News / Arts & Entertainment

Red Baraat Makes NYC Music With Punjabi Beat

Red Baraat Makes NYC Music with a Punjabi Beati
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
Carolyn Weaver
August 01, 2013 10:22 PM
New York City's multicultural population is fertile ground for fusions in art and music. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports on Red Baraat, an eight-member band from Brooklyn blending Northern Indian bhangra - a high-energy dance music - with jazz, hip-hop, and other genres.
Carolyn Weaver
New York’s multicultural population is a fertile medium for new fusions in art and music. Red Baraat, an eight-member horns and percussion band from Brooklyn, blends northwestern Indian and Pakistani bhangra music with jazz, funk, hip-hop, and other genres. The result is a raucous, freewheeling sound that people can’t help dancing to, an “explosively happy meld of bangtastic funk, Bollywood drama and marching band swagger,” writes music critic Thom Jurek.
 
Bandleader Sunny Jain, a first-generation Indian American who grew up in Rochester, New York, founded Red Baraat in 2008, when he was looking for a traditional Indian bhangra band to play at his own wedding. A jazz drummer and singer, he fell in love with the dhol, the booming double-sided drum used in bhangra and in Bollywood musicals, on a trip to India in 1997.
 
“It was a different energy for me, you know, it’s slung on the shoulder, I’m not sitting stationary on the drum set, but I’m able to move around. And it’s enormously loud,” he said in an interview at the Clearwater Festival on the Hudson River north of New York, where Red Baraat played earlier this summer.

Brooklyn Bhangra
 
Named after a joyous wedding procession in India, Red Baraat has risen rapidly, going from unpaid gigs in a Brooklyn bar to major music festivals and a performance last year at the White House.
 
Critics say the music amounts almost to a new genre - a horns n’ drums bhangra and jazz influenced by go-go, Latin music and even a bit of klezmer. “We call it ‘Brooklyn bhangra,’ because we’re all coming from disparate backgrounds,” Jain said.
 
“I didn’t want just typical jazz players; I wanted people from different backgrounds,” he said.  “Sonny Singh is a trumpet player who grew up in, you know, with Sikh gurdwaras, going to temple and praying, and also grew up with ska music and reggae music. MiWi La Lupa is a bass trumpet player; he grew up with like R&B, he grew up with jazz. Ernest Stuart grew up in the black church in Philadelphia. Everybody’s coming from different arenas.”
 
While Jain on the dhol dominates, Tomas Fujiwara and Rohin Khemani add to the polyrhythms on drumset and percussion. John Altieri plays the sousaphone and sings, as do La Lupa and Mike Bomwell, who plays soprano saxophonist.

Cultural meld
 
Jain grew up in Rochester, New York, the son of a scientist. He listened equally to American rock and roll and jazz, and to Indian music, including classical and folk music and Bollywood hits. His two cultures rarely met, however.
 
“It was always a struggle for me growing up. I had the Indian side, very, very Jain, religious, Punjabi. And playing jazz drums, and outside on the weekends, playing baseball, basketball with my buddies. But the two worlds for me were never intertwining,” he said. “It wasn’t maybe until I went to college and started composing, that was my way of reconciling what felt like these two disparate cultures.”
 
The band’s second full-length album, “Shruggy Ji,” released in January, hit first place on world music charts. Red Baraat has also played to enthusiastic crowds at the Montreal Jazz Fest, at New York’s Lincoln Center, and at the 2012 TED conference, where Jain says dancers in the crowd included former vice president Al Gore.

Some video by Samantha Phillips

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."