Sunny Jain’s Wild Wild East encompasses myriad facets of Jain’s identity both as a first-generation South Asian–American and as a global musician,
THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Sunny Jain, the drummer who leads the Red Baraat brass band, vastly expands his palette on Wild Wild East, a furiously propulsive song from his solo project [Smithsonian Folkways Recordings]. Bollywood meets New Orleans, new age, rock and whatever else it takes to make this five-minute track hurtle forward with a new fusion at every junction.” – JON PARELES
Sunny Jain is a composer, drummer and dhol player.
On February 21 2020, Smithsonian Folkways Recordingswill be releasing a new album by Jain entitled, Wild Wild East. Jon Pareles of The New York Times calls the title track “furiously propulsive” and Andrew Sacher of the hipster music blog, Brooklyn Vegan,says of the album: “It sounds like the middle ground between a Western score and a Bollywood score, with a little free jazz in the mix too, and Sunny Jain fuses these things to the point where they sound like one focused style of music.”
Called the “Hendrix of dhol” by Manchester Salon(UK), Jain deftly blends the modern and the traditional, the personal and the communal, the inventive and the festive. He’s most known for founding the band Red Baraat, a frenzied fusion of bhangra, hip-hop, jazz, rock, and sheer, unbridled energy that NPR has called “the best party band in years.” The bandleader also founded the boutique artist-booking agency, Jainsounds, to offer high-quality live music for events and functions for the South Asian-American community.
As a jazz drummer, Jain has worked with the likes of Norah Jones, Marc Cary, Kenny Wollesen and Kyle Eastwood. He toured the world with the acclaimed Sufi rock band Junoon, recording the single “Open Your Eyes” with Peter Gabriel. He’s also collaborated with rapper Himanshu Suri (Das Racist/Swet Shop Boys), tabla player/producer Karsh Kale, pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, saxophonist Donny McCaslin, producer Andres Levin and NYC bhangra pioneer, DJ Rekha, among countless others. Jain founded the Sunny Jain Collective to commingle the influences of Indian classical music and jazz, and melded ethereal indie-pop with driving Indian rhythms with Indian-American vocalist Samita Sinha and guitarist Grey McMurray in Tongues in Trees. Through his Taboo project, he confronted social justice issues facing the South Asian community. ” NPR commissioned him to write for “Make Music New York” day in 2014. Jain’s piece, “100+ BPM” convened more than 350 musicians on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library.
In 2019, Jain was musical director for Lincoln Center’s 60th Anniversary celebration and he’s also served as musical director to the London-based theatrical show, The Jungle, since then.
Red Baraat Festival of Colors hits the road this March 2020! The 9th annual festival celebrates the Hindu holiday of Holi. Tickets are on sale. Check below for a venue near you
Mar 05 | PHILADELPHIA, PA | World Cafe Live | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_Philly
Mar 06 | WASHINGTON DC | The Hamilton | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_DC
Mar 07 | MIAMI, FL | SMD Cultural Arts Center | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_Miami
Mar 08 | BOSTON, MA | The Sinclair | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_Boston
Mar 10 | NEW YORK, NY | Symphony Space | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_NYC
Mar 11 | LOS ANGELES, CA | The Mint | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_LA
Mar 12 | SAN DIEGO | ArtPower UCSD | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020-SD
Mar 13 | PHOENIX, AZ | MIM | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_Phoenix
Mar 21 | SEATTLE, WA | Tractor Tavern | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_Seattle
Mar 22 | SAN FRANCISCO, CA | SFJAZZ Center | Tix: bit.ly/FOC2020_SF
MORE DATES TBA. STAY TUNED!
In May 2019, Jain served as Musical Director to Lincoln Center’s 60th anniversary celebration in which he programmed 4 artists: Plezi Rara, Opera Noire of New York, Fogo Azul and Red Baraat PLUS. The special day culminated with over 135 musicians coming together to perform a finale piece that Jain arranged and led on the Josie Robertson Plaza. In the spirit of the day, Jain’s arrangement started with the intro to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” before segueing to the Alicia Keys and Jay-Z hit, “Empire State of Mind.”
Sunny Jain serves as Musical Director to the theatrical show, The Jungle. After its 2019 sold out premieres at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY and the Curran Theater in San Francisco, it will return to Brooklyn in 2020. The London based, Obie Award winning show, memorializes a bulldozed camp in Calais, France, where thousands of refugees who had escaped drought, war, and strife-torn countries, waited for their good chance passage to Britain. Hailed by critics as “thrilling…ravishing…devastating” (New York Times) and “a significant event in which theatre shakes hands with the world” (The Sunday Times).
Red Baraat Festival of Colors celebrates the Hindu holiday of Holi by featuring artists from the South Asian diaspora.
Musical directed and curated by Sunny Jain since it’s inception in 2011, this year’s 8th annual iteration features YouTube sensation Vidya Vox and will travel to 7 cities.
Red Baraat brought their first ever MELA to the esteemed stages of Celebrate Brooklyn on July 7, 2016. Curated by Sunny Jain and BRIC, the evening brought together some of the top South Asian artists in the US: Karsh Kale, DJ Rekha, Heems (Das Racist / Swet Shop Boys), Bhi Bhiman, Falu and Shilpa Ray. Thousands rocked all night long and there was a surprise appearance by Top Chef judge and model, Padma Lakshmi, during an impromptu dance off on stage. Find more pics HERE.
We are so pleased to show you NPR’s short-film of the premiere of Sunny Jain’s 100+BPM, which happened on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library on June 21, 2014. Click the photo below to bring you to the video. We’ve re-posted NPR Producer Anastasia Tsioulcas’ All Things Considered report from June 22 here, which captured this day so well. So many people came together to make this premiere possible and we can’t overstate our gratitude to all.
From Anastasia Tsioulcas’ All Things Considered:
On this absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon, about 350 musicians assembled on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library to play Jain’s 100+ BPM. Young, older, professional drumlines, community marching bands, seasoned jazz players, Indian wedding band musicians, Brazilian samba drummers and scads of amateur players came out to play. It was just incredible.