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Red Baraat is the best party band I've seen in years. The group plays rollicking funk music steeped in Northern India's wedding celebrations, with a dash of D.C. go-go beats and hip-hop. It's all driven by Sunny Jain's dhol, a double-sided barrel drum that hangs down low around his body.
If the drum is the messenger, the brass is the message. Uplifting melodies emanate from baritone and soprano saxophones, bass trumpet, trombone and sousaphone. This is a band that jazz lovers can appreciate and rock fans can dance to.
Red Baraat is based in Brooklyn, and has played the Montreal Jazz Festival and at Lincoln Center. I first saw the group at globalFEST 2011 on a tiny basement stage that barely contained the band physically and overwhelmed the audience emotionally. I heard a dozen bands that night, but Red Baraat was the one that stuck with me.
After the group's joyously noisy set at the Tiny Desk, a wide array of people — from our youngest interns to some of our oldest journalists — told me how much they loved Red Baraat. Of all the concerts that have come to my desk, this seemed to be the little-known band that won over the most hearts. I get the feeling that, for Red Baraat, 2012 is going to be a big, big year.
Producer and Editor: Bob Boilen; Videographers: Michael Katzif, Emily Bogle; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Photos by John Rose/NPR