Ida Barr

Ida Barr is an old age pensioner who has embraced the music of today’s yut with her own brand of rap which she has dubbed Artificial Hip Hop. If you’re a lover of fresh and funky phat rymes and beats about prescription medication, multi-cultural Britain and home helps who, due to phobia, are unable to dust dado rails, then you’ve found the MC for you.

A rapping pensioner who instead of morosely looking back on her glory days as a music hall singer, is embracing a style of music called Artificial Hip Hop. Ida is based on a real English music hall star and is based on a mountain of research. She has wowed audiences with her shows including Artificial Hip Hop, Get Old or Die Trying, and Last Christmas (Possibly) and had her own Radio 4 series.

Eyes Down with Ida Barr at Wonderland 5 September 2015.

Eyes Down with Ida Barr at Wonderland 5 September 2015.

New show for 2018

Ida Barr – Granarchist!

Ida Barr – the People’s Pensioner and the Queen Mother of our Hearts – is a former music hall singer turned rap star. Her brand of Artificial Hip Hop has thrilled listeners globally from dope cribs to residential care homes.
But Ida is keeping it real. Politicians have proved over and over that they can’t be trusted. “Power to the people!” shouts Ida from her sheltered accommodation in Dalston. Nothing will be the same again after a night of social agitation and tiny acts of rebellion using protest R&B and dissident songs from the 19th century all rapped up in a communal hip-hop style with mass singalongs and lots of the most revolutionary tool of all – laughter!

Ida in action

There are lots of Ida Barr videos on Youtube. But this short film Artificial Hip Hop is a good place to start:

Artificial Hip Hop

Ida Barr at the Barbican Theatre


Here’s a new Ida Barr song from February 2015 about Ida’s visit to the nurse and her thoughts on being asked to diet.


Ida Barr at Duckie

Ida Barr’s Mashup

I have been working for a few years now with Home Live Art on Ida Barr’s Mashup. This project has Ida Barr in character leading workshops with children and pensioners, then bringing them together to form a mass participatory choir. We have done lots of events and it’s taken us to an extraordinary range of places and we have met some fantastically inspriring people. It’s the luckiest job in the world. It’s going to be rolled out over the next couple of years supported by the Arts Council.

Here are more detail on the project:

See Ida Barr on Home Live Art

Ida Barr’s Mashup on Youtube

Ida Barr at the National Theatre

Ida Barr’s Mashup on tour