Penn Masala, the world’s first Hindi a cappella group, is popular on the Indian and international music circuit for blending Hindi music with the latest numbers on the global scene.
Comprising 12 students from the University of Pennsylvania, the group will now head to India early next year for a five-city tour that starts in Mumbai on January 4.
“We’ve been lucky to perform in India once every three years. We’re excited by the prospect of sharing our music with audiences here, given that our members and music have roots in India. A cappella is a young genre here,” says Akshat Vaidya, a member.
The prime focus of the tour will be to promote their upcoming album. “It’s special to put together an album, and we’re excited about it. We will be performing in Bengaluru and Pune for the first time and have put together many new covers. We continue to increase the complexity of our arrangements,” says Sam Levenson, another member.
The group has been reproducing works by popular bands on the subcontinent. “We’ve loved producing several covers of music written by Jal, Noori and Strings. We feel that the character of their music works with the sound we are looking to create. One mix which has been popular among live audiences is Coldplay’s Fix you and Ishq Bina from Taal (1999),” says Levenson.
So does the group plan to try their hand at Bollywood? “Music tastes are becoming diverse and there seems to be a growing independent music scene. We want to bring our voices to Bollywood,” says Vaidya.
Besides Hindi, the group has started experimenting with regional languages as well. “We’re proud to start including regional music with lots of influence, from Bengali rock to languages like Malayalam and Sanskrit,” says Vaidya.
The group’s eighth studio album is likely to release in March next year.
Performances in other cities:
January 6 – Pune
January 9 – Hyderabad
January 10 – Bengaluru
January 11 – New Delhi