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"September Review of a show at The Smiling Moose"

This past Friday I finally got to see a band other than hard rock, punk or metal. Some people put Chaibaba in the jam band category but they are so much more than that. The trio consists of Ketan Bakrania on bass, his brother Vijay Bakrania on guitar and Dino Lopreiato filling out the rhythm section on drums and percussion. I wasn't real sure what to expect from these guys as it has been a few years since I last saw Ketan play. But what I got was amazing

I can't even begin to describe what these guys sound like. It's part funk part blues part rock part psychedelic and a lot of Jazz Fusion. This is a band that you go to hear to get involved in the music. It's not the type of band for background while your drinking. This is music that needs to be listened too as every new note or phrase will do something different. But if you're a musician or a fan of complicated intricate music then this is the band for you.

I've known Ketan for many years and always liked his playing but in the last few years since I've seen him he has become one of the most amazing players I have ever seen. Not only did he keep the groove going but he was also filling the role of rhythm guitar and keyboards with his two handed style. His playing brought to mind Stuart Hamm or Jaco Pastorious and he ably filled any holes that there might have been with the style he has developed. His brother Vijay was no slouch either with his use of chords and his phenomenal playing ability. Not only was his playing good but also his use of effects to achieve the right sound for the right passage was incredible. He will definitely be on my list of the top guitar players in this town. Dino was a very able drummer for this trio keeping it together and establishing the foundation for the soaring melodies. Not only did he add feel but he kept the time changes and mood right where they needed to be.

I would like to tell you about what songs they played when but for most of their set -- it really wasn't important. What mattered was what they played and it was all good. They opened up with a song that just built and kept soaring sweeping through changes of mood and time, which set the stage for the rest of their set. One hot point at the midway point of the set was the song ABC After School Special. This was yet another song that showcased this bands talent and abilities. They ended there extensive set by playing a cover of the Who's Baba O'riley with Ketan actually doing the synthesizer part from the beginning on his bass. They segued that song into Freebird, that's right Freebird. And it was a great ender to an amazing set of music. But just when you're ready to write these guys off as Jazz heads or freewheeling Hippy jammers they came back for an encore. This is when they dropped the shoe on the crowd at the Moose and did a cover of Metallica's Master of Puppets. This brought the house down and was one of the best covers I've heard in quite sometime.

So if your into bands that like to play and are not afraid to experiment a little and actually do something of the beaten path then this is a band that I highly recommend that you go see. Even if you're not a big fan of the style they play, you really need to see them once just for the caliber of the musicians in it. As parts they can all easily stand on their own, but together it makes one awesome machine. -

"Album review"

april 2006
music: underground magazine
(pittsburgh's independent music resource)
A mostly instrumental record, Chaibaba’s Slow Brewed is a hypnotic meditation into musical transcendentalism. With their ability to meld progressive rock with jazz and funk, Chaibaba’s style is reminiscent of early Steve Vai, though far more conventional.

On this album, bassist Ketan Bakrania yields some amazing chops, mixing slap with tap, all over the board. Each song is built around the melodiously driven bottom lines. Ketan’s brother Vijay handles the guitar work, mixing funky chord progressions with jazzy solos, constructing a sonically appealing six minutes of music on each track. The one vocally oriented song on this disc is a wacky ode to the splendors of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Slow Brewed is fun and quirky in a sophisticated way that will stick in your head, not the roof of your mouth.
- music: underground magazine

"Chaibaba dishes up a 'Slow Brewed' CD release party this weekend"

By Rex Rutkoski
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Since they couldn't make winter go away, the members of Chaibaba have decided to embrace it for a CD release party.

"We worked long and hard on our first CD ('Slow Brewed'), and we wanted to properly celebrate its completion," says Brackenridge resident Dino Lopreiato, 34, the trio's drummer-percussionist and backing vocalist.

The multi-genre band (progressive rock and metal, jazz, funk and improvisation) wanted a family-friendly venue that any age could attend.

Since Saturday's release party is happening in the middle of January, they decided to book Schenley Park Ice Rink in Pittsburgh. The stage is indoors, and the skating is included in the admission charge, as is a buffet dinner and beverages.

They bring an ambitious goal to that stage.

"We want to take the listener on a sonic trip and bring them back transformed," says Lopreiato, 34, co-owner of Vibo's Italian Bakery in Brackenridge, and also a farm market vendor. "We hope they learn to appreciate something new and different, possibly even something that changes the way they listen to music."

Completing the group are Ketan Bakrania, 33, bass, vocals and percussion; and his brother, Vijay Bakrania, 29, lead and rhythm guitar. Both are residents of Pittsburgh's South Side.

Ketan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, and Lopreiato in 1996. Lopreiato is a Highlands High School graduate.

The trio's primary purpose, Lopreiato explains, is to make good music for themselves and the listener.

"We don't really care about any particular scene, or any other standards of what 'cool' music should sound like. We put a lot of energy and feeling into crafting our music," he explains.

As for that intriguing moniker, Lopreiato says the band was not laboring to find a serious name. But someone mentioned "Chaibaba," and initially they laughed because it rhymed with a spiritual leader in southern India named Sai Baba.

"We later decided it was unique," Lopreiato says.

Chai is an Indian beverage containing black tea leaves boiled with milk and fresh spices. Baba has several meanings, such as "father," "incarnation" or as a term of respect for a holy man.

Chaibaba has been quietly gaining respect throughout the region. They've opened for national act Burning Spear in Pittsburgh, and performed at many of the city's venues, including The Rex Theatre and Club Cafe.

One of their most interesting gigs came atop a mountain in the Laurel Highlands during a mountain-biking festival.

"We were playing under the stars at almost 3,000 feet elevation. The people danced, (playfully) fought with bales of hay and even rode their bicycles naked through the crowd," Lopreiato recalls.

In the Alle-Kiski Valley, they performed at Killian's Pub in Creighton, East Deer. Pub owner and fellow musician Sean Schreckengost will be among the guests performing with the band Saturday.

They also will be joined by Anicet Mundundu, a master drummer and musician from the Congo (Zaire) region of Africa. He will lead The African Drumming Ensemble.

Pittsburgh musician Jason Joyer, lead singer and guitarist of the Creta Bourzia band, and bassist of the Don Caballero group, rounds out the guests.

Links to some of the guest performers can be found on Chaibaba's Web site: Also on the site is a link to MP3 versions of the songs on "Slow Brewed."

The debut album is all original. In the Alle-Kiski Valley, it is available at B&D Records, Springdale.

The artist says the group is quite pleased with the results of the CD. "We never imagined that it would have turned out sounding as professional as it does. The album also has a flow of its own, where the songs blend nicely with each other," Lopreiato says.

He says he is proud that the musicians recorded everything that is heard on the CD. All of the sound effects are real recordings, not computer-generated. The sound of a jet used in one track was recorded by Vijay Bakrania at Pittsburgh International Airport. A variety of birds, as well as falling rain, were recorded by Ketan Bakrania at his South Side home.

Ketan Bakrania's bass techniques often fulfill multiple roles, such as the illusion of synthesizers, rhythm guitar or percussion. Vijay Bakrania's guitar sounds vary from mellow chords to chunky rhythms to melodies that sound almost as if they are being sung. The bass and guitar alternate, one leading while the other supports, and at other times they stand together.

Lopreiato's drumming works hand in hand with Ketan's bass, forming a solid rhythm section, which can by heavy, funky or gentle, but, Lopreiato assures, always tight.

Their obvious love for what they do comes across on the CD.

"Music is like food," Lopreiato says. "We live and breathe it. It makes life more enjoyable."

Rex Rutkoski can be reached at or (724) 226-4664. - VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH

"Music: Chaibaba"

by Eric Jesberger

Eric: Listening to you guys, it’s hard to tell what your influences are. What would you say are the bands that influence your style the most?
Dino: I think that all three of us are greatly different, and we put all three together to make our sound. The music that inspires me is Zappa, old metal bands; I love Rush, the Grateful Dead, Phish, Zeppelin and all those old, classic-rock bands.
Vijay: There’s a lot of influences – yes, even U2, obscure metal bands like Voivod, Jane’s Addiction, Pink Floyd.
Ketan: A lot of them intersect, like Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden. And there’s also an extreme variety, not straight-up jazz, but stuff from the ‘70s, Michael Hedges, some classical music. African drumming influences the rhythm of our music. We grew up with our dad listening to classical Indian music.
Vijay: I listen to a little bit punkier music then these guys, I think.
Dino: We could keep going and going and going with that one.
Ketan: The only way to make really original-sounding music is to listen to as much different stuff as possible. If you listen to one thing, you can tell when you make your music.
Eric: What genre would you guys define your music as, if you had to pick a genre?
Ketan: The most general category would be rock, but probably progressive rock.
Vijay: Progressive rock sounds almost like it accents the intellectual side too much, and not the emotional. The jam band side sounds like it’s more about being out there, instead of playing that well.
Dino: There’s something there, and it’s hard to define. We need to make a new category. Sometimes our music is very instrumental, it’s just about how things come out. It’s not like we choose it to be this way, or say how it’s gonna come out; that’s what just happens when making art.
Vijay: It sounds so cliché, but music is a universal language. You can have songs that don’t have any lyrics in them, but speak to everybody.
Dino: We stay so up on the music that there might not be enough room for a lot of lyrics, anyway. It would be great if we had a bunch of lyrics and were real inspired, but the music is what comes naturally to us.
Eric: Would you consider yourselves a jam band? That’s the label I’ve seen stuck on your stuff.
Dino: No, no, no.
Ketan: Some people might call it that, ‘cause they think we’re jamming, but we’re not. Dino: We are a real “worked-out,” and there’s bands like Phish that have jam songs, but they know exactly where they’re at; they know what they’re doing, and what’s coming up next, where they are going to end, and how they are gonna end it.
Vijay: Planned improvisation.
Dino: Exactly. But the people listening think it’s straightforward improv. We do most of our improv when we practice, and it sounds great. I wish we had time during shows to do it. A lot of times, when we practice, we’ll just start playing, and it’ll go for 20 minutes. We’re not a jam band; we have jam-band tendencies. I love a good jam band, but I want to make it pretty clear that we are “worked out,” exercised.
Eric: With the band, do you do it for the sake of the music, or are there other reasons there? Do you have bigger aspirations then just making music?
Dino: Yea, we all differ a little, but for me, for sure, I just love making music. I gave up many, many things, because you have to practice and get good at your instrument and your music. You really have to work at your craft. It’s really for the music.
Vijay: It would be nice not to have to worry about paying rent and getting money and putting all your energy into creative efforts, but that’s difficult.
Ketan: The real pay-off is when people really enjoy your music and appreciate it.
Dino: It’s the best thing when people tell you how much that they enjoy your music and that they loved your show, and they are sincere. It’s a good rush. It’s great that we are making the music that we enjoy making to achieve that, and we don’t have the restrictions that we have to adhere to, or we don’t fit the mold. As long as people like the music, that’s all that matters. If the people here like the music, they probably will in the next city, and so on, because we are giving them a good product.
Eric: Musically, where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
Dino: Wow, 10 years…43.
Ketan: Hopefully, doing this. Maybe touring about half or three-quarters of the year; a lot of leisure time.
Vijay: I’d like to have a studio, maybe put out a solo album.
Dino: I’d like to be able to put out an album a year. Maybe tour for it a little bit, keep my lifestyle, overall. Maybe local, maybe not. Be able to do something like that every year, and have people buy it, and get national, or even international distribution, like to Japan or Europe. And be able to enjoy ourselves and make music, hopefully in his (Vijay’s) studio.
- The Front Weekly

"Pittsburgh Calling: 1/19/06"


Members: Ketan Bakrania, bass, vocals, percussion; Vijay Bakrania, guitar; Dino Lopreiato, drums.

Style: Progressive rock, from jazzy to metal.

Listed influences: Phish, Pink Floyd, Rush, many metal bands, Zappa, Yes, classical Indian music, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Hedges, Jane's Addiction.

Background: Lopreiato and Ketan played together for years in the Pitt African Drumming Ensemble, Blindsight and SYT. They formed the band shortly after Vijay moved to Pittsburgh in late 1998.

Debut: "Slow Brewed" is a nine-song instrumental powerhouse that was three years in the making and, surprisingly, recorded in a basement room the size of an office cubicle.

Creative process: "Sometimes we don't even talk," Lopreiato says. "We walk down into the practice spot, plug in and start playing. Sometimes that will go on for a half-hour, 45 minutes, then, we'll say, 'What do we want to do?' "

The songs: Most are instrumental, but there are vocals on a few including Ketan's growling tribute to peanut butter on "PB&J" and horror-core style vocal on "Take Control." "We don't say, 'We're doing vocals to this song.' If they come out, we embrace them," Lopreiato says. "But the music is how we express ourselves. It transcends all generational boundaries and makes it more timeless and also more international."

What kind of band do they think they are? "That's one of the hardest questions," Lopreiato says. "We are a rock band, but we're more like an old progressive rock band. The songs are really long. We didn't say, 'We have to have a 31/2-minute long song to get played on the radio.' Our album just embraces a lot of different areas. It's like life: the mellow part, the heavy part, the aggressive part, the chai."

Playing out: "We're not overly concerned with playing shows. When we go out there, people are amazed, like 'Where have you guys been?' "

CD Release show: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday. Schenley Park Ice Rink, inside. There will be homemade Italian and Indian food, beer (with ID), coffee, etc., included and ice skating (fee for skates if you don't have your own). $15; $13 in advance; kids 12 and under $6. All ages, no smoking inside. Guests include The African Drumming Ensemble and Jason Jouver of Creta Bourzia.
-- Scott Mervis - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Chaibaba - "Slow Brewed"
Listen to clips at our website or other songs at



Chaibaba knows how to put on a good performance, but they also explore the mysterious and hypnotic. Ketan's bass techniques often fulfill multiple roles, such as the illusion of synthesizers, rhythm guitar, or percussion. Vijay’s guitar sounds vary, from mellow chords, to chunky rhythms, to melodies that sound almost as if they’re being sung. The bass and guitar alternate, one leading while the other supports, and at other times they stand together. Dino’s drumming works hand-in-hand with Ketan’s bass, forming a solid rhythm section, which can be heavy, funky, or gentle, but always tight.
Before the trio formed, members Dino and Ketan had played together in various groups, such as the Pitt African Drumming Ensemble, Blindsight, and SYT. Vijay, who only occasionally jammed with his brother, Ketan, moved to Pittsburgh, in the fall of 1998. Three months later, the band was formed.
Since their conception, Chaibaba has played many venues, mostly in and around Pittsburgh. Their music appeals to a wide array of listeners, from fans of jazz, funk, and improv, to fans of progressive rock and metal.
Chaibaba’s music hints at unexplored realms of infinite possibilities and communicates more feeling than most contemporary popular music, even though their use of vocals is minimal. To just call these guys “rock” doesn’t do them justice. Chaibaba takes the listener on a sonic trip and brings them back transformed.