Red Baraat is the best party band I’ve seen in years. The group plays rollicking funk music steeped in Northern India’s wedding celebrations, with a dash of D.C. go-go beats and hip-hop. It’s all driven by Sunny Jain’s dhol, a double-sided barrel drum that hangs down low around his body.
But the music is not all about drumming
If the drum is the messenger, the brass is the message. Uplifting melodies emanate from baritone and soprano saxophones, bass trumpet, trombone and sousaphone. This is a band that jazz lovers can appreciate and rock fans can dance to.
They play three songs. And the musicians are quite diverse. Its fun to see a trumpeter (who totally wails) wearing a Sikh turban.
“Chaal Baby” is really dancey with a simple, bouncy horn melody and all that percussion. In addition to the snare and the dhol, there’ s a percussionist making some great sounds, too. And all through the song–which really swings–people are shouting “hey ho.” It’s a lot of fun.
“Shruggy Ji” opens slowly but after a few second the whole band kicks in with a kind of minor key feel (and a very Indian sound on the saxophone. There’s some chanting–although I can’t tell what they’re saying. The two note melody is great for shaking your hips to. In the middle of the song there’s a call and response of “oh my may” and then he raps—he’s a little hard to hear (because he’s unmic’d and the rest of the band is so loud) but the gist is there and it’s fun (I believe he name checks Biz Markee). As this song ends you hear Stephen Thomson shout “can you guys hear in the back?”
On “Dhol ‘n’ Brass” the guy with the dhol opens this song with a fast chanted opening that sounds a lot like the rhythm of the drums. When the rest of the band jumps in, the song is really fast and a lot of fun
This is indeed a great party band and there’s plenty of diversity in the music to keep it really interesting and unexpected.
[READ: February 1, 2016] The Croc Ate My Homework
I knew of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine but had never read it before.
This book was published by the same folks who introduced me to Liō and I thought it might be funny.
From what I gather, this collection is actually a collection of the most kid-friendly strips from this series. This I find very strange indeed, but I see that the actual strip is fairly adult and has been controversial on my occasions (although it is published in newspapers, so it’s never too dark).
I got a kick out of this collection, although I didn’t think it was all that great. Of course, knowing that these strips are the somewhat watered down strips does make me want to read the real thing to see if these strips ware funnier in context.
The strip centers around a bunch of animals Rat (who is mean–unnecessarily mean, I felt, in this book, but again, without context), Pig who is a good-natured but naive. The Crocs (who are incredibly dumb–and very funny) and the Zebra who outsmarts the crocs–although that’s not very hard.
What’s interesting about the strip is that in many strips the animals interact with each other. But occasionally, the animals interact with people (who don’t seem weirded out that they are animals). These human interactions allow for some great social commentary. I really enjoyed the joke where two blondes are talking “And I’m like ‘No way’ and he goes ‘You have to’ and I’m like ‘No, I don’t’ and he goes….” and Rat says, “You know, the words ‘said’ and ‘says’ still exist…you can use them now and then.” Her subsequent retelling of the story is very funny.
I got a kick out of the recurring joke of the Croc saying “Hullooo zeeba neighba” to the zebra and being incredibly dumb about everything. It’s pretty hilarious when the Crocs’ son starts going vegetarian and actually starts dating a zebra–to the horror of his parents. I also enjoyed that the croc tells bedtime stories in which he eats all of the characters,
Rat is making a list: People I Don’t Like and People I Can’t Stand. Pig says that’s very cynical, why not make a list of people you like. He titles it: The List of Future Disappointments.
I really enjoyed the series where the Crocs give the Zebra a kitty (a white puff ball who is adorable). The pet shop guy says it will scratch anything (and evidence is given). But it is hilariously nice to Zebra.
I also enjoyed the strip where Goat (another character) is mad: “Computer problems. I’m ticked because I haven’t been able to post on my blog today.” With the excellent deadpan: “And yet somehow the world goes on.”
I think getting the kids version of the book made it somehow unsettling to read–the general tone of the strip was pretty dark for a kids strip and yet the punchlines of these particular strips weren’t all that dark or adult. It was a weird mix and I think a full collection would be a lot funnier.