Sound the People

If you didn’t hear the news, Red Baraat released a new album a few months ago called SOUND THE PEOPLE. I’m really excited about this one, which you can check out on Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you stream your music. CDs and vinyl are also available here. The album features a bunch of guests including rapper Heems, poet Suheir Hammad, singer Ali Sethi, and John Hodgeman. Here’s a nice review of the album by Stereogum.

Red Baraat European Tour

Happy Spring! Thanks to everyone who made it out to Red Baraat’s Festival of Colors shows in March on the east coast, west coast, and midwest. After a couple of weeks off, we’re getting back in to tour mode very soon. We have a southern run coming up in late April, including returning to New Orleans, and then spend much of May in Europe, playing in Spain for the first time along with a bunch of other cities & countries. We’re gearing up for the release of our new album (exact date TBD), so keep an eye out for more info on that. And if you have people in any of these cities, please let them know! Suggestions for things to do and eat are also welcome. 🙂 

4.13 Port Washington, NY – Landmark on Main street 

4.26 Birmingham, AL – Alys Stephens Center (free show) 

4.27 Tallahassee, FLClub Downunder, FSU

4.28 New Orleans, LABlue Nile

4.29 New Orleans, LAGasa Gasa

europe tour 2018 poster

Winter of Music + Popular Education in India (upcoming shows!)

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Greetings from Delhi! I’ve been in India since late November on a bit of a whirlwind tour of music & political education. I began my time in Gujarat, working with a group of college students studying neoliberalism and inequality in cities through the IHP Cities Program. 

Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a bunch of fantastic independent musicians and bands in India. I headed to Pune for the huge NH7 Weekender Festival, and played with Mumbai-based Ankur & the Ghalat Family, old Brooklyn friend Bhrigu Sahni, and Delhi-based politically charged ska band The Ska Vengers. This past weekend, I went to Rajasthan with the Ska Vengers, joining them on trumpet and dhol, and also collaborated with the revolutionary reggae spirit of the BFR Soundsystem, led by Ska Vengers singers Delhi Sultanate and Begum X. In such dark political times in both the US and India, it’s been a joy and honor to meet and work with so many great musicians putting liberation front and center out here. And it’s not over! This Thursday December 21st, I’ll be playing trumpet and dhol with the Ska Vengers in Delhi at Raasta, and Saturday December 23rd, I’ll be a special guest at Piano Man with the local band the Jazz B’stards, consisting of several members of the Ska Vengers. 

I head back to NYC in January and will be diving back into Red Baraat, recording a new album and gearing up for our March Festival of Colors Tour in the US. Stay tuned for more. 

Stories From South Asian New York City

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with and interviewing a comrade and friend to many of us, Javaid Tariq of the NY Taxi Workers Alliance. After a few twists and turns (including Javaid bum rushing the stage at a Red Baraat show in the spring) and much delay, my piece about his incredible story for Open City Magazine is finally up right here.

This piece also concludes my fellowship with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to meet so many fascinating and powerful South Asian New Yorkers who were willing to share their stories with me (and us). It’s been a lot of fun working on these pieces over the last year and a half. If you missed any of them, here’s a recap:

The Festival of Light and Liberation, Sikh Style
Diwali is celebrated in various ways by South Asian peoples. The Sikh celebration adds politics to the mix.

Harmonium Soul
Harmoniums are all over South Asian music. But they also connect Guyana and Punjab spiritually

The Spirit of Parshaada (w/ video)
Roti is everyday food in Punjabi homes. At the gurdwara, it takes on a new name and becomes a symbol of service.

Sikh Teens Spread Awareness + Love in Manhattan
“…I’d see non-Sikhs…be scared because there were so many turbans around them. I want to end that,” Amrinder Singh explained.

In Suburban Queens, a South Asian Political Renaissance
Ali Najmi, the contender to represent one of the largest South Asian enclaves in NYC, talks about Glen Oaks, the Sikh gurdwaras, and taxi drivers.

The Education of an Immigration Lawyer
How a high school teacher’s advocacy vs. bullying of Sikh students led her from the classroom to the court room.

Cha Time at Home
Cha, chai or te? A Richmond Hill family’s multiple ways of preparing what Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu called “the elixir of life.”

The Free-Spirited Journey of a Taxi Union Organizer
From sufism to reggae, from construction work to driving taxis, it has been a colorful ride for one of the co-founders of a taxi drivers union in New York.

 

NYTWA organizer Javaid Tariq, the subject of my latest piece for Open City Magazine.

NYTWA organizer Javaid Tariq, the subject of my latest piece for Open City Magazine.

#RaceAnd

Race Forward, an awesome racial justice organization, just released an eight-part video series on the importance of intersectionality in our racial justice movements. I’m featured in one of the videos, which you can see below. Check out the full series here! It’s an honor to be in the company of so many fierce and inspiring thinkers and activists.

Spring in Bloom

Red Baraat just wrapped up our 5th annual Festival of Colors along with a bunch of other touring this month. It’s been a blast, and we’re grateful for all the support and love from coast to coast. You can check out some photos from the festivities here. Lots more coming later this spring and summer, but in the meantime, check out this podcast I was interviewed for by the Interfaith Center of NY about Sikhism, social justice, and much more.

 

Fall & Winter in NYC

It’s been a busy early fall on the road with Red Baraat. Lots of fun and memorable shows from San Francisco to New Orleans, Austin to Tampa. I’m glad to be home in Brooklyn for a few months, switching gears a bit. I’ll be focusing on my training/facilitation work, some writing, as well as some other musical projects.

I’m currently booking fall and winter training and teaching engagements on a wide variety of social justice issues including:

  • Anti-oppression, racial justice, and/or social justice workshops (anything from 2 hours to 2 days and beyond. I’ve worked with lots of nonprofits, social justice groups, colleges, law schools, and teachers, and tailor my trainings to each group’s needs).
  • Anti-bullying workshops, post-9/11 racism and/or other social justice related lessons for 4th-12th graders (through the organization HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) which usually provides our services free to public schools)

In addition to continuing working as an independent consultant, I’m also excited to have recently joined the training teams for Border Crossers and Race Forward. Get in touch at sonny@sonnysingh.com for more information on any of the training and teaching work I do.

Sitting in with Ozomatli at Wonderful World Fest in Queens this summer

 

Summer Tour

Red Baraat is in summer tour mode right about now. See all the dates below, and hope to see you out there very soon!

Gaadi of Truth

Happy New Year! While it’s been an intense and difficult start to 2015 from France to Nigeria, there is still much to be hopeful about. 2014 ended with one of the most inspiring movements of resistance and justice I’ve seen in a very long time in the United States — #BlackLivesMatter. While so many forces in our country deem the lives of certain communities worthless, a defiant movement that affirms Black life has been spreading. It’s inspiring to be a part of it.

As we try to make sense of all the challenges and contradictions and possibilities, I’m excited to announce that Red Baraat is about to release our new album, Gaadi of Truth, and hit the road hard. NPR Music said, “One of the greatest, biggest, most enjoyable brass bands has just made its best studio recording.” You can check it out for yourself on NPR’s First Listen right here. And preorder the album here before it releases on January 20th.

Starting in February, Red Baraat will be touring around the country and internationally. Check out the dates below, and hope to see you very soon.

Song for Gaza

Last week I wrote this song over the weekend, recorded it in my bedroom in a day, and mixed it on an airplane. It’s rough around the edges, but it felt important to get this out right now. 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in the last few weeks — something Israeli leaders call “self-defense.” This song reflects much of what I’ve been thinking and feeling of late. Please give it a listen, and feel free to share.

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