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Celebrate 2024 with Toast of the Nation

Sachyn Mital
Courtesy of the artist

Toast of the Nation celebrates the idea of renewal. Every year, we feature glorious live performances from different time zones around the planet. Each act provides a glimpse into the way we rejoice in the New Year around the world.

This year, Red Baraat, the indie brass band from Brooklyn, fuses folkloric elements from India with the contemporary sounds of America, while also getting the audience on its feet at The Hamilton Live, in Washington, D.C.

After dancing up a frenzy, the sublime alto vocals of Lizz Wright calm us down with a soothing and soulful set from a small village at the Jazz in Marciac Festival in France.

Steelpan modernist Jonathan Scales and his Fourchestra create a magnetic field of groove around his Trinidadian metal drum at the Black Cat in San Francisco.

And with her piano, the Japanese supernova known as Hiromi welcomes us to a musical utopia, what she describes as a "Sonic Wonderland" at Sony Hall in New York City.

Set 1 of 4

Red Baraat at The Hamilton Live in Washington, D.C.

Punjabi dhol drummer Sunny Jain is the mastermind behind one of America's most intoxicating live brass bands. He seamlessly blends jazz, funk, ska, hip-hop — even punk music — with a wide range of folkloric music from his ancestral homeland, India. The banging and jumping set takes off at The Hamilton Live, just steps away from the White House in Washington, D.C.

Set List

  • "Balam Pichkari" (Pritam, Amitabh Bhattacharya, arranged/orchestrated by Sunny Jain)
  • "Chaal Baby" (Sunny Jain)
  • "Ishq Tera Tadpave" (Sukhbir, arranged/orchestrated by Sunny Jain)
  • "Zindabad" (Sunny Jain)
  • "Shruggy Ji" (Sunny Jain)
  • "Holi Ke Din" (R.D. Burman, arranged/orchestrated by Sunny Jain)
  • "Rang Barse" (Shiv-Hari, arranged/orchestrated by Sunny Jain)
  • "Gaadi of Truth" (Sunny Jain)
  • "Baraat to Nowhere" (Sunny Jain)


Sunny Jain, dhol, vocals; Varun Das, drum set; Alison Shearer, soprano saxophone; Sonny Singh, trumpet, vocals; Armando Vergara, trombone, vocals; John Altieri, sousaphone, rap; Jonathan Goldberger, guitar.

Set 2 of 4

Lizz Wright at Jazz in Marciac in France

Steve Mundinger / Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Lizz Wright just needs one note to completely level her audience at Jazz in Marciac, one of the world's most renowned music festivals. Wright's bluesy, alto voice is absolutely mesmerizing while guiding her band through a moody set of ballads, spirituals and pop songs.

Set List

  • "Sweet Feeling" (Candi Staton, Clarence Carter, Marcus Daniel, Rick Hall)
  • "Walk With Me, Lord" (Traditional)
  • "Chasing Strange" (Marc Anthony Thompson)
  • "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" (Doc Daugherty, Al J. Neiburg, Ellis Reynolds)
  • "Old Man" (Neil Young)
  • "Salt" (Lizz Wright)
  • "Seems I'm Never Tired Lovin' You" (Carolyn Franklin)
  • "The New Game" (David Batteau, Larry Klein, Lizz Wright) 


Lizz Wright, vocals; Bobby Ray Sparks II, piano, organ; Marvin Sewell, guitar; Ben Zwerin, bass; Ivan Edwards, drums.

Set 3 of 4

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra at the Black Cat in San Francisco

Alex Torres / Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Steelpan master Jonathan Scales flips the format that is typically ascribed to his Trinidadian party drum. With his Fourchestra, the pannist provides new angles to hear and appreciate his enigmatic instrument. At the Black Cat supper club in San Francisco, he brings a relentlessly grooving set, which also manages to be cerebral and often introspective.

Set List: (All music written by Jonathan Scales unless otherwise noted)

  • "Jam We Did"  
  • "This is the Last Hurrah!" 
  • "Fake Buddha's Inner Child" 
  • "Box in the Sky"
  • "Mind Your 3s and 2s"
  • "The Mad"
  • "Lurkin'"
  • "We Came Through the Storm"
  • "Auld Lang Syne" (traditional)


Jonathan Scales, steelpan; E'Lon JD, electric bass; Maison Guidry, drums.

Set 4 of 4

Hiromi at Sony Hall in New York City

Mitsuru Nishimura / Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Hiromi's pyrotechnics on the piano have been a hallmark in all of her bands over the years. Her latest quartet — Sonicwonder — is no different, as she was able to burn down the house during her series of performances at Sony Hall in New York City. Hiromi and her bandmates are "plugged-in" for this electric adventure.

Set List: (All music written by Hiromi unless otherwise noted)

  • "Wanted" 
  • "Sonicwonderland"
  • "Polaris" 
  • "Utopia" 
  • "Bonus stage" 
  • "Auld Lang Syne" (traditional)


Hiromi, piano, keys; Hadrien Feraud, bass; Gene Coye, drums; Adam O'Farrill, trumpet.

Copyright 2024 WBGO. To see more, visit WBGO.

Sarah Geledi left her job in advertising in Montreal to pursue a career in music in New York City. She fulfilled that mission, producing content for the JAM Festival at WBGO, segments for The Checkout, and programs for WWOZ and PRI's Afropop Worldwide. She also served as a producer for NYC Winter Jazzfest before landing the "job of her dreams," producing radio for Jazz Night in America.
For more than 15 years, Simon Rentner has worked as a host, producer, broadcaster, web journalist, and music presenter in New York City. His career gives him the opportunity to cover a wide spectrum of topics including, history, culture, and, most importantly, his true passion of music from faraway places such as Europe, South America, and Africa.