REVIEW: Sa re ga ma pella

Sa re ga ma pella by Maize Mirchi featured 8 songs, an intermission with Indian snacks, a dance performance by Michigan Taal and a really really excited audience.

The acapella singers did a good job harmonizing and it was nice to know some songs were independently set up by students. The introductions of the new members between songs was one of my favorite parts. The introductions were short, sweet and really funny. We got to know a lot about the companionship shared between the members of Maize Mirchi. The audience consisted of parents and friends of the performers and they were really engaged with the performances and cheering their loved ones on.

A point I would like to highlight is the cultural fusion of this group. They are an acapella group with a touch of Indian culture. I would say their group shows a kaleidoscope of Indian American culture. Less than half of the songs were in an Indian language and some of these were half English half Hindi. The western Indian mix was well carried by the performers. Their coordination really hit the sweet spot!

The soloists showed a very authentic image of Indian American culture and by the excitement of the audience it was obvious their supporters liked it. I think the song selection could have been improved to show more diversity but it was an entertaining show regardless.

The performance after the intermission by Michigan Taal was short and sweet. The size of the stage was very small but they did not let it hinder them. They had an exciting diversity of dances and their energy was infectious.

Being at the acapella concert was like being at an intimate event for family and friends where everyone knew each other and supported performers.

If you like Indian American culture and acapella then Sa Re Ga Ma pella can’t hit it more on the head than anything else!

REVIEW: G’s Out for Harambe- G-men Fall 2016 Concert

If I didn’t already know from the title of tonight’s performance, “G’s Out for Harambe,” by the time I picked up the program at the front of the theater I knew that we were about to see what my friend lovingly described as “a comedy show disguised as an acapella concert.” Describing the G-Men as able to rock audiences with “the power of 100 raging Mark Ruffalo’s,” and suggesting a game with points awarded for catching members “visibly power-hungry,” laughing at their own jokes, or going cross-eyed, the program was representative of the G-Men’s unique sense of fun and levity.

The G-Men were cracking jokes the entire night in between songs, showing off their tangible camaraderie.  Sometimes it felt like the audience was privy to a big inside joke, that while none of us fully understood, we were fully entertained nonetheless.  However, the true star of the show was the amazing musicality displayed by the group.  They opened the performance with “Like Real People” by Hozier, which showcased both their singing and arranging skills.  The trend continued through to their next song, “Dust Bowl Dance” by Mumford and Sons.  I was most impressed by how skillfully they were able to alternate between powerful bursts of sound and quieter moments, moving together as a cohesive unit.  For a sample of this particular arrangement of “Dust Bowl Dance,” check out their performance of it at last year’s Charity Fest below.


The next two songs were “Color My World” by Chicago and “Sunday Morning(s)” by Maroon 5.  The soloists in each of these songs, as well as the entire set list, were fantastic and matched the tone of the song perfectly.  One member even did an impressive saxophone imitation, reflecting the mix of comedy and artistry that G-Men possess.  Check out the video of their performance of “Sunday Morning(s)” at this year’s MacFest below.

The last song before intermission was my favorite of the night, a stunningly emotive rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles.  After introducing the song with a joke of it being, “the 22nd best Beatles song,” they blew us away with the sheer power of their performance.  Below is a video of them performing the song last year.

After a brief intermission, the Sopranos came onto stage and sang two numbers, one of them “Lost in the World” by Kanye West, a video of their arrangement is attached below.  They then invited the G-Men back, who rushed onto the stage with renewed energy and fresh t-shirts, only to perform a stunning rendition of “Shadow of the Sun” together with the Sopranos.

They finished the show with three more songs, “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers, “Sandcastles” by Beyoncé, and “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West. Each song was just as polished as the first half.

While snow was falling in blowing frigid air by the time we left the auditorium, my friends and I were filled with enough post-show energy to last for the entire walk home.  The conversation never left the fantastic performance we had just witnessed. If you are interesting in listening to more of the G-men and keeping track of their upcoming concerts, check out their Facebook page!


With an almost full lower level at the Power Center for the Performing Arts, student performance groups across Michigan pulled together October 18 for G-Fest, a 2-hour extravaganza of singing, dancing, comedy, slam poetry, percussion and glow-stick dancing. Each act brought something fresh and new to the 5th Annual G-Fest. Alumni G-Men from the inaugural show had the honors of opening this one. Not only were the acts solidly executed, but the ever quirky, comical G-Men introducing them kept the show’s momentum running strong throughout the entire program. Personal favorite included when two G-Men made dubstep with their mouths, including dubbing the beats to Snoop Dogg’s “Drop it Likes it Hot” and Ginuwine’s “Pony.” I think this was when the crowd cheered the loudest the whole time, although each group received a respectable amount of loud, rambunctious applause, and for good reason.

The G-Mens opening number
The G-Men's opening number

The Harmonettes killed it in black pumps and blue jeans.
The Harmonettes killed it in black pumps and blue jeans.

I found myself feeling like I was an extra cast member in Pitch Perfect when the G-Men and Harmonettes sang in harmony and pitch together. The G-Men pulled off a catchy Spanish number to open the show, followed by a mash-up of Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” and Adele’s “Skyfall.” Pure ear candy. In the second part of the show, the self-proclaimed always classy, sometimes sassy Harmonettes brought their girl power with Little Mix’s “Wings,” my favorite number from their set. To quote the movie, both groups were “aca-awesome.”

Asante looks dapper in his top hat and jacket.
Asante looks dapper in his top hat and white jacket.

Asante, the only solo act on the bill, sang two original compositions at the piano. He described the process of creating his own music by visualizing different keys as different colors and putting it all together. His two pieces complemented each other perfectly well, and had the venue feeling like a small intimate jazz club. As a senior in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, he was one of my favorite acts for his ability to silence and mesmerize the crowd with his smooth voices and even smoother piano playing. He’s got showmanship down, looking and sounding mighty classy. I loved every minute of it.

The Michigan Raas Team
The Michigan Raas Team
Photonixs eye candy
Photonix's eye candy

The first dance group, Michigan Raas Team, performed to traditional Indian music wearing traditional Indian costumes. Their fluid movements had me wanting to get up and dance too, if I knew how to dance like that. G-Fest ended with Photonix, a group that dances with glow sticks to create visual art with trippy trance music in the background. It takes a whole lot of talent to wave glow sticks up and down to create something magical, and Photonix’s did just that in this out-of-this-world finale.

Grooves jamming out on trash cans
Groove's jamming out on trash cans

Before intermission, Groove beat their trashcans and quad drums made of plastic bins to perform several numbers of carefully crafted percussion numbers. The intensity and speed at which these performers can go is remarkable, and I can only imagine how much time and practice they endure to get it just right. These guys nailed it, and the best part is all their instruments are random, common items one wouldn’t expect to find in a formal show. Groove’s ingenuity, coupled with their urban allure, made for a stylistic success to round out the first half.

ComCos improv players provided plenty to laugh about.
ComCo's improv players provided plenty to laugh about.

Not only did talent lie in the musicality of performances, but in comics and poets, too. The first half featured six ComCo. members, campus’s oldest improv comedy group, playing various games with audience participation. They pulled off one of comedy’s greatest exercises, telling a story with someone else’s hands behind them guiding the action. Another game had the game master control the flow of dialogue, interrupting a “mother/daughter” pair whenever he didn’t like what they were saying and making them redo the line in a different way. The best part about the players was the sheer improvisation–these guys can think fast on their feet and that makes it all the more enjoyable and entertaining. One of the highlights of the night for me was being able to laugh at the absurdity of the situations the players acted out.

Four members of the Slam Poetry Club read their poems on stage, giving the audience chills with their themes of growing up, being there for someone in tough times and a poem chronicling Adam and Eve’s experience in couple’s therapy. Each poet slammed really well, slowing and quickening their voices at the appropriate times and really speaking from the heart. It takes a lot of guts to speak like that in front of such a large audience, and these kids nailed it.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Friday night listening to and seeing all the great talent this campus has to offer. Each group shined, and it made me even prouder to be a Michigan Wolverine. Even though G-Fest was just a sampling of the many performance groups on campus, it accomplished its goal of entertaining attendees. Bravo, everyone, for your amazing performances.


G-Fest's Facebook event page cover photo

Who: Performance groups of Michigan

What: G-Fest

Where: Power Center of the Performing Arts

When: October 18, 8 p.m.

Cost: $10, tickets available at the Michigan Union Ticket Office

Looking for something to take your parents to Parents Weekend besides the Indiana football game? The G-Men have organized their annual fall concert, G-Fest, which will be highlighting many performance groups across campus in a variety show with an impressive bill. Student performers work hard in rehearsals and practices to put on their best show, so come show support for your fellow Wolverines.
RSVP to the Facebook event, like the G-Men on Facebook, or buy tickets online here.