Penn Masala, Penn’s South Asian a capella group, has been performing and creating music since 1996, and they have since established an international reputation for themselves. On March 30, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Penn Masala will host their annual spring show at Irvine auditorium—a ticket to the show costs $8. The theme of the show is reflective both of what the group does and what they aim for.
This year’s show is titled Interstellar, and it carries a new important message. “Interstellar is a nod to Masala’s drive of continuously exploring new musical frontiers and reaching new heights with our music and community engagement, like what messages we want to portray to our fans. We believe in Masala that the sky is not the limit,” member Dev Shaurya Singhal (E' 21, W '21) explained.
Last year’s show was titled Kaleidoscope. Dev says, “We’re all South Asian people and some of us grew up here, and some of us are from back home in India. That [title] was a reflection of our colorful and bright heritage and our changing musical dynamic.”
Dev, who is from India, says that he first learned about Penn Masala when he was still in high school. Like most people involved with Penn Masala, Dev had interest in joining but no prior experience. They practice Monday through Thursday typically for an hour or two, and Dev explains that you learn from everyone around you. The group consists of thirteen Penn students.
Penn Masala's style is unique, as they mix South Asian music with Western music. Their performances and albums have reached an extremely widespread audience, evidenced by their past tours, which took them to places like India, England, and other parts of the United States.
In addition to hosting showcases, Penn Masala releases an album roughly every two years. Their newest album is scheduled to be released in June.
Masala even released a video about the issue of mental health and emotional stress in the South Asian community. This video showed just how widespread Penn Masala’s reach is; they collaborated with a videographer in India. “We’ve been gaining more recognition in both India and here in the U.S. We strive to take our music one step further every year,” Dev says. Masala aims to make their fans feel more “rooted to their culture” with their music.
Dev says, “Shows are definitely so much fun because there’s so much energy and we love to see people dancing to our music and having fun while we’re performing. With albums, it’s always great to release new music and reflect on how songs would go together well and work on that.”
No matter what Penn Masala does, they inspire people with their music. “When people say that they like our music, that is the most rewarding part of it,” Dev explains. For people who are looking to experience this amazing talent in person, tickets for the event and more details can be found here.