Brooklyn-based musician, composer, andRedBaraatbandleader,SunnyJain, presents the title track and its accompanying video fromWild Wild East, his new album outFebruary 21st on Smithsonian Folkways. Following the lively lead single“Immigrant Warrior,”“Wild Wild East” “is about migration,” Jain says. “A story that everyone has in their family, whether it be 100 years old or in recent times. This song is about my lineage from Osian, Rajasthan to Sialkot, Punjab to the 1947 partition of India, and then the eventual move to America. The courageousness of all immigrants to leave their family and home in search of opportunity in a foreign land is a wild and bold move. One that truly embodies the romanticized ideas the cowboy has always professed to be.”
The accompanying video was directed byAdeelAhmedand was filmed throughout Manhattan, Queens, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New Delhi, Old Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.
Wild Wild Eastexplores the American myth of westward expansion, which has always been an irony-caked parable about what happens when you try to escape the known to pursue new beginnings, but also the traits that still ring true. The album 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.”
Wild Wild Eastsources musical inspiration from an array of influences, from the scores of Bollywood classics to Spaghetti Westerns, Indian folk to jazz improvisation, and South Asian languages to English prose to express the immigrant experience as one navigates the terrain of what it means to be “American.” Jain, the son of immigrants from India, draws upon his family history of migration for vision, employing rhythmic shifts, dissolving soundscapes, and the interplay of structure and experimentation to represent the heartbreak and triumph within the South Asian diaspora.