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Red Baraat’s Sonny Singh announces debut solo record ‘Chardi Kala’

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Red Baraat’s Sonny Singh announces debut solo record ‘Chardi Kala’

Uplifting boundary-defying Punjabi anthems and Sikh Kirtan. Produced by three-time Grammy winner Wil-Dog Abers of Ozomatli.

Sonny Singh has brought his fiery trumpet playing and vocals to audiences around the world for the last decade as an original member of the Brooklyn Bhangra outfit Red Baraat. In 2020, he launched a new solo project inspired by Sikh kirtan with boundary-defying Punjabi anthems to uplift & ignite.

Sonny’s debut solo record is called, “Chardi Kala,” the Sikh concept of revolutionary eternal optimism. Even in the toughest of times, Sikhs have a spiritual and political obligation to remain in high spirits. This album is a reminder that hope, love, and devotion are crucial to our struggles and our collective survival. “Chardi Kala” is a musical autobiography, but isn’t specifically about Sonny Singh at all—it’s about what inspires and grounds us in the darkest of times.

Sonny Singh:

“Musically, this project embodies the many spiritual, political, and aesthetic elements that have shaped me. Every song has an original vibe to it, eclectic and unique, from a bolero-mariachi Sikh shabad on one track, to a qawwali song with a reggae bass line on another, then a bombastic Ghadar Party tribute in Punjabi and Spanish on yet another.”

Pushing the boundaries of Sikh kirtan and South Asian spiritual music, “Chardi Kala” provides listeners with an experience of both introspective reflection and fervent urgency.

It’s the first time anyone has ever done an album setting Sikh devotional songs to this style of music, a feat not lost on Sonny who recalls singing them in his childhood. Pioneering a fresh sound with a timeless message has made this solo project even more meaningful to the veteran musician, who considers his activism and work as a social justice educator part of his spiritual practice as well, upholding the Sikh values of tearing down oppression and fighting for justice.

Sonny Singh:

“Music is a huge part of my spiritual practice. It is exciting to be able to share these shabads [devotional songs] with the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with someone as talented as Wil-Dog to bring this vision to life,”

Wil-Dog, a longtime musical friend of the artist, expressed his enthusiasm at being able to introduce Sonny’s solo sound to an eager audience as well as new fans yet to discover the talented artist.

Many of the lyrics on this album come from Gurbani (Sikh devotional poetry) and Sufi poetry set to Sonny’s original music. While these words were mostly written in the 16th and 17th Centuries, their message of denouncing tyranny, oppression, and dogmatic ideologies, while uplifting oneness and justice resonates deeply today.

Sonny’s first musical outlet as a child of immigrant parents in North Carolina was singing Sikh devotional music in gurdwaras (Sikh houses of worship). His energy shifted to other types of music as he became a more serious musician: ska, reggae, funk, punk rock, bhangra, and more.

His album “Aisee Preet” is released today, April 14, the day when Sikhs throughout the world will celebrate Vaisakhi, a major Sikh holiday that commemorates the birth of the Khalsa, a body of revolutionaries fighting against all forms of oppression and tyranny, in 1699.

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