Barbara Panther
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Barbara Panther

Berlin, Berlin, Germany | INDIE

Berlin, Berlin, Germany | INDIE
Band EDM Avant-garde


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Still working on that hot first release.



Many an artist present either a unique sound, profound lyrics or a striking personality. With her self-titled debut album, Berlin-based Barbara Panther succeeded in being the epitome of all the aforementioned characteristics - and much more. The singer takes risks, relating musical styles which no other person have dared to bring in one context yet. The result is an exciting journey through universal sounds, unprecedented magical arrangements, moments of beautiful melancholy and the creative explosion of unforgettable impressions of her past, the present and the future.

Rwandan born Panther grew up in Brussels, Belgium, before moving to Berlin where she has lived now for five years. Ascribing only little significance of this experience to the songwriting process the artist elucidates; “I´m intrigued by the universe, water and the moon, and their interdependencies which you can notice on the record’s sound and theme”. Apart from having a strong spiritual interest in Mother Earth, Panther faces up to profound questions of existence on ‘Moonlight People’ and ‘O´Captain’, scrutinises the disapproval of ethnic groups on ‘Rise Up’ and deals with religious issues on her first single ‘Empire’.
‘Empire’, to be released September 10th, is a song fraught with variety, tension, powerful choruses and a hectic beat. In contrast, it also features a gentle part which represents the album´s innovative friskiness very well. Coming to a compromise, her electronic experiments in new musical territories can be embraced as modern pop with an avant-garde and baroque influence.

Panther´s musical flamboyance was encouraged and produced by no other than Matthew Herbert, a wizard with electronic music’, also known as Radio Boy and Doctor Rockit. Having produced both Róisín Murphy´s and The Invisible´s debut albums, he also worked with artists, such as Bjork, R.E.M. and Yoko Ono. Together, Panther and Herbert were able to create novel sound landscapes, intending to generate fascinating images in the listener´s mind. “Matthew had the idea of throwing real chains against an electric heater which, in ‘Rise Up’, conveys the feeling of living in a prison in this world. However, the song ‘O´Captain’ communicates a very physical atmosphere as it gives the impression of being on the sea, literally feeling the wind on board”.

Despite representing a lyrical depth, the 13 tracks admit space for all sorts of interpretation. Panther´s energetic and eclectic vocals which incorporate qualities of pop, rap and soul music, are even reminiscent of the voice of an opera singer in the track ‘Rollercoaster’, outclassing other singers by far. The latter song shows skilfully arranged stylistic inconsistencies: a big band, playful synthesisers and opera vocals. Panther who creates a mystery about herself has been compared to the likes of Grace Jones and Bjork before. In fact, she admits; “I may also create a futuristic and mystic feeling because I´m black and the music doesn´t sound black at all”.

Both the singer´s futuristic, outstanding melodies and style are implemented into honest and passionate live performances with Panther dancing in an expressive way to visuals. To mark the occasion of the release of her debut single ‘Empire’, she is playing a special show on the City Slang stage at Berlin Festival the same day, being accompanied by five people on cellos, violins and trumpet.

Being concerned with the personal discontent of her environment as thematised in the track ‘Voodoo’, she says; “If you call this voodoo then it is necessary to term it white voodoo, white magic, not the black one which is continuously lived out in this world – but definitely not by me”. Barbara Panther´s appearance at Berlin Festival and the release of her debut album certainly represent white magic´s entering wedge into our everyday lives.

Text by: Ines Punessen