Gulf news A capella group Penn Masala hope for perfect pitch in Dubai

A capella group Penn Masala hope for perfect pitch in Dubai

This content was originally posted in 7DAYS UAE website at: A capella group Penn Masala hope for perfect pitch in Dubai

Penn-Masala-crewPenn-Masala-arrives-to-DubaiCatch Penn Masala Live this Saturday at Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC. Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets available at

In the Pitch Perfect sequel, we see international a capella groups battle it out in a prestigious sing-off. Among the real vocal harmony groups who made a cameo in the popular movie were the Indian-American team Penn Masala.

This Saturday, the 11-member group will bring their signature sound of English and Hindi mash-ups to the UAE crowd at DUCTAC. Students originally formed the a cappella quartet 20 years ago at the University of Pennsylvania.

It has since grown in numbers and talent. The key to their longevity, they say, is their alumni base.

“Our alumni are incredibly dedicated to helping the group achieve new heights, and are always willing to help us find and take new opportunities to grow as a group,” says Pranay Sharma, 21.

Elizabeth Banks, Pitch Perfect director and also a Penn alumna, asked them to be part of the film.

Here’s a video of Penn Masala performing at the White House:

Pranay adds: “Pitch Perfect is generally the ‘go-to’ pop culture reference when it comes to a cappella, and to have been part of it is a huge honour. It was a lot of fun being able to contribute to a soundtrack that featured some of the biggest names in a cappella like Pentatonix, and we’re happy to see a cappella front and centre in the cinemas now.”

Hari Ravi, 20, says they are paying tribute to their Indian heritage through music, insisting it will be exciting to perform in the UAE, where there’s a huge South Asian population.

“We like to bring back some older, Bollywood-heavy arrangements when performing abroad for South Asian audiences, so be on the lookout for those.”

One member, 18-year-old, Sanjit Chakravarty, grew up in the UAE and will be showing the boys around town They are a tight-knit group, but if they want to improve they need the right attitude, says Hari.

“I think our lead singers do a fantastic job of being expressive and emotive as they sing on stage, and it really adds an entirely new element to the experience for the audience. I also think an important quality for a singing group is vocal diversity. It’s important to have different types of voices within the group so multiple styles can be covered.”

Hari explains that being part of a big group can be challenging, but “when disagreements arise, we have a system in place that allows for open discussion: whether it’s about picking a mix, when to schedule auditions, or anything else, everyone is encouraged to provide their input.”

The two Pitch Perfect movies and TV show Glee made singing competitions seem like a cutthroat business, but they laugh at the misconception.

Praveen Rajaguru, 20, says: “After watching intricate and glamorous performances in things like Pitch Perfect, it’s easy to think that a cappella is incredibly difficult and competitive. We’d like to say that’s totally false.

The a cappella community at Penn is incredibly supportive, and while there is an established competitive circuit throughout the country, it’s all in the spirit of friendly competition.”

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