As a newcomer to acapella, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the all-female student ensemble In The Pink when I showed up to their rehearsal last night. What I found was a group of passionate, powerful ladies who were determined to give their audience a great time to remember. They were practising for their show on Thursday night at The Mad Hatter, ‘Fantastic Beats and Where To Find Them’, which will raise funds for their Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name. As the title suggests, the show will feature original arrangements inspired by the Harry Potter franchise, and there are rumours that The Mad Hatter will serve exclusive Butter Beer cocktails for the night (!).
Speaking to In The Pink’s president, Amina Clayton, she puts the emphasis on fun, saying: ‘We’re all obviously here because we’re singers, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously’. And, watching them perform, it’s difficult not to get drawn into the fun with them. In The Pink are active performers, dancing and smiling throughout, and their enthusiasm radiates from every move. It’s made doubly impressive by the simultaneous vocal feats they pull off, which range from multi-layered harmonies to energetic rap breakdowns. They performed a classic girl power medley for me, bringing Aretha Franklin’s iconic 1967 single ‘Respect’ into the 21st century with beatboxing and hip-shaking choreography to complement that famously empassioned solo line. The result: it’s fabulously sassy.
And, if you’re wondering, I did ‘find out what it means to (them)’ – In The Pink are proud to send a political message of female empowerment. As well as working toward the launch for their Edinburgh Fringe show, they’re on the cusp of releasing an original song to raise money for ‘Oxford Against Cutting’, a local organisation working to ban the practice of Female Genital Mutilation, for whom they also put on a Christmas concert. They tell me that after performing their Girl Power medley at the semi-finals of Voice Festival UK (‘kind of like Pitch Perfect, but nicer’), a judge told them that it was the first time they’d really felt girl power.
At its heart, In The Pink are a tight-knit group founded on raw vocal talent, and a common love for performance. If you’re looking for a night of fun, feisty entertainment, with a bit of Potter thrown in, The Mad Hatter is the place to be on Thursday night. Beginning at 8pm, tickets will be £5, and will go to fund their Edinburgh Fringe show. New songs to look out for tomorrow night will include arrangements of ‘Ain’t Nobody’, and ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.