Penn Masala Heats Up The Stage at Schine Underground

Screen-Shot-2015-10-07-at-9.46.14-AM.png You’ll thank me later, but I am here with some very important information. Penn Masala is a constantly evolving group of UPenn students who can make legitimate art with their vocal chords.

Think eleven to fourteen American-Indian guys (throw in the cute blonde), plus some serious baritones and beat-box, and minus the instruments and icky frat vibes. Think 10 PM Saturday night. Think marriage between Coldplay and Bollywood, Bollywood and Kanye hybrids. Think a swaying crowd using the flashlights on their phones as candles.

As an 18-year-old freshman girl who understands Hindi and English, I very predictably lost my shit. And obviously, I wasn’t the only one. Everyone and their mothers have seen Pitch Perfect. (Speaking of, Penn Masala had a cameo role in Pitch Perfect 2. Read on while I swoon).

It is hard to believe that a group that has performed for President Obama also has to worry about failing their mid-terms and raising their GPAs, just like the rest of us. It’s even harder to comprehend how all of them have aesthetically irresistible jawlines (maybe that’s just me). The point is, this is a group of undergrads simply hitting notes higher than you are. And when they are that good-looking, they are automatically branded as celebrities who can and will make the words “Notice me Senpai” wander desperately out of your basic brain, along with the entire spectrum of fan girl possibilities.

Here's what happened backstage.

  1. A lot of low-key female screaming.
  1. The faint sounds of eyes popping out of their sockets as they feast on the masala.
  1. Scuttling around for breath mints (the struggle is real).
  1. Debating on who should ask which question and whose lip gloss should be used to talk to which guy.
  1. Hurriedly writing down questions.
  1. Hurriedly putting on lip gloss.
  1. Turning around and seeing that the guys are no longer in the room.

Here's what happened on stage.

  1. Phones and flashlights coming out at once.
  1. Trying hard to get on the Campus Story.
  1. Trying too hard to get on the Campus Story by zooming into the performers’ faces and using the temperature filter to confirm how hot it got.
  1. White people enthusiastically singing the Justin Timberlake bits, but meekly losing to Indian mob mentality during the Bollywood transition.
  1. People from the Eastern Hemisphere belting out Bollywood like it’s nobody else’s business. Belting out Enrique with equal gusto. (Pay attention the next time Americanization comes up in Sociology and you’ll know why Indians can nail Rihanna’s lyrics).
  1. Probably never making the Campus Story.

And of course, after the party's the after-party.

  1. Freaking out because (hell yes) there was an after-party.
  1. Carefully planning your limit for the night so you don’t slobber all over the celebrity and drunkenly tell him about the nickname your maternal uncle gave you at the age of six… and how it's stuck.
  1. Secretly practicing your Bhangra skills. What’s an Orange Masala party without the Indian dance moves?
  1. Being excessively impressed when you find out they were staying at the Sheraton.
  1. Doing a five-page Family History in an impromptu interview and confidently sharing stories about the time you were in India.
  1. Asking them if they are like Pitch-Perfect.
  1. Confirming that they were in Pitch-Perfect 2.
  1. Asking them all about Anna Kendrick. Naturally, being the slay-queen that she is, she must be included in any valuable conversation taking place, anywhere.
  1. Bombing your Snapchat at 3.42 a.m. with Brendan the American singing classic Bollywood like a pro. (I have the video… negotiate with me later).
  1. Grabbing a sneaky calzone at Calios at 4 a.m.
  1. Trudging back home, wildly saving all the Snaps from your exotic night out as you prepare to make the rest of your friends jealous.

And then early Sunday morning hits. You rise from your bed and immediately start jotting down names of potential members of your future a cappella group and a list of qualities you’re looking for in the candidates. Those qualities include (obviously) a sharp jawline, South Asian-American hybrid varieties (optional, but highly recommended) and anyone who's actually willing to join. Then, after a sigh of disappointment, you decide it's best to download some a ca-mazing tunes to relive the glory that was last night.

Looking to flavour your playlist with some a cappella music and expand your iTunes past Pitch-Perfect? Penn Masala is the "it" group your heart is searching for.