Monthly Archives: January 2010

Classical Ballet+Indian Classical = Epic Dance

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to interview 26-year old Urmika Devi, a fellow Temple Law classmate about her upcoming dance piece In Dreams,  which incorporates elements of Indian classical with contemporary ballet. The full interview will be posted somewhere on the net later, but I walked away from it in awe of Urmika’s dedication to her art. And I straightaway bought two tickets to the show. Here’s why I think this particular show is going to be amazing: Continue reading

Sunny Ali & The Kid at Tritone TONIGHT

About a month ago, I did an interview on Sepia Mutiny with Hassan Malik Ali, formerly of  POPOS. He mentioned then that he was starting a solo project under the name “Sunny Ali.” Tonight, Ali joins The Lopez, The Mighty Paradocs, Brik-a-Brak (member of Drake) at the Tritone on South Street.

Show starts at 9PM and runs till 1AM. Ali should be playing at 10PM. Tickets are $5. Here’s the electronic version of a romantic song called “I oh you“exclusively for PG readers. It’s my favorite of his works. (There’s also an acoustic version that hopefully I can convince him to share with us later.) Enjoy.

Sunny Ali & The Kid

Wednesday, January 27 at 9PM


1508 South Street

Philadelphia, PA 19146


[Photo credit: M. Edlow]

Meth Makes You Hotter, Kids

A recent feature on NPR’s All Things Considered highlighted a new approach to keeping teens away from methamphetamine, software that shows the effects of the drug on a user’s face.

“You’re young. You’re vibrant. You have great-looking skin. Your hair is there, your teeth are there,” Allman says. “The software … morphs it into causing the physiological effects that meth causes — the open scabs, the droopy skin, the hair loss.”

“It strikes at the vanity of teenagers,” he tells NPR’s Guy Raz. Continue reading

Craig LaBan Chews Out Chew

I continue to live vicariously through Craig LaBan, Inquirer restaurant critic. I was reminded of that today when a friend told me I “simply must” read LaBan’s review of Chew Man Chu, which replaced Du Jour at Symphony House on Broad and Pine Streets. It’s always a treat to read one of LaBan’s negative reviews. The pen is mightier than the sword, indeed. After I finished reading this particular review, I was pierced with the overwhelming desire to find a pair of scissors and frame the thing. LaBan doesn’t just skewer. He skewers with style. Read the whole review, word for word. Just for my own learning purposes, I wanted to highlight my favorite lines.

Continue reading

Music of 2010: Red Baraat

I woke up this morning with a brass band playing in my head. That happens sometimes. For some reason, my subconscious thinks that it makes sense to ring in the new year with some bhangra/jazz fusion. What say you? The song is “Balle Balle” and the band is Red Baraat, a dhol & brass group based in NYC. Luckily for fans of their work, Red Baraat releases their debut CD, Chaal Baby,  January 30. I’ve been hearing great things about them since fall and I’m happy to say their CD does not disappoint. Check out the review by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David R. Stampone:

Ethnomusicological sourcing of rhythm-based world-music fusions has its own edifying appeal – but if the jams are no fun, who cares? Can’t fake the funk. That’s not a problem with Red Baraat, an irresistible “dhol ‘n’ brass” nine-piece from New York City directed by acclaimed drummer Sunny Jain. It’s got the infectious allure of a rolling New Orleans brass band (bottom-ended by some deep sousaphone) crossed with the giddy beats of bhangra, the North Indian feel-good style that has taken root all over the world, particularly in subcontinental immigrant communities (see the dancing wedding-goers in Bend It Like Beckham).

Raised in Rochester by Punjabi parents, Jain has drummed since age five, including jazz gigs, with international Sufi-rock band Junoon, on Broadway in the Bombay Dreams production, and in numerous ensembles of his own. Red Baraat originally formed to play at Jain’s own nuptials a few years ago. The debut album’s lead track is indeed “Punjabi Wedding Song (Balle Balle),” and baraat is a Hindi term for marriage procession. In the last year, RB has captivated crowds beyond the wedding circuit with Jain leading the funked-up action on the two-sided Punjabi dhol drum. He invented “dhol ‘n’ brass” – and this record proves that Red Baraat rules it. Continue reading