Music » Rhythm & Views

Red Baraat: Big Talk



This Brooklyn-based octet blasts an immediately engaging combination of bhangra rhythms, New Orleans brass and funky hip-hop. The band is fronted by MC Sunny Jain, who also plays the trademark dhol, a large hand-held drum that is a mainstay in Punjabi music, as well as on most Bollywood soundtracks.

This ensemble is a party ready to launch; it's impossible not to want to dance to this music. An insatiable multi-culti music fan of the past might have dreamed that a post-modern 2013 would sound like Red Baraat's rowdy second-line-style horn charts punctuated by that bhangra beat and hip-hop/dub effects.

Red Baraat's last proper full-length album was Shruggy Ji, which was released in January, but the band issued this 9-song stopgap recording a few months ago. It features new tunes as well as remixes, including dance-club-ready versions of "Hanna Bol" and "Azad Azad." (All of Red Baraat's recordings are available on Bandcamp.)

While some listeners adore remixes, others want to hear new music. So Red Baraat brings the noise with some excellent fresh stuff, from the explosive title track to the jazzy North African march of "Baraat to Nowhere" to "Chunari Chunari," which follows long, looping melodies and a clattering beat. This is some amazing music, and, quite simply, not to be missed.

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