Penn Masala to Perform at Jorgensen, 12/3
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by BWW News Desk
Penn Masala, a male Hindi a cappella group that hails from the University of Pennsylvania, describes itself as the premier group of its kind, and who can argue?
The group was founded by South-Asian Americans at Penn in 1996 and has been evolving ever since. New members come in as others graduate, but the music continues to be a blend of popular Hindi and English songs, with a dash of Tamil and Arabic to spice up the sound. Some of the voices are on lead while others provide instrumental effects as backup.
This unique group will stop at Jorgensen on the UConn campus Friday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Husky Headliner series.
Penn Masala combines musical traditions of Hindi film music, pop, hip-hop, R&B, rock and Indian classical. They are musicians of the world but also embrace English-speaking cultures and, in the past, have performed songs by U2 and Justin Timberlake.
"We've broken the boundaries between western and non-western music," they boast. And sell-out crowds from New York and Los Angeles to London and Mumbai respond. The group even sang for President Obama and other dignitaries at the White House in 2009 as part of a Diwali celebration.
Penn Masala has released six albums and is at work on a seventh. Its first compilation CD, "Out of Stock," carries some of its most popular songs, two of which were featured on the soundtrack of the 2001 hit movie, "American Desi."
During a March tour in the United Kingdom, the ensemble gave notable performances at St. James Church, Piccadilly, and in Hammersmith, where they headlined a nationwide music competition.
On their home turf at Penn, they wow their peers and alumni in a large annual spring concert that features their music and cheeky spoofs of popular culture. The show usually ends with alumni joining the performers onstage in a show of unity and shared history.
They bring this Ivy League tradition along on their tour and are not above regaling audiences with jokes, antics and even dance moves such as the moonwalk, all without missing a beat.
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts is located at 2132 Hillside Road on the UConn campus in Storrs. Tickets are $5 for UConn students with valid ID, $10 for non-UConn students and $15 for all others. For tickets and information, call the Box Office at 860.486.4226, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., or order online at jorgensen.uconn.edu. Convenient free parking is available across the street in the North Garage.