Barbara has been living what she calls a Jekyll and Hyde existence ever since she left school, working in offices during the day and pursuing her musical interests after hours. A vocalist and composer with Mandalaband III, she is also the director/company secretary of Legend Music Limited/Legend Records with co-director David Rohl.
Born in Stockport, Greater Manchester and brought up in Buxton, Derbyshire, Barbara’s family emigrated to a farm near Narembeen in Western Australia, a small sheep and wheat belt town 180 miles east of Perth. Memories of the isolated, stark beauty of “the bush” have always provided a source of strength for Barbara. Even so, with ears stuck to the radio until the satellite passed overhead and reception faded, Barbara and her sister constantly sang to 60s pop lyric books they ordered from Perth, along with all the English fan magazines to cover their bedroom walls with posters.
Barbara won a scholarship to college in Perth and then moved to Sydney in New South Wales and Melbourne in Victoria. She also spent five years in New Zealand where she guested with the popular r&b band Rough Justice. Upon her return to England in 1980, she paid her dues playing in various bands in pubs and clubs around the capital and the university circuit, including the all-girl r&b outfit Limehouse and the Ghanain high-life/salsa band Afriko.
Barbara first met David Rohl in the early 80s when she worked as a session vocalist in various studios. She decided she was paying too much for studio time to create demo tapes and as technology had reached the stage where equipment could be installed at home, she asked David’s advice about the best deal. Barbara describes the time from then to the establishment of Legend Music in 2000 and the first release under Legend Records this October, as the longest project she has ever been involved in!
In order to buy the equipment, Barbara needed to get a “proper job” instead of office temping. She then experienced the dilemma many of us face – the regular income versus the desire to pursue a musical career. For Barbara, her career in Human Resources had begun and she went on to study and qualify as a Member, then a Chartered Fellow, of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD). She also attended as a part-time mature student at University to gain a Masters degree in Employment Relations & Law. She has worked in senior HR management for the last 20 years, and through her own consultancy for the last ten years.
Another (wonderful) distraction from her musical career came with the birth of Barbara’s daughter, Briony, in 1989. As a single parent, Barbara focused on developing her HR career and providing for Briony who she describes as her “inspiration” – Briony is also a vocalist with Mandalaband III and in her third year at university studying Biochemistry.
Legend Records plans to release the fourth Mandalaband album – ‘AD – Sangreal’ in Summer 2010, and work on Barbara’s jazz blues/orchestral rock-influenced solo album has already begun.