Coming home from tour is always bittersweet. While I am glad to be back home with my cat Chotu and very much looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight, it feels disorienting to not be about to hit the stage again (at least not for a few days!). All of this to say…
10 days, 3 cities, and 11 shows made for one amazing and memorable Red Baraat Southern tour!
We played 3 shows for thousands of people at the Festival International de Louisiane, a wonderful, community-oriented annual music fest in western Louisiana. We were received so warmly by everyone and are grateful for all the hospitality and good vibes.
Weird/amazing thing that happened: During the first song of our Saturday night show at the festival, a gorgeous, colorful little bird landed on the stage right behind me while MiWi, our bass trumpet player, was playing a solo. It just sat there and listened. It was totally surreal – this little creature calmly sitting completely still on this brightly lit stage with massive decibels of of rhythmic sound bouncing around – seemingly entranced by Red Baraat’s music and the audience of a few thousand dancing souls. I don’t know what to make of it, but it was kind of mind-blowing. And beautiful. Our bird friend flew away after two or three minutes of attentive listening and observing…
New Orleans, LA:
We were blessed to spend 5 days in New Orleans, our first time there as a band. Throughout the entire week, we felt quite at home, musically and otherwise. Our time in NOLA started with a bang with a performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It was such an honor to have the opportunity to play at JazzFest alongside some of the greatest musicians in the world. We were not on one of the massive stages, but hundreds of people still managed to hear us (even though we were competing with John Legend and The Roots, as well as the one and only….Kenny G).
We also did a live performance on NOLA’s community radio station WWOZ on Tuesday. After playing a couple of tunes, the host of the radio show called us the highlight of his JazzFest week! So grateful for all the NOLA love.
We also played a show at the House of Blues in New Orleans for a great hyped crowd and then rounded out the week with a meeting of second line and baraat on Thursday night on Frenchman Street. Inspired by brass bands of New Orleans, Red Baraat took to the streets marching band style. A spontaneous bhangra party of a few hundred people quickly erupted. New Orleans trombone player Glenn David Andrews happened to be hanging out on a balcony across the street and started responding to our songs with some trombone riffs. Soon enough he joined us on the street for an impromptu jam session and we second line-baraat-ed it back to the French Quarter with dozens of people dancing and marching with us. It was the perfect end to our time in New Orleans.
Our southern stint ended with four shows at the Houston International Festival this past weekend. One thing is for sure: Houston is hot! We had a great (and sweaty) time playing for such diverse, multigenerational audiences. The Red Baraat horn section also sat in for a song with the amazing, powerful Michael Franti & Spearhead on Saturday night, which was a blast. It was great connecting with a lot of good folks, old friends and new, and, of course, eating tacos for breakfast.
Much appreciation to everyone who welcomed us so warmly into their festivals, cities, and communities. Southern hospitality is for real! It was a fabulous 10 days, and I’m looking forward to coming back soon.
p.s. a few culinary highlights, if you care. in no particular order: 1. late night beignets at cafe dumonde in nola, 2. the biggest plate of bread pudding ever at mother’s in nola, 3. the pineapple cilantro popsicle at meltdown in nola, 4. tator tachos (yes, Tachos!) at 13 in nola, and 5. the breakfast tacos at tacos a gogo in houston.