School or Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA


Atma is the University of Pennsylvania's all-female South Asian a cappella group.In the fall of 2000, a small group of students who had previously discovered a mutual love for music congregated in a dorm room, determined to create a group that would allow talented South Asian female vocalists to add a completely new and unique dimension to the performing arts scene at Penn. The women discovered that their diverse musical backgrounds allowed for them to produce musical arrangements encompassing several music styles. After arranging a medley of Lauryn Hill's Killing me Softly and A.R. Rehman's Jiya Jale, the women made their first appearance at Penn's South Asia Society Diwali Show two months later. It was then that Atma was born. The young women carefully chose the name "Atma" for their group, the Sanskrit word for "soul." Through the medium of the female voice, the women of Atma aim to convey the different moods of the soul, such as strength, vulnerability, power, and sensuality through the music of such areas as North and South India, Bangladesh, America, and the West Indies. Atma has performed nationally and internationally at venues ranging from the college campuses of Yale University and Princeton University, to such large-scale South Asian conferences as SASA in Orlando, Florida, and Bhangra Blowout in Washington, D.C. At the AATMA Cultural Competition in Toronto, Canada, North America's largest South Asian cultural show, they won the award for Best Fusion Act with their unique fusion of western and Indian music.


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