Red Baraat has a distinct sound they describe as "Brooklyn Bhangra," a collision of influences that mixes together Punjabi rhythms, New Orleans brass, and a bit of New York hip hop. The band's new album, Shruggy Ji, is out on Jan. 22, but we get a live preview in the studio today -- one of the best ways to experience this high-octane music.
Prominently at the center of the group is Sunny Jain's dhol, a traditional South Asian instrument that helps give the band its dance-ready sound.
Jain -- Red Baraat’s founder and bandleader -- explains that his fascination with the dhol began when he first visited India for his uncle’s wedding. He was only five years old at the time, but the grandiosity of the wedding procession made a big impression on him.
“I remember that experience,” Jain recalls. “Just being five, being young, impressionable, wondering, ‘What is going on? How long is this going for? Mom, how long are we walking for?’ I mean, it went on for what seemed like hours."
That memory eventually became the launching point for Red Baraat, which in 2012 played venues as diverse as Bonnaroo and the Paralympic Games in London. The band also played at the White House for the Initiative on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders where Jain says cabinet members were dancing to the beat.
You can hear the entire interview with Red Baraat as well as an extended session of the band's performance in the Soundcheck studio.