Individually, they are extraordinary artists. Together, Abby Dobson and Lara Goodridge, AKA Baby et Lulu, are magnifique. The Sentinel speaks with the duo about music, friendship and la vie as they launch a new album and concert tour. By Rita Bratovich.
Abby Dobson and Lara Goodridge first met in Paris when each was touring with their respective bands; Dobson as the lead singer of Leonardo’s Bride and Goodridge playing violin with avant-garde quartet, FourPlay. They immediately bonded thanks to a shared sense of humour, their mutual love of all things French and an utter respect for each other’s talent.
It was for a show at a private party that they originally created Baby et Lulu, and it was only ever intended as a one-off.
“After that first performance on milk crates we both thought: ‘This is so delicious we have to do it again!’” says Dobson.
Thirteen years later, they’re still singing together and it’s still delicious.
As Baby (Dobson) and Lulu (Goodridge) the duet have a fun, nostalgic, ultra femme aesthetic and sing French café style songs in French. It’s a complete creative departure for them both.
“Leonardo’s Bride was very intense emotionally, a very different dynamic in the band. It was quite full on and a different stage of my evolution – I was an angsty young woman,” says Dobson, who came up through the grunge scene bedecked in flannelette shirts and Doc Martins. Now she wears bright high heels and little flowers in her hair.
“In Baby et Lulu I get to bring out this very playful, coquettish kind of side, you know. We really get to play with our femininity in a way that I never felt comfortable doing when I was younger,” she says.
Goodridge, who also performs with FourPlay and Miriam Lieberman, echoes that sentiment.
“I’ve always played in multiple bands and they’re all so different and I love them all equally [but] I have to say Baby et Lulu satisfies a lot of my sensibilities,” Goodridge tells The Sentinel.
“I get an enormous amount of joy and it’s very musically satisfying and emotionally satisfying, and audiences love it. It has a life of its own. It’s really, really a beautiful thing to be part of.”
The duo have just released their third album, the imaginatively titled Album Trois (Album Three).
“People spend days, weeks, coming up with album names. We don’t have time for that!” laughs Goodridge.
The album is a bon-bon box of classic, mood-filled French tunes from legendary songwriters including Michel Legrand, Édith Piaf, Henry Mancini, Maurice Chevalier and contemporary popular Belgian artist, Stromae, among others.
Dobson and Goodridge have also written original songs which blend seamlessly with the classics. One of them, ‘La Ballade de la Mer’, has been released as a single, along with a beautifully illustrated lyric video. It’s a gorgeous, soulful ballad, indicative of the emotional depth and range on the album: light and joyful, pensive and sentimental.
What is particularly striking is the natural affinity between the voices of Dobson and Goodridge. Both describe the otherworldly joy of singing in harmony with each other, and especially singing in French, which adds another dimension.
“Abby is such a magnificent, strong, glorious singer that for me I feel really confident moving around, I feel really safe perched on Abby, and together we get to do this really lovely thing,” says Goodridge.
“It releases oxytocin,” agrees Dobson. “On stage when we’re singing together, we actually meet each other in a way that we don’t in our friendship [or other situations]. When we’re on stage there’s a deep kind of soulful connection.”
There’s a large posse of devoted Baby et Lulu fans who will attest to that. They come to the shows dressed like vintage movie stars, book a table, order champagne and have a fabulous time.
“And the regulars range [in age] from 30 to 75. We have a wide range of audience, which is lovely – really, really lovely,” says Goodridge.
Fresh out of lockdown, Dobson and Goodridge are very excited about their upcoming tour and can’t wait to dress up and get back on stage.
“We all were reminded just how important it is for our wellbeing to have that outlet of expression,” says Dobson.
Baby et Lulu commence their tour on December 12 at Camelot Lounge, 103 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville.
Album Trois by Baby et Lulu is available now on all major digital music platforms, with physical CDs and merchandise available at www.babyetlulu.com.au.
The Album Trois Tour will kick off with launch shows at 6pm and 8.30pm Sunday, 12 December, 2021 at Camelot Lounge, Marrickville before touring Australia through to June 2022. Tickets available at www.babyetlulu.com.au.
Further local tour dates include 6pm Saturday, 12 February, 2022 at Camelot Lounge Marrickville; 7pm Saturday, 26 February, 2022 at The Music Lounge, Wollongong Town Hall, Wollongong; 7pm Friday, 3 June, 2022 at Lizotte’s Newcastle, Lambton; and 8pm Saturday, 11 June, 2022 at Blue Mountains Theatre, Springwood. Tickets available at www.babyetlulu.com.au.
Rita Bratovich is the arts and entertainment editor of the Sydney Sentinel.
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