ION INDIE MAGAZINE May 2017, Volume 36 - Page 81

Story and Photography by Greg Hild • The Hindu festival of color, Holi, takes place every year in mid-March and celebrates both good over evil and heralds the start of Spring. Brooklyn-based RED BARAAT brought the festivities to WORLD CAFE LIVE in Philadelphia, and lit up the full crowd with the infectious sounds of their Bhangra music. This realm of Indian fusion music has roots in Punjabi culture and meshes traditional folk elements in experimental combination with the more modern sounds of whichever country it is performed in. The result is Red Baraat's unique and intense rhythms with added elements ranging from funk to jazz to hip hop. This mix led NPR to call them "one of the best party bands around". In fact, NPR brought the band back for its second round on the revered "Tiny Desk Concert" series this past March. This intimate performance was a brief stop on their continually busy tour schedule, which brings the band around the globe and to countless international festivals, including “Bonaroo”, and even a performance at The White House. The latest stop in Philly elated the diverse crowd, most of whom danced through the entire set and into the second encore. It wasn't uncommon to find many in the audience singing or shouting the lyrics to Red Baraat's songs in anthem-like chants that were presumably in the language of Punjabi. The pulsating sound was led by front-man SUNNY JAIN, a notable Dhol drummer who has collaborated with numerous artists-- including PETER GABRIEL, NORAH JONES and jazz great KENNY BARRON, among others. The energy persisted throughout the performance, with the band having as much fun on stage as the crowds dancing out front. Red Baraat's 4th album, “Bhangra Pirates”, was released on March 24TH.