Lady Barbalade might be Ireland’s best kept musical secret

Lady Barbalade might be Ireland’s best kept musical secret

The Irish Institute of Music and Song is bringing together two of the best a cappella singing groups in the world for a blockbuster show that is sure to have the audience thrilled.

US based barber shop quartet Midtown have flown across the Atlantic to combine forces with Irish a cappella group Lady Barbalade and put on a showstopper of a night.

A cappella performance groups have grown in popularity in recent years, thanks to the likes of Ed Helms showcasing the niche performance style in hit comedy the American Office.

Helms’ character Andy Bernard was a massive a cappella enthusiast and frequently referenced his college days and the fun he would have with his bandmates in Here Comes Treble.

The show got us thinking about a cappella, and we decided to delve into the background of Irish quartet Lady Barbalade.

The group consists of Rebecca Gilbert, Clare Hayes-Brady, Hilary Harnett and Ailbhe Hayes. They were all members of the award winning Enchiriadis Chamber Choir.

The talented singers joined forces to create Lady Barbalade, of course a barber shop pun of the famous Labelle song Lady Marmalade.

Since their formation in 2015, the quartet has performed in numerous venues and a cappella concerts.

Their beautiful harmonies and comical songs have become their trademark along with their glamorous dresses.

Midtown is one of the leading a cappella groups in the US. They comprise of four experienced performers and are based in New York city.

They are accomplished performers in a variety of musical styles, including pop, jazz, barbershop, gospel, and musical theater.

Lady Barbalade were honoured to be the first Irish quartet invited as guests to the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers convention, and the first Irish quartet to compete at Sweet Adelines, the worldwide organisation for ladies barbershop.

Take a look at some of their YouTube highlights.

Barbershop singing is notoriously difficult because of the complicated harmonies in uses. It requires lots of training and preferably, lots of singing lessons. Some of the harmonies are deliberately discordant and if you’re not careful, or the performers are not completely on top of the song, it can just sound, well, a bit off and flat.

Not so with Lady Barbalade though. They seem to have mastered this complex art quite brilliantly.

Anyone thinking of taking up barbershop might want to find a singing teacher first or check out some of the online singing courses available. Give yourself a head start with this difficult art.

If you like Lady Barbalade but want to delve a little further into more traditional music from Ireland, check out singing in Irish with Cor Aingli.

A capella Irish Sean Nos singing