Red Baraat is a pioneering eight-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. Conceived by dhol player Sunny Jain, the group has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound – a merging of hard driving North Indian Bhangra with elements of go-go, rock and jazz – fueled by three master rhythm makers, the muscle of horns, a raucous guitar and a booming Sousaphone. 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.
Their third 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."