'Labelle' to reunite in Harlem

December 18, 2008 3:00:28 PM PST
A musical reunion is set to take the stage in Harlem Friday night. And they haven't performed together in decades."Labelle" will perform at the Apollo Theater, and Kemberly Richardson caught up with them during rehearsal. In the mid 70s, "Labelle" was one of the most popular groups in the world. The ladies had a soulful mix on stage, along with unforgettable costumes, feathers and platforms included.

The group split in 1976, but Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash remained good friends. They recently decided it was time to bring back "Labelle."

It's a sound that instantly brings you back to the mid 1970s, when a trio of very recognizable women hit the scene.

"When we sing together, we see what we have 32 years ago," Labelle said. "We still have it."

That "it" is a blend of soul, funk and a harmonic mix. It's something "Labelle" is bringing back to the Apollo Theater in their first full live concert in more than three decades.

"When we walk into the lobby and our pictures are painted on the wall, we were considered the sweethearts of the Apollo back in the 1960s," Dash said.

Kemberly sat in and listened as the ladies prepared for their big reintroduction, while bringing back old looks.

"We're not going to crazy like we we back then, because our ages don't match with that stuff," Labelle said.

Friends since teenagers, they're now in their 60s. They reunited in 2005, recording a tribute to the late Rosa Parks.

They admit it just felt right, being back together. The rest is history.

Their new album, "Back to Now," features works by Lenny Kravitz, Wyclef Jean and legendary producers Gamble and Huff. It also includes "Without You in My Life," secretly written by Hendryx for Patti and Sarah.

"I wrote it at a very cathartic experience about the groups and getting back together," Hendryx said. "And we were at Pat's house, rehearsing and sitting around the piano, and I played it for Pat and Sarah."

They agreed it was once again time for "Labelle."

"I love it when she rocks, because I roll when she rocks," Labelle said. "Got it like that, got it like that, a gift to each other."

And they're still able to rock their classic headliner, "Lady Marmalade."

The performance Friday kicks off the group's national tour, stopping in cities like Chicago, Detroit and wrapping up in Atlanta.

Tickets are available at the Apollo Theater box office by calling 212-531-5305 and through TicketMaster at 212-307-7171 or TicketMaster.com.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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