Melding western and eastern sounds without music is the specialty of Wayne Ki Awaaz, Wayne State's first and only South Asian a cappella team.
Wayne Ki Awaaz literally translates to “voice of Wayne” in Hindi. The co-ed group combines traditional and modern Indian music with American pop culture tunes with only their voices, no instruments involved.
Former group captain Brigid Jacob said that combining two slightly different areas of music to make new masterpieces makes the group unique.
“We try to pick songs for our pieces that not only carry a similar musical style, but also lyrical meaning,” said Jacob.
Wayne Ki Awaaz was founded in 2011 by alumni Harini Vijay and Shane Thomas, who were inspired by other a cappella groups like University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Masala.
According to their Facebook page, Wayne Ki Awaaz’s purpose is to pay homage to traditional Indian sound and language while also upgrading American hits and appealing to those who enjoy them.
“Our goal is to create music that will inspire others by creating mixes from various genres,” said co-captain Amanpreet Bhogal.
Wayne Ki Awaaz frequently samples artists like Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and Maroon 5, mixing their sounds with influences from Hindi artists like Udit Narayan and Shankar Mahadevan.
Co-captain Shweta Pandya said the group is making strides in cultural outreach through music.
“We have attracted a diverse audience and member interest,” said Pandya. “People who generally wouldn't have listened to Indian music have begun to listen to it more, and it’s the same thing for those who didn't listen to American music.”
Wayne Ki Awaaz performs for groups like GlobeMed and the Indian Student Association. They have also performed at cultural shows and competitions across Michigan and other states.
Aside from creating new kinds of music, Wayne Ki Awaaz aims to provide its members with a sense of community and support. Jacob said she felt “honored” to accept the role because it was an outlet for her to “teach, write and create music around like-minded people.”
She said she was a member of the team for a year before becoming a captain and she is happy about the decision to join every day.
“The pieces I created had the ability to resonate with even those outside of our team, with any person regardless of background,” said Jacob. “Being a member of Wayne Ki Awaaz meant gaining a family that shares a love for music. Making harmonies with each other definitely fosters friendships that last well past our years at Wayne State.”
Wayne Ki Awaaz plans to perform at the upcoming WSU Honors Talent Show and Relay for Life, along with their private events.
For information on booking, availability and auditions, visit the team’s Facebook page.