Martha Da’ro



Brussels-based multidisciplinary Belgian-Angolan artist Martha Da’ro’s creative career to date has spanned music, TV and film, alongside a spot in the multilingual hip hop collective Soul’Art. Considering these creative pursuits, Da’ro’s debut solo LP, Philophobia (meaning a fear of love), is an aptly and intensely cinematic effort in all aspects, its atmosphere as evocative of a sonic art installation as a straightforward musical album.

For Philophobia, Da’ro collaborated with classically-trained pianists, composers and orchestrators, with each song’s conception formulating first on the piano. In capturing her ideas this way, Da’ro was able to meticulously craft each song like a theatrical scene, even imagining its characters, places and weather. Her aim was to compose an album where each track could function as a soundtrack and story, and on that front she passes with flying colours.


Da’ro’s voice is soft yet commanding throughout the ten-track album. On the claustrophobic ‘FLESH’, electronics pulsate between her whispers, growing darker with commanding drums at the chorus. The juxtaposition of soft vocals and harsher instrumentals is one that she relies on throughout Philophobia in various incarnations, and it works a treat; keeping pensive feelings and trepidation visceral. ‘FOR SO LONG’ feels like the most solid song on the record with Da’ro’s compelling vocals leading the way. Her autobiographical lyricism shines through, understated but vulnerable, swimming above subtle gurgling grooves and foreboding percussion.

Philophobia is a strong effort from Martha Da’ro, who formulates an eclectic and ambient soundtrack to her intimate feelings and keeps you wanting more. It’s too considered to be called experimental as such, but it is certainly interesting enough to warrant that label.