Take a dive Into Bahari

Ruby Carr and Natalia Panzarella have spent the pandemic making music, now they want to play it for fans


Courtesy Sean Behr

Together, Natalia Panzarella (left) and Ruby Carr are Bahari.

Apoorva Khandelwal, California High

Ruby Carr and Natalia Panzarella locked eyes with each other when figuring out the name for their band. Ruby is from an island called Lamu, off the coast in Kenya. People in Lamu speak Swahili. Natalia was asking Ruby different words in Swahili and one of the words was ocean . . . bahari.

They both looked at each other and realized it was the perfect name for their band. They had tried to think of a band name for a really long time and they knew that this was it.  

They both grew up by the beaches and it is something they are inspired by. Bahari was the right name for this group as it showed others who they were in just one word. 

Ruby moved to the United States when she was 16 after she graduated early from high school. She didn’t know anybody in the States and met Natalia at a recording studio. Natalia and Ruby were already making music on their own at that time and decided to work together on a song (“Wild Ones”). Since 2016, they have been working together.

Since COVID-19 struck, the whole music industry has been having a hard time. 

“It was kind of negative, like, ‘How are we going to make this work?’ And we ended up kind of turning it into a positive,” Natalia said during a recent interview over Zoom. 

The positive was that they built a studio at their house. Songwriting had always been collaborative, and the duo frequently wrote music with people at the studio. However, because of the pandemic, it just became the two of them. Due to this, their songs became more vulnerable and emotional. 

In general, their song process is different each time. 

“It depends on the exact situation, but either we will have something that’s weighing on us that we feel like we want to talk about,” Carr said.

They approach it a little like therapy. They sit down and talk about how they are feeling that day, what’s important to them, and what they can write about.

It was kind of negative, like, ‘How are we going to make this work?’ And we ended up kind of turning it into a positive


Natalia plays bass and guitar, while Ruby plays piano. Since they say Natalia is great at making melodies, she will come up with those and the duo writes lyrics to it. However, this process changes every time. 

Their creative process is also shown through their music videos. They said videos were an important part of their childhood, so they were always inspiring to them. When making ones for Bahari, they would usually brainstorm ideas and then find a director to help them out. Since they have talented friends, that part hasn’t been difficult for them. 

Now that the pandemic is dying down, the duo has new projects and plans. One of the upcoming ones is getting a live show together. Carr and Panzarella said they want to feel “really ready to do that because that’s definitely what we want to do as soon as we can.”

–Aug. 10, 2021–