The 35-year-old collapsed during a festival performance
Barbara Weldens, an up-and-coming French singer, died after collapsing in the middle of a performance Wednesday in the Lot region of France. The 35-year-old reportedly suffered cardiac arrest, possibly caused by electrocution, according to police, who are investigating, via the BBC.
Weldens, who released her first studio album Le grande H de l’homme (“The big M in man”) last February, came from an entertainment background and was a promising young talent. Below, five things to know about Weldens.
1. She was raised in the circus
Before beginning to play piano and write poetry and songs in her adolescence, Weldens spent her childhood mastering juggling, acrobatics, and the art of the trapeze under the guidance of her parents. Learning how to ride a monocycle at the age of 5, she led a nomadic existence in her early years with a traveling circus.
2. She was a kinetic, explosive singer and performer
As seen in many of her performances, like “Du pain pour les réveille-matin” (“Bread for alarm clocks”) and “Je ne veux pas de ton amour” (“I don’t want your love”) — both below — Weldens was a visceral entertainer, covering a lot of ground on stage as she sang, hollered, emoted, and even shrieked her lyrics, always with an edge for storytelling and drama.
3. She was the recipient of a number of prestigious French talent awards and honors
In 2016, Weldens won the Jacques Brel Festival’s young talents contest, as well as the revelation of the Scène de la Académie Charles Cros. The year prior, she was included at Pause Guitare 2015, a festival celebrating young talent. Earlier in her career, she caught the attention of several festivals and audition cycles, like the Osons auditions at Bijou in Toulouse, or as part of the Coups de pousses at the Détours de Chant festival.
4. Weldens had a progressive view on gender norms and wasn’t afraid to speak about the female struggle
Of her debut album Le grande H de l’homme, Weldens is quoted as saying, “It speaks of the feminine and the masculine, it speaks of love, and of equality as well, between the sexes and between all people.”
On the album is the track “Femme” (“Woman”), some lyrics of which translate to: “As long as we submit to being under the power of love/ There will always be weak women/ Women who are assassinated, stoned, mowed down… I sometimes hear them laughing at the same table, sharing the beautiful fruits of the earth / I sometimes hear them enjoying in the same bed, sharing the beautiful fruits of the flesh.”
5. She liked to sing barefoot
Like Adele, Patti Smith, Björk, and many more, Weldens ripped a page out of their books and performed sans shoes, reportedly doing so during what turned out to be her final set. Those might have only gotten in the way, though, of her dynamic stage presence and lively performances.