Tag Archives: Drums

Sunny Jain’s Quarantet Inspired By Punjabi History

Performing artists have been hard hit during the pandemic. With nowhere to go and no space to perform at, Sunny Jain, Red Baraat‘s founder, drummer, and composer has turned to the social distanced visual medium for expression. He began the Quarantet series engaging with different emotions and movements occurring in our current timeline.

His second video in the series, Heroes, was released on Breonna Taylor’s birthday and addressed the Black Lives Movement. Fusing his music with a moment, singer John Pfumojena bellows in the language, Shona, “There are rebels and mighty people out there.”

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of LBGTQ anti-discrimination legislation, Sunny Jain, Brinda Guha, Rajna Swaminathan, Chris Eddleton, and Harris Ansari came together to create the video, Rhythm and Pride – an expression of joy in a dismal time.

August 14th-15th marked the anniversary of the partition and independence of India and Pakistan. The state of Punjab was split up by the British upon exiting the subcontinent. This caused the largest mass migration in world history, something Jain’s parents went through themselves.

Sunny comments, “Punjabi people and really the entire subcontinent have so much shared culture that’s often pushed aside for political and/or religious reasons. It’s a shame, but I’m thankful the many people I know of the South Asian diaspora feel more as one, than not.”

Rhodes to Punjab was released in celebration of the ancestors, people, and culture of Punjab on the 73rd anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence. Raaginder‘s violin croons as images of Punjab in 1947 splash across the screen and we are transported to another time.

In his most recent video, Family, Jain’s young twin daughters sing Hai Apna Dil To Awara from the 1958 Bollywood film, Solva Saal. He remembers his father jamming out to it when he was a child.

“My twins heard it for the first time last year as I was working on my Wild Wild East album. They fell in love with Ganavya’s voice, who recorded a version of it. Family, chosen and/or blood, is everything, and maybe some of us are lucky enough to have people that are with us through the many phases of life. We hope you all are finding love and support with your family during these times,” Jain notes.

Music has the ability to unify, evoke, support and Sunny Jain capitalized on that. The Quarantet series is innovative and finds ways to connect with diverse voices, giving sounds to emotions felt during the pandemic. Find the entire series here!


Srishti Prabha is the Assistant Editor at India Currents and has worked in low income/affordable housing as an advocate for children, women, and people of color. She is passionate about diversifying spaces, preserving culture, and removing barriers to equity.

Ashwin Chandra Debut Mridangam Concert

I am Ashwin Chandra, a rising sophomore at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, California. Welcome to my debut mridangam concert on August 10th. I will be accompanying Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. M. Chandrasekaran and Mrs. G Bharathi on South Indian classical violin duet music. Dr. M. Chandrasekaran is a famous octogenarian violinist from India and has received many awards including the Sangita Kalanidhi from the Madras Music Academy and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award from the President of India. The violin duet will be accompanied by Vidwan S.V. Ramani on Ghatam. 

I have been learning mridangam for the past 5 years from Laya Kala Ratna Sri. Ramesh Srinivasan, a leading disciple of mridangam maestro Sangita Kalanidhi Sri. Vellore G. Ramabhadran, During one of the classes, my guru shared information about mridangam maestro Yella Venkateswara Rao, a researcher in Music Therapy. As a researcher, he has set up ‘Mridangam Therapy’ programs tailored to suit the development of mentally handicapped children at Thakur Hariprasad Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, a non governmental organization for mentally handicapped children. That experience kindled my interest to use music as a means to help the differently-abled become more abled. 

That’s when I found out about Pragnya (https://www.pragnya.org), a non-profit organization that creates real world experiences for the neurodiverse (differently-abled) community to acclimatize to the neurotypical (abled) community. Along with other students from my mridangam school, Sarvalaghu Percussion Art Center, I have started to volunteer at Pragna on a weekly basis, and  we introduce “Num” therapy for the children there. 

It is my honor and privilege to dedicate my debut concert to create awareness and to raise funds for Pragnya, an organization that promotes acceptance by the mainstream community of individuals who are on the autism spectrum. I am also proud of the efforts taken by our mridangam school in making a difference in this arena.

Concert details:

Date/time: August 10th 2019, 2:30 p.m. onwards, followed by dinner

Venue: Lakireddy auditorium, Shiva Vishnu Temple, 1232 Arrowhead Ave., Livermore, CA 94551