Twice a week, students walking in front of Murphy Hall hear sounds unlike any on campus: a blend of cultures, voices and layers.
The group is called Samaa and is the state’s only South Asian fusion a cappella group. The coeducational group Samaa was founded in 2011 on the campus of he UNC.
After a warm-up, group practice begins with working on the songs of the week, and members create their voices together in a symphonic performance.
The group has created mashups combining Western and South Asian music, including Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Shreya Ghoshal’s “Yeh Ishq Hai.”
The group performed various numbers, both upbeat and slow, each featuring vocal layers and bass and beatboxing.
“We’re trying to make Indian music as authentic as possible, but we’re also trying to modernize it a bit with Western music,” said Adithi Reddy, a third-year student at Summer.
Reddy joined the group during the pandemic and is now its social media chair. When she entered college she wanted to find a group of people who love both music and South Asian culture and community.
In Summer, she found just that.
“I think having a community that you can go and sing with each week, especially since it’s based in PWI, builds camaraderie,” says Reddy.
She said the group is focused on promoting diversity and bringing South Asian cultures to the campus.
“It’s something we really care about and want to set ourselves apart from other groups,” said Reddy.
The songs contain lyrics in languages other than English, such as Hindi and Telugu, some of which are spoken by Samaa members. Reddy said the group is bonding through their internal diversity.
Girija Joshi, Samaa sophomore and Co-Executive Director, said:
If something doesn’t sound right, members speak up and share suggestions.
For most of the members, this group is more than just music, it’s also a lasting friendship.
Reddy said she met one of her best friends at the group’s first practice last year.
This group performs about once a month. He has recently appeared on Journey into Asia and Sunset Serenade.
“I feel like I’ve reached a wider audience since I sang in Sunset Serenade,” Joshi said.
One of the audience members was Nandini Gupta, a first-year student.
Gupta said he learned about Summer at an event when he first heard the group sing.
Gupta later joined Samaa and said having a community gave him a safe place and a sense of security while he settled in UNC.
“Having a group of people that you can rely on and rely on and talk to is really great,” Gupta said.
This group does more than just perform at UNC. Last year I visited Duke University for another South Asian a cappella group, Chai Town..
The group will also appear in Garba And this year’s Diwali night.
To learn more about Samaa, visit the group’s Instagram.
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