“One of the leading figures in North America’s burgeoning Asian music scene. A global musical alchemist and cultural agent provocateur.”
— SONGLINES MAGAZINE (UK)
“Jain makes everything fire and flow, roll and combust. His drumming is never static or simply “in the pocket”; it’s in constant go mode: rolls rattling, beats careening, grooves always pressing, pushing for ecstatic release.”
— MODERN DRUMMER
“Many of these composition are intellectually thrilling to unravel. In “Wild Wild East,” shimmering walls of sound feel like floating face-down in a pool and watching light patterns dance on the floor.”
“Creatively and ideologically, this is a perfect storm for Jain. Even in his already formidable body of work, “Wild Wild East” stands out as an album that not only deserves to be heard, but needs to be listened to. An understanding of the stories he tells here with such musical brilliance is liable to change hearts and minds for the better. ”
— POP MATTERS
The career of Sunny Jain is a celebration of cultural diaspora: deep-rooted tradition that ripples outward, changing – and being changed by – the cultures that it touches. He is a composer, drummer, dhol player and thought leader.
2022 was professional and personal leap for Jain. He joined Planet Drum for their first show in 15 years, playing alongside drumming legends Mickey Hart (The Grateful Dead), Zakir Hussain, and Giovanni Hidalgo. He embarked on a milestone tour to Pakistan with Sunny Jain’s Wild Wild East band, after headlining the renowned Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington D.C. He debuted the 8-piece Bollywood Biggish Band at Lincoln Center, NYC, drawing close to 1,000 people for their “Celebrate Love” event. Jain also started developing his first musical theatrical piece called Love Force – commissioned by Joe’s Pub New York Voices, supported by National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts – after he was awarded the MAP Fund in 2021. All the while, Jain was globe-trotting with the almighty Red Baraat.
In 2021 during the pandemic, Jain released Phoenix Rise, a collaborative effort featuring over 50 artists such as Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas), Endea Owens (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) and Joe Russo (jam band darling). Accompanying the full digital album is a 72-page physical book that combines music, art, photography and planet-based recipes, all in the name of social justice. As executive producer and music producer, Jain partnered with Center for Constitutional Rights to fundraise and advocate for the work they do.
On February 21, 2020, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released Jain’s first album in over a decade, entitled Wild Wild East. Jon Pareles of The New York Times called the title track “furiously propulsive.” Songlines (UK) listed Wild Wild East among their top 10 global music albums of the year, and many others acclaimed it as Jain’s best work yet.
Called the “Hendrix of dhol” by Manchester Salon (UK), Jain is most known for founding the band Red Baraat, a frenzied fusion of bhangra, hip-hop, jazz, rock, and sheer, unbridled energy that NPR has called “the best party band in years.” Since 2012, Jain has been curating Red Baraat Festival of Colors, a multi-city annual festival showcasing artists of the South Asian diaspora.
In 2019, Jain became musical director for the OBIE award-winning theatrical show, The Jungle. That same year, he also musical directed the massive celebration for Lincoln Center’s 60th Anniversary and St. Ann’s Warehouse gala. In 2014, NPR commissioned Jain to premiere a piece for “Make Music New York” day. Jain’s “100+ BPM” convened more than 350 musicians on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library, including drum lines from the New York Jets, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.
In 2005, Jain founded the boutique artist-booking agency, Jainsounds, to offer high-quality live music for events and functions for the South Asian-American community. His company