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Penn Masala has been lighting up the speakers of hundreds of thousands of Internet and social media users around the world recently with a flaming a cappella potpourri of landmark Bollywood songs from the 1940s to the latest hits. The group is eight albums old  and proudly holds the title of the world's first and premier Indian a cappella group. If you are among the unlucky few who have not yet seen their Bollywood Medley, what are you waiting for? It is a Youtube must!

Arrangement by Penn Masala
Filmed with Chocolate Bar Studios -
Recorded and Produced by Studio Crash -

Aside from being featured on the soundtrack of American Desi, Penn Masala's uniquely talented members have performed for celebrities such as A.R. Rahman, Mukesh Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, Lakshmi Mittal, Anderson Cooper, Ban-Ki-Moon, and President Barack Obama, among others.

It is with great pleasure that this blogger was able to interview the fabulous singers to get to know more about their preferences, favorite memories and the great amount of work and dedication behind their magnificent vocal performances. Here is what they had to say:

HCB- Your recent viral video (Bollywood medley) has you singing songs that span more than 8 decades. Choosing the songs must have been a difficult task. How was the final selection made for the medley?

PM - We first created a large list of iconic songs from each decade of Bollywood music. Then the group sat down together and started filtering for songs that best represented Bollywood over the ages and also worked well together musically. After many iterations and musical experimentation, we arrived at a final list of songs that worked well together musically and really represented the evolution of Bollywood music.

HCB - Who or what mechanism among the members is behind the Penn Masala vocal arrangements?

PM - We have a music committee which comprises of members within the group that are interested in arranging songs and have a musical background. We also have one Music Director who leads practices and oversees the arrangement process as well as guides other members on general areas of improvement and musical development. The arrangement process really differs from song to song – arranging a track as complex as the Evolution of Music definitely involved a lot of work from a lot of different members!

HCB - Who would you have loved to meet from last century's iconic Bollywood singers/actors (dead or alive)? Why?

PM - Definitely Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi! They have an incredible impact on the Bollywood by bringing the Bollywood music industry to world recognition. Plus, we just simply love their voices.

HCB - Who would you say are your strongest Western influences?

PM - We try to pull our Western tracks from a variety of artists, but we definitely have some favorites: Coldplay, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Journey, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

HCB - Which has been your most memorable tour as Penn Masala? Why?

PM - Definitely our five city tour of India in January 2013 (Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune) – it was our first time back in India after a while and we got to spend time interacting with fans from all over, record a music video, and explore the unique aspects of each city. Plus, each of our five shows was sold out and we had a blast performing for these awesome audiences!

HCB - From current female singers around the world, which five would you cast to form an all-female Hindi a cappella group?

PM - This is a tough one because there are so many talented female singers, but here’s what we have for you: Shreya Goshal, Neeti Mohan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Alka Yagnik, Sadhana Sargam.

HCB - Are there any plans to tour India and the subcontinent again anytime soon?

PM - We’re hoping to return to India in January 2015! Nothing finalized just yet, but hopefully we’ll be announcing our tour in the summer. 

A hearty thanks goes out to Penn Masala and Varshil Patel for graciously granting HCB this interview. We wish them the very best and a year filled with music!

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