Gaadi of Truth

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Red Baraat
Gaadi of Truth
Sinj Records (

Here's a celebratory album that shows America at its multi-cultural best: a band that originated as a one-time project to recreate an Indian wedding tradition stretching to include New Orleans-flavored brass as well as hip-hop.

On Gaadi of Truth, band founder Sunny Jain leads the swinging sound with the double-headed dhol drum, buoyed by a small but hard-hitting set of brass players. On this album, the members step more boldly into hip-hop attitude and sounds, the title song covering, among other things, being singled out for security pat-downs because the protagonist seems to “look ethnic.” The group's brass sound is by turns thumpingly rhythmic and sweetly melodic. As “exotic” as the mix of styles may seem, it is likely to sound familiar to listeners.

The big beats of “Zindabad” echo hip-hop, but its chorus is sung in Hindi. Like most of the album, Jain's dohl locks its rat-a-tat into place with Tomas Fujirawa's drum set; this time moving along as guest Mandeep Sethi does some progressive-politics rapping in English. On the very next cut, the band jumps influences with guest soloist Steve Marion on electric guitar.

“Rang Barse” is one of the songs where the Indian flavor comes to the fore with a sitar and dohl opening the song playing around a mournful soprano sax. After the ethereal intro, the brass-driven melody takes off and the muscular rhythm section propels the song forward as the soprano sax returns for a melodic improvisation. The song sees the band working tightly together as it moves through several sonic landscapes.

On one track, the group hands things over to like-minded hybridizing electronica artist Karsh Kale for a remix of their song “Layers” with skittering electronic beats, swirling sounds and a melody soaring above the mix.

Red Baraat's origin story goes back several years to when Jain organized a large group of percussionists – amateur and professional – to recreate some Indian traditional music for a friend's wedding. The gig led to other word-of-mouth wedding gigs and he eventually moved to solidify the lineup and incorporate his own background as a jazz musician. The band's exuberant music has made it a growing success in concert and on album. Gaadi of Truth is another sure step in the band's continuing evolution. What may seem like a novelty act is in fact some serious fun. - Marty Lipp


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