Sunny Jain

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A product of the ever-evolving tastes and worldviews of a globalized generation, trailblazer Sunny Jain is always at the tip of the cultural spear.  Called the “Hendrix of dhol” by Manchester Salon (UK), he founded the band RED BARAAT, one of the most successful Indian-American bands in North America, with performances at major festivals and events worldwide over the past decade.   Dubbed “the best party band in years” by NPR, Red Baraat has released five albums including 2012’s Shruggy Ji (debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music Charts) and 2017’s Bhangra Pirates.

Jain was commissioned by NPR Music in summer 2014 to create a composition for the capstone event on “Make Music New York” day. Over 350 musicians, including drumlines of the New York Jets and Knicks, prominent brass bands from NYC and talented high school band students, arrived on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library to premiere “100+ BPM.”  He has been the recipient of composition and performance grants from the Aaron Copland Music Fund, Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, globalFEST Touring Fund, MASS MoCA, and more.  Jain received the Arts International Award in 2003 and 2005, and in 2010 his song “Chaal Baby” was featured for six months in the hit FX TV series It’s Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaSignal to Noise declared that "Jain's unique compositions stake out singular turf in this 21st Century world of cross-pollinating musical traditions."

Other accolades include speaking engagements at Harvard and New York University, profiles in the Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, and The Times of India (amongst many other recognized global media outlets), authoring two instructional drum books for Alfred Publishing (“The Total Jazz Drummer” and “Drum Atlas: India”), and participation in events at the White House and Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies.   He was awarded the designation of ‘Jazz Ambassador’ by the U.S. Department of State and the Kennedy Center and the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll crowned him ‘Rising Star Percussionist’ on multiple occasions.  Jain played dhol/percussion in the first ever Indian Broadway show, Bombay Dreams (2004) and made his Hollywood debut playing dhol in the film Accidental Husband starring Uma Thurman and Colin Firth. 

Jain has collaborated, performed, or recorded with a wide range of artists including Peter Gabriel, Norah Jones, Junoon, Himanshu Suri (Swet Shop Boys/Das Racist), Vijay Iyer, Karsh Kale, Kailash Kher, Ali Sethi, Donny McCaslin, Pedrito Martinez, Ozomatli, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, and many others.  He also curates an annual multi-city club tour, Festival of Colors, based on the Hindu holiday of Holi which highlights the South Asian diaspora in America through a diverse range of styles and mediums.

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