Asheville has been waiting for this band to make it back since the last LEAF festival, they were one of the most talked about bands of the festival so their return to WNC was met with a full house of fans who were eager to get their fix of this fast pasted, energetic, robust sounding act. This 8 piece collaboration based out of Brooklyn NY has taken the world by storm since their inception in 2008. The band was brought together by band leader Sunny Jain who has carefully sculpted a unique niche within the music community.
Sunny plays what’s called a Dhol Drum which is a double headed drum widely used throughout the Indian subcontinent and is played using two wooden sticks. One stick called a “Dagga” is thicker and is bent in a quarter-circular arc on the end that strikes the instrument and is used to play the bass side; the other stick called a “Tihli” is much thinner and flexible and is used to play the higher end notes.
The full-bodied sound of the Dhol Drum was accompanied with two other artist helping keep the beat, percussionist Rohin Khemani and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. Filling in those beats with a fast-paced horn section was Lynn Ligammari who was sitting in for Mike Bornwell on Soprano Sax, Sonny Singh on Trumpet, MiWi La Lupa on Bass Trumpet, Ernest Stuart on Trombone, John Altieri on Sousaphone. The set comprised of mostly uplifting, energetic instrumental songs with the occasional lyrics thrown in the mix.
Some of the most notable chanting lyrics was when Sunny had the crowd belting out “Asad Asad” meaning “Freedom” in Punjabi. Punjabi is one of the languages spoken in the Punjab region of the world which is made up of Pakistan and India. Another highlight was the encore when an unexpected Sousaphone player took center stage and started a nice little rap. The Mardi Gras feeling of positive energy during the set was one of complete jubilation, and the expression of music song after song was a very uplifting experience, one that should not be missed.
So when you’re ready to have your mind blown by some of the most authentic music around go get yourself one of the many CD’s Red Baraat has to offer like, “Shruggy Ji” their most recent compilation and I think one of their best.
Article by: Brad Winecoff
Photos by: Cameron Yeager