Why Penn Masala is an Inspiration for Young South Asians

On Friday, Feb. 21, the world famous South Asian a cappella group Penn Masala performed at Georgetown University. 

Penn Masala, a college a cappella group based in UPenn, is known for fusing Bollywood and modern American pop songs together. 

The a cappella group has met and sung for heads-of-state, prominent businessmen, and international leaders. They even performed in front of President Obama and sung for the “Pitch Perfect 2” soundtrack. 

This performance at Georgetown University was part of their Musafir tour and was organized by the South Asian Student Associations of American University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University. 

Some of the songs that Penn Masala sung included: “Cake By the Ocean" / “Ghungroo”/ “Stronger”, “She Will Be Loved”/“O Re Piya”, “Shut Up and Dance with Me” / “Buddhu Se Mann”, and “Miss Independent”/“Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga”. Due to the overwhelming amount of praise and support from the audience, they agreed to sing an additional, unplanned song at the end which happened to be “Down”/”Desi Girl” (Also, my personal favorite). 

The theater was completely full of excited fans who cheered for both people they knew in the performing college dance groups as well as Penn Masala themselves. 

woman at a concert putting hands in a heart shape

These college dance groups featured students from Georgetown and George Washington University and included bhangra, Indian and western fusion, hip hop, and more. They brought a lot of energy and passion to the stage, along with cool costumes. 

Penn Masala’s songs can be found on Spotify among other music streaming apps. They released their latest album, “Musafir”, this year. Previous albums include “Yuva” (2017), “Kaavish” (2013), “Panoramic” (2011), “On Detours” (2009), “Pehchaan” (2007), and “The Brown Album” (2005). 

Over winter break, I listened to Penn Masala a lot since my sister would play the songs during long road trips in the car. I soon became addicted, and love to listen to them on Spotify to this day. 

black headphones on a yellow background

The best part of the night was after the concert when my friends and I went to a restaurant in Georgetown and members of Penn Masala walked in and sat right across from us! I had to compliment them, of course. 

Although members of Penn Masala are only college students, they are practically like celebrities to me. They are huge role models to the South Asian community as well. 

A lot of stereotypical good Indian jobs include being an engineer, doctor, or lawyer, but I think Penn Masala is a huge inspiration that you can pursue what you love and still be successful. 

In addition, a lot of us South Asians grew up listening to both American pop music as well as Bollywood songs so it’s really fun for us to listen to these two different genres put together. I feel it represents our experiences growing up as Indians in America.

If you want to check out more of Penn Masala's music, click here!

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Photos: Her Campus Media Library