Red Baraat - Bootleg Bhangra

Sinj Records (download only)

Red Baraat - Bootleg Bhangra
Red Baraat - Bootleg Bhangra

It seems Indian-American jazz drummer Sunny Jain put together a more-or-less traditional Indian processional band for his wedding six years ago. The ensemble slowly took a life of its own, with bookings on the Indian wedding circuit, moving beyond that in 2008, cutting their debut Chaal Baby in 2010, and now this live-recorded place-holder while they work on a second studio release for next year. Why the excitement? If you caught them at the 2010 Concert of Colors when they whipped up a dancefloor crowd, you know. (Always discoveries to be made at the C of C.) They've billed themselves at "Bhangra funk" (after the Punjabi dance style) and "dohl 'n' brass" (after the oversized double-headed drum that Jain plays slung over his shoulder). The most obvious comparison is to a New Orleans second lining outfit like the Dirty Dozen or Rebirth brass bands. Those groups lace the street-strut swagger with contemporary funk, rap and extended soloing, with the tuba or sousaphone player nodding to the funky bassists as much as traditional players of bottom brass. The difference with Red Baraat is there's also an overlay of Indian polyrhythms, a new cast to the horn lines (the band blasts six horns over three drummers) and the raps go multilingual. And though this was recorded live at their second anniversary party, the point is that these guys sound like they hardly need an excuse to get their trans-global millennial strut going. —W. Kim Heron

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