Musician

photo by shruti parekh

photo by shruti parekh

Sonny’s first musical outlet was singing and playing harmonium in gurdwaras, Sikh houses of worship, as a young child in North Carolina. He began playing the trumpet at age 9 and has since played a variety of types of music including rock, ska/reggae, South Asian fusion, funk, bhangra, and hip hop around the world.

Sonny is an original member of the acclaimed Brooklyn Bhangra band, Red Baraat, in which he plays trumpet and sings. The New York Times described Red Baraat as a “Brooklyn brass band that looks to South Asia, pumping out Bollywood tunes and Sufi songs with a crackling beat (from the two headed dhol drum) and the muscle of horns blasting in unison, putting some New York bluster atop faraway roots.”  The band’s latest album, “Shruggy Ji” was named one of the top 10 world music albums of 2013 by NPR.

Sonny also regularly plays dhol at weddings, baraats,  fundraisers, and rallies/protests, and performs and records on trumpet, dhol, and/or vocals with a number of artists from diverse genres including Sxip Shirey, AlsarahAttam MattaArooj AftabMandeep SethiGabriel Teodros, and Mahina Movement. In previous musical lives (2003 – 2008), Sonny co-founded Outernational, a political rock band that was deemed a “world music Rage Against the Machine” by Tom Morello himself.  After intensive touring for several years, the band signed to Warner Brothers Records and recorded 14 songs produced by Tom Morello for their debut album. Prior to that, in Tucson, AZ Sonny co-founded and fronted  the popular local ska band Turban Jones from 1997-2001, which released two albums of original material.

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