UI Indian Student Alliance hosts A'Capella competition


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The phrase "gathe raho" means "keep on singing" in English, and that's exactly what these a cappella performers plan to do.

Seven college teams from around the country will compete at 7 p.m. in the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., on Saturday to showcase a fusion of South Asian and Western music at the Gathe Raho competition.

"For me, as an Indian American, this event epitomizes who I am," said Jostna Dash, the University of Iowa Indian Student Association publicity head.

Admission for Gathe Raho is $5 for students, $8 for general admission. Comedian Vidur Kapur will host the event.

The UI's South Asian a cappella team Agni will perform this year; the group took a hiatus last year. The all-female Agni team will showcase a piece that fuses the songs "Fix You," by Coldplay, and "O Palan Hare," a Bollywood tune.

"A benefit [of an all-female group] is that our group clicks pretty well and gets along," Sraavya Undurty. "We can tailor our songs to emphasize and bring out a feminine tone. But drawbacks are that we don't get the bass tone, and it limits our song selection."

As a first-year participant, Undurty said she looks forward to the big event. The group members practice from two to five hours weekly, and they are excited about sharing their performance with the Iowa City community and visiting acts.

"I think we have a really great group, and we are all really excited to see all the teams from around the country," Undurty said.

Members of the visiting teams share her enthusiasm.

Northwestern University sophomore Priyanka Tilve will travel to Iowa City with her team, Brown Sugar. The team from Northwestern took first place at the event last year and in 2010.

"Overnight trips are so much fun for our group, and it is fun to get to know other groups and make those connections," she said.

The UI Indian Student Association selected teams to compete this year by watching audition tapes from college groups around the country. The universities in this year's event include Vanderbilt, Illinois-Champaign/Urbana, Michigan, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, and California-San Diego.

The teams will each perform a 10-minute fusion of English and South Asian music, and the grand-prize winner will receive $4000.

Dash said Gathe Raho provides a platform for understanding Indian culture without traveling thousands of miles.

"I can honestly say this is the unique show you will see on campus," Dash said. "These are class-act performances from students just like us."

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