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Red Baraat (Red BA-rot) has been described as “a fiery blend of raucous Indian bhangra and funky New Orleans brass” — a “Big Band for the world,” playing “Bollywood with a go-go beat.” Of course such a unit could only hail from the flavorful melting-pot fondue that is millennial Brooklyn — and if Red Baraat seems to defy attempts to pinpoint their sound on the cultural GPS, its members do so purely out of the sheer joy of making a big and boisterously infectious sound; a delightfully boundary-busting attack that’s been likened to everything from gypsy punks Gogol Bordello to the nationwide marching-band underground.
Whether they’re playing Lincoln Center, the Montreal Jazz Festival or a superheated sold-out club in their native NYC, Red Baraat have made instant converts of listeners who wouldn’t have known Sufi standards from Bhangra Funk five minutes earlier.
Fronted by MC Sunny Jain and his driving two-headed dhol drum, Red Baraat offers up a big and boisterously infectious sound that mixes
saxophones, brass, drums and percussion with raps, traditional Hindi vocals and just about anything else that maintains the energy level and excitement. It’s a delightfully boundary-busting attack that’s been likened to everything from gypsy punks Gogol Bordello to the nationwide marching-band underground.
Coming off a first-ever appearance at the annual Bonnaroo Music & Art Festival, and a Spring 2012 European tour behind their debut
studio album Chaal Baby, Jain and company have used that momentum to issue a live release (Bootleg Bhangra) and get busy on their forthcoming second studio set, tentatively titled Shruggy Ji.
Still, the live, real time setting — whether it’s in an underground club, a church, a Fashion Week runway, a historic hall or a cramped radio studio — is where Sunny’s crew shines; taking the North Indian bhangra rhythms that have thrilled generations, and infusing them with healthy doses of New York attitude and street-busker savvy.