Sunny Jain

Music Department Colloquium: Sunny Jain—“Never a Dhol Moment: Punjabi rhythms into jazz into story telling”

Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 4:30pm
Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall, Room 003 (Daltry Room), 60 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown


Brooklyn-based composer, performer, drummer, dhol (double-headed drum) player, thought leader, and Visiting Scholar in the Center for the Arts Sunny Jain will give a talk, “Never a Dhol Moment: Punjabi rhythms into jazz into story telling,” as part of the Music Department Colloquium series. 

Jain is the Center for the Arts artist in residence for 2023-2024, developing his new music theater project “Love Force.” Learn more about Jain's artist residency at Wesleyan.

Read Sunny Jain to Create New Music Theater Project During Wesleyan Residency in The Wesleyan Connection.

Watch Sunny Jain's "Wild Wild East" perform a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR. Bassist Almog Sharvit and Alison Shearer (on saxophone and flute) will perform as part of the work-in-progress public performance of “Love Force” at Wesleyan in September 2024.

In 2022, Sunny Jain joined Planet Drum for their first show in fifteen years, playing alongside drumming legends Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, and Giovanni Hidalgo. In 2021, Jain released Phoenix Rise, a collaborative effort featuring over 50 artists, such as Arooj Aftab, 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.

Called the “Hendrix of dhol” by Manchester Salon (United Kingdom), Jain is most known for founding the pioneering band Red Baraat, a frenzied fusion of bhangra (Punjabi folk dance), hip-hop, jazz, rock, and sheer, unbridled energy that NPR has called “the best party band in years.” The band has performed across the globe, including stops at the White House (under President Obama), the London Olympics, TED, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Luxembourg Philharmonic, Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festivals (in Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom), and Padma Lakshmi’s Blossom Ball. Jain was also the drummer for the acclaimed Sufi rock band Junoon for several years, recording the single “Open Your Eyes” with Peter Gabriel, performing at the Nobel
Peace Prize concert in 2007, at Srinagar University in Kashmir in 2009, and the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2009.

Learn more about Music Department Colloquia events.

Photo of Sunny Jain by Ebru Yildiz.