“panda, panda, mama, panda…” – this is the hymnal introduction to Calista Kazuko’s latest avant-garde pop release “Panda”, a song that celebrates motherhood, new life and family. The symbolic animal was chosen for the importance it has to the musician’s Japanese family, like she tells us, “The super loveable, super-kawaii panda is deeply loved in our family, in fact my Granny had a whole room devoted to them!”
The mention of her great-grandmother here is also super important because Calista’s new child is named after her and so we’re already starting to see the special message of this song take shape. The final bit of familial love comes in the shape of the artist’s own mother who features both in the song’s lyrics but also in the music video – no hired actors here!
The duo’s infectious feel-good relationship extends into the boppy rhythm of the rolling acoustic drums (Fred Claridge) and subtle bass (Sam Weston), both of which gives the track a real earthy tone. The instrumentation also keeps it real with a rich, soulful piano theme performed by Calista herself, although the star of the show has to be the musician’s zesty voice which glides along on a high register with powerful intent and silky-smooth melodies. Her confident performance is a landmark for mothers in music.
This video was filmed and directed by Philip Reinking and Thomas Linton.
“Panda” is also part of the extended Uchi project, inspired by the sense of home, which will consist of songs written and recorded during and after Calista Kazuko’s pregnancy.