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Serpents Of Pakhangba Draw From Meitei Folklore for Incendiary ‘Panthoibi’ Video

The avant-garde metallers team up with director and cinematographer Kulanandini Mahanta for their latest release

Anurag Tagat Jun 04, 2022

Serpents of Pakhangba. Photo: Courtesy of No Binary Records

The mythical goddess of power, war, peace and prosperity is invoked on folk metallers Serpents Of Pakhangba’s new single “Panthoibi.” In the music video directed by Kulanandini Mahanta, the quartet – guitarist-producer and composer Vishal J. Singh, vocalist Tanushree Saha, bassist and didgeridoo player Manas Chowdhary and drummer-percussionist Fidel Dely Murillo – adorn Manipuri tribal attire and motifs to conjure a slick visual aesthetic.

The plot for the stomping, slow-cooked metal song explores child abuse in a powerful manner that entwines Manipuri folklore from the Meitei tradition. The band says in a press release, “Panthoibi is a mystic, she is unpredictable, she is a warrior who embodies beauty and wisdom, she protects the needy, and she burns everything in her path. She could be an ordinary-looking woman walking past us, revealing nothing about her identity, implying she is incognito, no one essentially knows how she looks because she exists in each of our feminine sides, waiting to be realized, waiting to be unleashed.”

Produced by Serpents Of Pakhangba’s label, No Binary Records, Singh describes the visual and songwriting process as an “interesting collaboration.” The band adds in the press release, “Verses in the track paraphrase Panthoibi Mingkheilol, an old literature which serenades the Goddess, praises her abilities, her tales of glory, and her very existence. ‘Every woman has a Panthoibi in her, who wakes up as she understands her personal strength and rekindles her oneness with the divine.’”

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It’s perhaps the band’s way of recording and interpreting some of the region’s oral history. Singh says there’s a lot more music coming up through 2022. He adds, “It is refreshing for sure to work on new music. A little change in direction in songwriting and production/arrangement – where is the fun if one keeps doing the same thing over and over again? –  in the new songs was important. I can’t wait to share more new Serpents of Pakhangba Music.”

Watch the video for “Panthoibi” below.