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Sunny Jain releasing ‘Wild Wild East’ (stream “Immigrant Warrior”)

Sunny Jain Wild Wild East

Red Baraat bandleader Sunny Jain is releasing his first new solo album in a decade, Wild Wild East, on February 21 via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the Smithsonian Institution’s nonprofit record label (pre-order). Here’s some background via press release on where the album title comes from:

Wild Wild East first started to take shape following the 2016 election. “It felt like the Wild West,” Jain says of the times, though they played out in the theoretically civilized confines of Washington, D.C., and New York City — the East Coast. Around the same time, he found himself performing at the cultural festival park Global Village in Dubai, where countries from around the world are represented by architectural installations. “The only [place] there that was being represented by a human being was the Americas, and the Americas were represented by this cowboy — a white male cowboy with a hat, beard, gun in the holster.”

The cowboy’s boldness, bravery, and radical independence? It looks different when you’re not the one holding the gun. “The idea was to address the cowboy mentality that we people of color — whether you’re red, brown, or black — face,” Jain says. “The cowboy is this sheriff that you witness throughout American history, from the Wild West to the cops today, but if I were the native, if I were the African American, it’s like, ‘This cowboy is coming to shoot me down.’ This is not romantic to me at all.”

We’re premiering lead single “Immigrant Warrior,” which very much conveys the concept behind the album title. It sounds like the middle ground between a Western score and a Bollywood score, with a little free jazz in the mix too, and Sunny Jain fuses these things to the point where they sound like one focused style of music. Here’s what Sunny tells us about this song:

“Immigrant Warrior” is a tribute to my parents and all immigrants alike, in the courage that it takes to leave one’s homeland and arrive somewhere new and foreign. I think about the perseverance of my parents going through the dislocation of 1947 India Partition (the biggest mass migration in world history), and eventually emigrating to America with no roots, family or friends here. I imagine the determination and bravery of refugees in escaping tyranny. I recall the history of America – people willfully and unwillfully landing here – finding their way and building this nation of immigrants. The character of “Immigrant Warrior” embodies this inner strength and confidence, before stepping onto new land and becoming careful, watchful and introspective. Eventually finding one’s confidence in navigating unfamiliar surroundings, the song realigns and rises.

Listen and check out the tracklist below.

Sunny Jain is also scheduled to perform at NYC’s Winter Jazzfest on January 10 (venue TBA), with more dates TBA.

Tracklist
1.Immigrant Warrior
2. Wild Wild East
3. Osian
4. Red, Brown, Black
5. Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal (Remembrance)
6. Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal
7. Bhaagi
8. Blackwell
9. Hai Apna Dil to Aawara
10. Tumse Lagi Lagan
11. Maitri Bhavanu
12. Brooklyn Dhamal

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