In an age where music and entertainment have the ability to transcend borders, we sit down with visionary entrepreneur Tallulah Patricia Bär, the visionary behind AfroSwissters. Join us as we delve into Tallulah’s captivating journey, exploring the profound impact music has had on her life and her unwavering commitment to inclusivity in the music industry. Her remarkable story is a testament to the transformative power of music and the incredible bridges it has the potential to build, even in the darkest of times.
Please introduce yourself and share a little about your musical/entertainment journey?
Hello, I’m Tallulah Patricia Bär, a Swiss woman of African heritage. My roots trace back to Ghana and Egypt, but I was born and raised in Switzerland. During my late teens, I moved to the UK for college and university and primarily spent most of my twenties in London, which happened to be a place for rebirth, growth and prepared me for my return to Switzerland.
Throughout my life, I’ve been deeply passionate about music, cultivating an eclectic taste that transcends genres and cultures. Growing up I played the violin and even had a short stunt as an ukulele player. Music, to me, is in many regards a universal language that resonates with the human soul and breaks down boundaries. No matter where in the world you are, music, like food connects people and can sow seeds of solidarity.
While my career isn’t directly tied to the music industry, my path has led me to become deeply engaged in community advocacy and cultural bridging. I’ve always believed that culture and music are interconnected, as they both play a vital role in shaping our identities and fostering connections.
Additionally, I’m the founder of AfroSwissters, a growing organization committed to fostering connections, healing, and promoting cultural growth within diverse communities in Switzerland. My journey has been guided by a profound passion for cultural exchange, inclusivity, and community building given my personal experiences and the stories that have accompanied me throughout.
AfroSwissters focuses on curating impactful events, forging partnerships, and driving positive change not only in Switzerland but hopefully also globally. Through this platform, we aim to empower diverse voices, facilitate healing conversations, and create opportunities for personal and professional growth. My personal motto, “Toto Cordo Tota Anima Tota Virtute,” reflects my dedication to this transformative journey, meaning “with all my heart, soul, and strength.” I aim to carry light into dark places where hate, mistrust and division have previously prevailed. My spark together with more sparks can brighten up the most darkest places and burn down rigid systems of oppression.
As a Black woman in Switzerland, I’ve come to understand the importance of purpose-driven living and wholehearted commitment to bridging divides, promoting understanding, and advancing equality in various fields, including music.
I’ve also recently joined the Black Future Week team, an initiative dedicated to educating, unifying, and inspiring the Black community through social and informational events. These events encompass discussions, workshops, film screenings, music, entertainment, and technology, all centered around present-day solutions and future opportunities. Our goal is to provide attendees with a comprehensive view of the creative and tech industries, encouraging open dialogues for partnerships, peer leverage, job creation, and access to capital to close the funding gap for under- represented founders and create generational wealth.
What motivated you to choose music as your career path?
While my primary career isn’t directly related to music, my deep passion for this universal language has always been a driving force in my life. Music, to me, is a source of inspiration, solace, and connection. It’s a reflection of the diversity of human experiences and emotions, transcending borders and generations.
My journey into the world of music was not about choosing it as a career path but rather about embracing it as an essential part of my life’s soundtrack. Having navigated challenges and seeking opportunities to create dialogue related to identity and belonging, Music plays a significant role in helping me overcome these hurdles and connect with people from various backgrounds.
From my early years, I developed an eclectic taste in music, embracing genres and rhythms from all over the world. Music became a way for me to explore myself and the world around me. In one way, to understand diverse perspectives, and appreciate the beauty of human creativity. Whether it’s the soulful melodies of African rhythms, the vibrant beats of Latin music, or the soothing sounds of classical compositions, music has been a constant companion on my journey.
Again, even though I did not pursue a career in music, my connection to this art form remains unwavering and it motivates me to seek out musical experiences that lift my spirits, broaden my horizons, and connect me with like-minded individuals who share my passion. Music has the power to transcend boundaries and unite people, and I believe in harnessing that power to create positive change in the world.
Throughout all my work and initiatives, I strive to use universal languages of food, music and the arts as a bridge between cultures and communities, create spaces where people feel a sense of belonging. While my career may take me down different paths, my aspirations to integrate diversity through music into my life and advocacy efforts is deeply rooted in the belief that it can inspire, heal, and empower individuals from all walks of life.
So, in essence, music isn’t my career, but it’s a lifelong companion and a driving force behind my mission to connect, heal, and grow cultures and communities through AfroSwissters and other endeavors.
Please share a moment when you felt empowered as a woman in the music industry, and how did it shape your career?
The 2023 Montreux Jazz Festival marked a momentous event when I had the privilege of meeting Victory Boyd, an extraordinary artist hailing from New York. Her heartfelt recognition of all the „sisters“ in the room deeply resonated with me, particularly as my friend and I were among the few black women in attendance. Victory Boyd’s acknowledgment moved me to tears, highlighting the critical importance of representation and unity within the Swiss music industry.
Furthermore, it’s essential to emphasize that our presence at the Montreux Jazz Festival was made possible through the generous invitation of Gina Jeanz, a rising star originally from Namibia and now a resident of Switzerland. Gina’s invitation was a pivotal moment, as she may well have been the first Namibian artist to ever perform at Montreux Jazz, earning her a well-deserved shoutout.
Our introduction to Gina was facilitated by the efforts of Stimulus (Ian Lawrence), who not only introduced us to Gina but also can be thanked by extension for the invitation for Liz and me to join the Montreux experience. Alongside Stimulus, Lizanne Atherly, and Jeffrey Ach aka DJ Jenesis, these three powerhouses are the driving forces behind the BlackFutureWeek initiative, underlining all that we stand for.
While I may not have a career in music, its the lack of representation in the Music industry that fuel my commitment to fostering inclusivity, celebrating diverse voices, and creating spaces where artists, especially women of African descent, can thrive and be heard. These moments serve as a reminder of the positive impact we can have when we come together to support and empower one another in the world of music and beyond.
Representation matters. How has the concept of representation influenced your career, and what approach do you aspire to adopt in the music industry to serve as a positive example for future generations?
The concept of representation holds immense significance in my journey and career, even though it’s not directly related to the music industry. As a woman of African descent in Switzerland, I’ve personally experienced the impact of representation, or sometimes the lack thereof, throughout my life. My journey has been shaped by the need for greater representation and inclusion in various fields, including music.
In my work with AfroSwissters and my involvement in initiatives like the Kanangayi Symposium, the African German Academics Network and hopefully soon through Black Future Week, I strive to address this need for representation and inclusivity. By fostering connections, curating events, and promoting cultural exchange, I aim to create and foster spaces where diverse voices, including those from the music industry, are celebrated and heard. Representation is not only about visibility but also about providing opportunities for individuals to thrive and share their unique talents.
In the music industry, I aspire to collaborate with and support artists, especially women of African descent in Switzerland and through Black Future Week hopefully globally, to ensure their voices are amplified and their stories are told. By partnering with musicians, organizing events that showcase their talents, and promoting their work, I hope to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse music scene in Switzerland and beyond. It’s essential to serve as a positive example by actively advocating for representation, celebrating cultural diversity, and creating opportunities for future generations of musicians to shine.
Ultimately, I believe that by embracing and promoting representation, we can enrich the music industry, empower artists, and inspire the next generation to pursue their musical passions with confidence and pride.
Collaboration is key in the music world. Could you tell us about a memorable collaboration with another talented woman and what you learned from the experience?
One memorable collaboration was with Rachel M’Bon, the Swiss film maker and leading force behind the film “Je suis Noires.” Through this collaboration, I had the opportunity to share my experiences as a Black Swiss woman living in Switzerland. Although this experience is not directly related to music, it highlights the importance of diverse voices in storytelling. I learned that dialogue and engagement are powerful tools for positive change. This experience further reinforced my commitment to creating spaces for open conversations, allowing the voices and experiences of marginalized communities, particularly Black Swiss women, to be heard and understood.
In our enlightening conversation with Tallulah Patricia Bär, we’ve seen how music and entertainment transcend borders, connecting us profoundly. Tallulah’s unconventional journey in the music industry showcases music’s universal language, inspiring and empowering individuals and communities.
Through her AfroSwissters work and commitment to representation and inclusivity, Tallulah is reshaping the music scene in Switzerland and beyond. Her story inspires us to use music’s power to bridge gaps and honor diversity, paving the way for future artists and change-makers.
With pioneers like Tallulah Patricia Bär leading the way, we can look forward to a more harmonious future in music and entertainment.