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Take 5: Abby Dobson of Baby et Lulu

Next Saturday 25 July, The Street Theatre will team up with local television production agency, Screencraft, and faux-French sensations, Baby et Lulu, to produce a live and livestreamed night previewing their new record, Album Trois.

CW spoke with one of Baby et Lulu’s vocalists, Abby Dobson, prior to their first live gig since the pandemic began. With seats at the venue sold out, buy a ticket for the livestream here and listen to their new single Jardin aux Souvenirs here.

1. Will this be Baby et Lulu’s first ever live performance for both a physical and digital audience?

Yes, it seems like The Street have a very beautiful production crew in place; it will be quite a team going to bring this to life. Hopefully it will be a wonderful thing to watch in your living room and everyone will get in the spirit; leave some brie on the counter for a few hours – you shouldn’t have cold French cheese – open a bottle of French wine and, since they’re not driving, really knock themselves out.

We’re all excited; I haven’t done a show for months, none of us have. I’ve promised not to wear my tracksuit.

2. An Australian six-piece band performing in French is a unique proposition; tell me how the group came to be?

It all started as an absolute folly; Lara and I thought we would do one show to get this French bug out of our system and didn’t have any idea people would be interested in it, but it turns out there’s a lot of Francophiles in Australia like us. We’ve been together 10 years now, and it’s just a very joyous show.

3. Given English is your first language, how do you find singing in French different to singing in your mother tongue?

Vocally as a singer, with French music it tends to be a bit more scope in the expression. I have a certain vibrato in my voice which I try and moderate in English, but with French it seems to really suit the high drama of the French music; my vibrato definitely has more free rein when singing in French.

4. You were born in Canberra. Do you still have much of a local connection?

My family moved to Sydney when I was four, so I never had a great understanding of the city.

I’ve come through regularly over the years but, like a lot of my travel as a musician, it’s usually around work. One always assumes they will have time to explore the city they’re working in, but it’s usually case that there’s never the time. Canberra audiences are always beautiful.

5. In your career you’ve supported and performed with some amazing musicians; who stands out to you?

They’ve all got their own special little place, but I’ve got to say I was pretty excited to be asked by Neil Finn to sing with him. I was in Leonardo’s Bride and had terrible flu before a show at Festival Hall in Melbourne. I was at my hotel lying in bed when I got a call to the room from Neil Finn asking if I’d sing a song with him off his new record. This was before music streaming, so I was backstage after a gig before theirs trying to learn the song on iPod. While it wasn’t a brilliant musical moment, but a lovely moment to get to sing with one of my heroes.

NOTE: Abby Dobson’s answers have been condensed for publication.

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