University of Pennsylvania a cappella group competing for national recognition

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A University of Pennsylvania a cappella group hopes they will win national recognition through a competition. The group is called Penn Masala, and they are in the Upstaged competition, competing against college groups across the country.

"It's amazing. I think like there were over 5,000 groups that were originally considered, and it's really an amazing experience for us to be in the top 8," said Shrivats Kannan, a member of the group.

Members said they felt it's important to mash American songs with Hindi songs to promote their South Asian culture.

"Penn Masala's a way to combine those really two most important parts of our lives, which is the heritage and our current lives here in the United States," said Sachit Gali, a member of the group.

Their videos highlight their South Asian culture.

"It's good to finally get some awareness out. Obviously, our group has been around for 25 years, so to be recognized like this on a pretty large scale is definitely a step that hasn't been done before, and I'm really happy about it," said Kannan.

The competition winner not only gets prize money for themselves, but for a charity of their choice. Penn Masala will donate to Black Men Heal.

"They essentially provide mental health services, especially, specifically, to people of color, Black men here in Philadelphia," said Gali. "And besides just providing services, they break down the stigma of mental health care, especially for men," said Kannan.
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