Red Baraat is an eight-piece dhol and brass ensemble that hails from Brooklyn, New York. (The dhol is a large handheld drum; its South Asian origin lies in antiquity, and its sound is somewhere between the tight, pudgy sound of its cousin the tabla and the deeper, fatter, more forceful sound of the conga. With two heads, it is meant to be played on both top and bottom. The dhol is the dance drum in Punjabi music and is heard in virtually all of the music from Bollywood.) Red Baraat's sound is an amalgam of the sound of large South Asian wedding bands, pop, bhangra funk, big-band jazz, Balkan wedding music, and the sounds of New Orleans brass bands.
Red Baraat was was founded by dhol player Sunny Jain in 2007. His previous band, the Sunny Jain Collective, included in its lineup future jazz pioneers Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Rez Abbasi. The new group's sound stands in sharp contrast to the more genre-specific SJC brand of carnatic jazz. Red Baraat's instrumentation includes the dhol, other percussion, two trumpets (one of them a bass trumpet), trombone, sousaphone, and baritone and soprano saxophones. The band's first effort was 2008's Chaal Baby, issued on the independent Sinj label. It was followed by relentless national touring that saw the band perform marathon shows at small clubs, the White House, and the Bonnaroo Festival. Red Baraat's second album, Shruggy Ji, was released in January of 2013. ~ Thom Jurek