American brass band Red Baraat is heading in an exciting new direction. Their 2017 album, Bhangra Pirates is an explosive mix of irresistible bhangra beats, funk, jazz and the mighty sound of a brass band. Now that they’ve gotten rid of the annoying rapping that appeared in some of the previous albums, Red Baraat’s South Asian sound is more musical, fluid and much easier to enjoy.
The lineup on this album includes Sunny Jain on dhol, effects and vocals; Rohin Khemani on percussion; Sonny Singh on trumpet; Ernest Stuart on trombone; Jonathan Goldberger on guitar; Delicate Steve on guitar; MiWi La Lupa on bass trumpet and vocals; Chris Eddleton on drum set; Tomas Fujiwara on drum set; John Altieri on sousaphone and effects; Jon Lampley on sousaphone and effects; Jonathon Haffner on soprano and alto saxophone; and Mike Bomwell on soprano and baritone saxophone.
New York Gypsy All-Stars – Dromomania (New York Gypsy All-Stars, 2015)
The Pan-Balkan ensemble New York Gypsy All-Stars has released a fantastic album that goes beyond Balkan roots. Dromomania brings together captivating Balkan Gypsy music, brass band sounds, Turkish elements, funk, jazz, bhangra drums, electronic dance beats, salsa and much more.
The New York-based group is led by Macedonian clarinet maestro Ismail Lumanovski. He originally formed a duo with Greek bassist Panagiotis Andreou that grew into a full band featuring Turkish kanun innovator Tamer Pinarbasi, Australian-Turkish percussionist Engin Gunyadin; and American keyboardist Jason Lindner.
Dromomania was funded with support from the band’s music fans. Get it if you can, it’s one of the finest Balkan-inspired recordings we’ve heard in a long time. A delicious cocktail of global music influences rooted in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean.