Mahalai Rai Banda

With an album called Ghetto Blaster and a track placed in a major motion picture, you'd expect a band of... hyperactive Romanian Gypsies? Right. In fact, the ghettos in question are in the suburbs of Bucharest, the film was Borat, and the blast fuses sundry traditions from the region. There's raucous brass (ranging from funky jazz to chortling militia) from one village; strings and accordion from another; crazy rhythms that sometimes suggest careening ska, or slip into rock, blues, or folkloric grooves that ricochet at a steaming pace; and vocals that undulate sinuous paths among taut, baroque melodies. It's twisted traditionalism with post-modern intensity, and Mahala Rai Banda will use it to launch the Cedar's second Global Roots Festival. Also on the festival's first evening bill will be Red Baraat, a New York ensemble that establishes its own blistering momentum as the world's apparently only dhol'n'brass band. A baraat is a Hindi marriage procession, and Red Baraat's has a lot in common with a New Orleans second line parade. Marrying NOLA trad and funkified brass band sounds with North Indian bhangra rhythms, this stuff gets down and shakes it mercilessly.
Tue., Sept. 21, 7 p.m., 2010
 
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