" 2017 shows a new direction in sound with added guitar and processed effects on the dhol and sousaphone. Red Baraat toured 2017 for the first time in the United Arab Emirates and played at the Barzakh Festival in Abu Dhabi. In autumn the band is touring in Europe in Germany, Austria and Turkey, amongst others at the prestigious Akbank Jazz festival in Istanbul.
"Calling it a party doesn’t quite cut it. But when there’s no room to dance-or march, even that’s probably the best word." (Relix Magazine)
Red Baraat’s debut release, Chaal Baby (2010) set the band on a whirlwind USA tour as well as performances at Montreal Jazz Festival, Molde International Jazz Festival, Norway and opening for Gil-Scott Heron at the Pori Jazz Festival, Finland. They caught the ears of international audiences. In 2012 the band debuted in the UK with performances at Bestival, The Barbican Centre in London and closing ceremony for the Paralympics at Trafalgar Square. The Guardian (UK) said the band’s music brought a »punk spirit.« Followed by Sfinks Festival Belgium, Bardentreffen Germany, Jazz Sous Les Pommiers in France, Enjoy Jazzfestival in Germany and others. Shortly thereafter in the same year, Red Baraat was invited to perform at the prestigious WOMEX showcase in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The release of Red Baraat’s 2nd album in 2013, Shruggy Ji, debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music charts in USA and propelled the band on a nonstop three-year world tour that included performances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Celebrate Brooklyn, Summer Stage, Stern Grove Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, SXSW, global FEST, Lincoln Center, New Orleans Jazzfest, along with clubs, theatres, and arts centers. Along the way they sold out rooms as diverse as the Luxembourg Philharmonic and the Bowery Ballroom NYC, and performed at the request of The White House, TED and Pan Am Games. In 2014, Red Baraat perfomed at Peter Gabriel´s WOMADelaide festival in Australia and Womad New Zealand. Than in 2015, they magically stopped a downpour, partet the clouds and bougth the sun out at Womad in the UK. 2017 the band released their 3rd studio album Bhangra Pirates and toured in the United Arab Emirates. In the same year, the band will be back in Europe in Germany, Austria and Turkey.
But even as it’s clear that Red Baraat is building a startling history of performances in iconic settings, the band’s bread and butter remains the sweaty clubs, festivals, packed performing arts centers, and college auditoriums that have kept the band on the road all over the world the last few years. It’s here where Red Baraat does what it does best – communing with their audience in a joyful, near hedonistic celebration of music and dance, which tellingly, draws a crowd even more diverse than the players on stage.
A baraat, explains dholi and bandleader Sunny Jain, is an Indian wedding procession – one that includes a groom on top of a horse, friends and family singing and dancing, and usually led by a brass band. (The "red" part of the group’s handle refers both to the symbolic meaning of the color in Indian weddings and the passion he elicits from his musicians and from listeners). Jain was born and raised in Rochester, New York, but his family maintained close ties to India, and with regular summer visits throughout his childhood he applied what he learned from his cultural heritage to his musical education. The drummer and composer recorded several accomplished jazz albums with the Sunny Jain Collective and has collaborated with Norah Jones, Peter Gabriel, Q-Tip, and the acclaimed Pakistani Sufi-rock band Junoon, among many others. Yet he always dreamed of applying the celebratory energy of the Punjabi wedding bands he had encountered on his trips overseas to American jazz, rock, funk and pop. With Red Baraat, he has realized his ambition and taken the project in wild improvisatory directions he’d never anticipated.
The group’s third studio album, Bhangra Pirates, features a key element that the first two did not: guitarist Jonathan Goldberger, whose surreal textures and percussive playing is the ideal complement to Jain’s thunderous dhol. Additionally, the sonic pallet has further expanded with processed effects on both the dhol and sousaphone. The formidable Red Baraat brass section remains intact: sousaphonist John Altieri, whose deep bottom end anchors the ensemble’s explorations, electrifying trombonist Ernest Stuart, dexterous sax man Jonathon Haffner, and trumpeter Sonny Singh, whose melodic sensibility has colored all of the band’s projects. Drummers Chris Eddleton and Rohin Khemani alternate between power and precision – Eddleton draws his inspiration from hip-hop and rock, while Khemani from world percussion, notably Indian classical music.
Each musician in the band pulls from distinct traditions while speaking through their instrument with their own particular musical vocabulary. That it works so well is a testament to Sunny Jain’s utopian vision and his faith that communication across cultures doesn’t have to be vexed in the slightest. All it takes is empathy, creativity, love, and willingness to abandon reservations and surrender to the spirit of music and the moment. This effortless outlook empowers Red Baraat to do what it does best - communing with their audience in a joyful, near hedonistic celebration of music and dance, which tellingly draws a crowd even more diverse than the players on stage. "The universality of what Red Baraat does is undeniable," says Jain. "Bhangra Pirates embodies that push and pull in all of us…free spirit, community, rebellion, tradition, and new journeys."