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RAYA, Our 3rd Official Album, Available for Pre-Order Now

It’s a well known fact that Raya Brass Band’s live shows immediately set hands clapping and hips swaying, transforming a music hall into a riotous and carefree dance party. With their fourth record, RAYA, the madly skilled New York City based sextet delivers another concentrated dose of ecstatic brass abandon. RAYA serves up a winning set of nine original tunes with clear nods to countless traditions of celebratory music the world over: Balkan weddings, New Orleans street band parties, New York salsa, Basement Bhangra, and Ethiopian grooves.

Pre-Order “Raya” on Bandcamp

From the opening bhangra-tinged groove of trumpeter Ben Syversen’s Unify through the Macedonian/salsa mashup of Bag of Nails, these musicians loudly declare their distaste for man-made lines of demarcation. RAYA also finds them balancing the nuance and sonic possibilities of the recording studio with the compelling immediacy of their live performances. The electronica-inspired dance tune Club Mono (penned by tuba player Don Godwin, who also co-produced the album with the band) and the anthemic Sunken Angels, with its quiet beginnings crescendoing into richly layered choruses, both show accordionist Matthew Fass switching to synthesizer to support this wide range of sounds.

The addition of second percussionist Rich Stein reinforces the already formidable percussion skills of tapan (bass drum) player Nezih Antakli. The intricate patterns they create on the Ethiopian-inspired With Every Drop That Falls and the propulsive Ivan’s Tune, a rambunctious tribute to an enthusiastic friend of the band, showcase the tremendous range of textures produced by their prodigious collections of shakers, scratchers, clackers, rattles and hand drums.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Raya Brass Band album without a heavy dose of Balkan inspiration, (from Turkey to Serbia, Romania to Greece). Greg Squared’s reedy gymnastics on the opening of his Sugar and Salt, a tune based on Macedonian bagpipe music that might conjure a Celtic jig or reel, the ferocity of Dren Gajda, and the brooding Turkish-style Mirage all show the band deeper than ever into their Balkan roots.

Since 2008, Raya Brass Band has thrilled audiences in clubs, festivals, and underground parties. Whether you find them wailing mid-span on the Brooklyn Bridge under a full moon, serenading straphangers on a NYC subway car, or doing some hardcore relaxing in the middle of the hot tub at a Russian banya, the band gleefully delivers their full-metal joie de vivre to listeners practically anywhere. In addition to striking up in settings of dubious legality and questionable prudence, the band regularly brings its brand of irrational exuberance to stages nationwide. Notable appearances include performances on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Radiolab Live, as well as collaborations with ballet choreographer Eliot Feld and Ballet Tech at the Joyce Theater and with a production of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater.


“RAYA” Album Release Party

with West Philadelphia Orchestra and DJ Joro Boro

Friday Nov 13, 2015
Doors: 8:00 PM
Show: 9:00 PM
21 and over
622 Degraw st.
Brooklyn, NY
$12 advance – $15 at the door

Event Link:
Facebook Event:
Raya Brass Band:
West Philly Orchestra: