Most people shun public performance, but not the President of SMU Samba Masala, Lim Tianyi, who’s most comfortable on stage.

Having been a performer since secondary school, joining SMU Samba Masala was a natural step for Tianyi given his love for the stage. In the past year alone, the group has performed between 10 to 13 corporate gigs. When asked what he enjoys about performing, Tianyi replies, “it’s the idea that people appreciate the art that you’ve invested so much effort into. Performing as a team is also not an easy feat, so the ability to come together to put up a piece and perform our best for an audience is a really special experience.”

Unlike other clubs where meetings happen weekly, Tianyi admits that SMU Samba Masala is known for the huge commitment required. “On average, we practice three hours, twice a week. There’s a lot of memory work involved because we don’t have scores. We learn by hearing, so there is a lot of drilling which can sometimes get repetitive.” For events like the recent Viva o Samba!, practice was even more intensive in the three months leading up to the big show.


On stage, every performer is all smiles with twinkles in their eyes and fire in their bellies. At Viva o Samba! 2017, the group’s high energy riled up the audience and got everyone off their feet. Tianyi credits the performance to group choreographer and Viva o Samba! Creative Director Bryan Lee, who tirelessly motivates members to give their best in practice and on stage, as well as to their music instructor, Idham Budiman, who always ensures musical precision in their playing. Tianyi adds that the team is constantly made to question themselves about their commitment, “if we are not going to give our all for rehearsal, how are we so sure that we can give our all on stage?”

Watch to find out more about the founding of SMU Samba Masala and Viva o Samba!