Black Masala
Brassy, funky, Black Masala is a DC based genre busting whirlwind of dueling energies, competing harmonies, and driving hypnotic beats.


Brassy Washington DC-based outfit, Black Masala, is part of the new generation of go-anywhere brass bands. You can hear this sound all over the world now – from New Orleans (Hot 8) to Belgrade (Boban & Marko Markovic), Paris (Fanfarai) to Cotonou (Gangbe Brass Band), and right here on the east coast area as well (Red Baraat & No BS! Brass). A major party alert for this band – Black Masala puts on an amazing, high-energy live show! 

Black Masala’s Brassy Midnight Party Grooves from NoLa to Punjab on Trains and Moonlight Destinies 

You want to have a good time? You need brass. 

This is what DC’s Black Masala blasts to the world, harnessing all the good times sunk in the Romany, second-line, bhangra, and funk horn parts that have gotten huge swaths of the planet up and dancing. With rock drive and a willingness to be as weird and wonderful as the party demands, Black Masala woos fans and new listeners with Trains and Moonlight Destinies, a tribute to the ins and outs of love, fate, and wanderlust. 

Black Masala’s originals hit both elements head on, telling stories of powerful women, rascally dudes, raucous nights, and life on the road that are tinged with a hint of the fantastical, as the video for the title track reveals. 

2018 will see the release of their latest album entitled "Trains and Moonlight Destinies" 

Whether they are performing live shows or releasing new music, Black Masala push the boundaries between genres and explore new musical frontiers. This unorthodox and highly creative approach is what makes the shows so much fun with a wild and unpredictable vibe for the audience.


Band Members:  

Mike Ounallah - Drums/ Vocals  
Kristen Long - Vocal/ Percussion  
Brendan Schnabel - Tenor and Soprano Sax  
Gordon Jones - Tenor Sax                                                                           
Michael DiCiurci - Sousaphone  
Chris Lee  - Guitar 
Kirsten Warfield - Trombone   


Mike Ounallah


Andy Cerutti

Band Contact:









Press and Quotes

"Black Masala is a first rate band who are among the growing numbers of groups who make fun, energetic world beat mash-ups that show a good deal of imagination." - The Graham Album Review

“If you haven’t seen them yet, DC’s Black Masala is one of the most exciting live acts anywhere in the USA right now. Playing a unique mix of punk rock, Balkan brass, Indian bhangra and New Orleans funk, this horn-driven (trumpet, trombone and sousaphone) septet is a guaranteed party-starter. . . This is a regional band that deserves to go national and international, one of the most exciting projects in our part of the world these days.”  – Bill Lupoletti, WRIR Global A Go-Go

“I am a sucker for music that defies easy description. I am also a sucker for music that gets me moving. On its latest album I Love You Madly, Black Masala hits both of those targets. . . If you're a fan of energetic, uptempo music, this album is definitely for you.”  –

“Black Masala is a D.C. outfit that has found success riding off of its own inventiveness. Experimenting with a flirtatious combination of gypsy punkiness and brass, the band can expertly churn an audience of awkward head-bobbers into a livened stew of aspirant dancers. Their big-band sound seems able to adapt to any venue; readily filling out the cavernous space of the 9:30 while simultaneously fitting to match the intimacy of Tropicalia. For them, no groove is off limits.” – WRGW Music Blog

"Sure, having an album that can stand the test of time is important, but so is exhibiting that piece of work onstage. Black Masala is your gypsy carnival circus of music that knows no limits of genre. You are rocking out, grooving like you would to funk music, yet you feel like you may be at some ska gypsy punk show, and you become overwhelmed with their uncanny stage presence. Their music must be experienced in person to fully understand this band and that is what makes them so much fun. You won’t be served soft underhand pitches of predictable songs and setlist structure. Instead, you’ll probably find a Monty on Sousaphone standing next to you in the crowd while Kristen Long reaches deep into your soul with her powerful vocals."  - Live Music Daily

"D.C.’s rich history of producing great funk and soul while embracing our funkin’ future, which, if Black Masala is any indication, it looks pretty damn good."
- Zeke Leeds - Brightest Young Things 

Black Masala are sort of the Washington, DC counterpart to Slavic Soul Party. They play an intoxicatingly edgy blend of Romany, Indian, Afrobeat, circus rock and hard funk dancefloor grooves. Their brassy attack features lots of biting minor keys and slinky rhythms. . . Their latest album "I Love You Madly" [has] nine sings, every one of them excellent, one of the best dozen releases to come over the transom here in the past several months." - New York Music Daily


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Media/Press Items