Review: BLACK PANTHER IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall’s Films in Concert series continues with Marvel-lous success.

By: May. 28, 2023
Review: BLACK PANTHER IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall

Review: BLACK PANTHER IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall When Black Panther was released in 2018, it quickly became a record-breaking phenomenon. The Marvel movie went on to receive hundreds of nominations from organisations in all areas of the industry, including seven at the Academy Awards. A unanimously positive reception and 90 accolades later, the Chineke! Orchestra is presenting the Oscar and Grammy-winning music live at the Royal Albert Hall to accompany the film. Ludwig Göransson’s compositions guide T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he becomes king of Wakanda and defeats Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan).

Conducted by Anthony Parnther (isn’t that the perfect name to lead this specific venture?), this European premiere features Massamba Diop on the talking drum, an instrument essential to the score. Diop, who performed the original tracks for director Ryan Coogler, is a force of nature. After a beautiful introduction by Parnther (who surprisingly does a cracking impression of James Earl Jones as Mufasa!), Diop gave a taster for what was to come: a vibrant tattoo that goes hand in hand with masterful storytelling, filling the Hall effortlessly.

The joyously percussion-heavy soundtrack follows and supports much of the film, elevating action-packed sequences but stopping dead in its tracks during dialogic scenes. The loss of musical accompaniment becomes a tangible absence until Chineke! Orchestra sweep in again with soaring strings pierced by roaring drums. The melodic side of the record-breaking blockbuster mirrors the themes perfectly in a balanced amalgamation of tradition and progress. Classical pieces penned by the Swedish composer feature side by side with original songs curated by Kendrick Lamar in a visceral, profound soundscape that’s unafraid to tip into the raw energy of R&B and hip-hop.

With the Wakandans grappling with colonialism and imperialism on different levels, as well as the ethics of non-interventionism, Black Panther is - unusually for the genre - unmistakably politically involved. It brought Black narratives centre-stage, challenged institutional oppression and paved the way for many other POC-centred stories to be made into motion pictures. The underlying topics are explored with nuance and tact, and five years after its premiere, its legacy is put into a fresh perspective.

Isolating the score shows that the film wouldn’t be the same. The use of traditional instruments and melodies alongside its deft genre-hopping are the cherry on top that makes the project an astounding success across the board. The Chineke! Orchestra shapes the Black Panther cinematic experience into a bona fide marvel, to the point that watching it any other way won’t have the same impact.

Next up in the Royal Albert Hall’s Films in Concert series, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers from 22 to 24 September.



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