Barb Jungr (born 9 May 1954) is an English singer, songwriter, composer and writer, of Czech and German parentage whose work challenges categorisation and spans popular music, theatre, cabaret and jazz. She is known as a performer of “contemporary cabaret” and a chansonnière, or singer of chansons—in the sense of classic, lyric-driven French songs; in the broader sense of European songs in the cabaret style; and in the even broader sense of a diverse range of songs interpreted in this style. She is also an acclaimed jazz and cabaret singer, and has become best known for her work with, or "interpretations" of, the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel, The Beatles and, most recently, Sting. A song-stylist incorporating jazz and blues, her approach often includes radical re-readings of known writers as well as original material. Since 2004 her work has focused increasingly on writing (lyrics, composition and adaptations) for children's and musical theatre.
|Born||9 May 1954|
Rochdale, Lancashire, England, UK
|Genres||Cabaret, jazz, blues, soul|
|Labels||Linn, Naim, Kristalyn|
Her father was Miroslav Jungr, a Czech scientist; her mother, Ingrid, was a German nurse. The eldest of three siblings, she grew up in Stockport, Cheshire, where she attended Stockport Convent School for Girls before earning a BSc from Leeds University. Miroslav Jungr moved to Britain as a refugee after the Second World War and after incarceration in German work camps.
Alternative cabaret circuit
Arriving in London in the mid 1970s, Jungr worked with playwright Pam Gems and composer Paul Sand, appearing as the singer at the Edinburgh Festival production of Gem's play Dead Fish, which became Dusa Fish Stas and Vi. Jungr's first single was "He's Gone", as the Stroke, released by CBS, was single of the week in New Musical Express and was written and recorded with her husband, Dan Bowling.
She formed the Three Courgettes with Michael Parker and Jerry Kreeger and performed new wave versions of gospel songs in the Kings Road and Portobello Market in the late 1970s. The band was discovered by Island Records, then toured with Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Sade, Mari Wilson, and the Jets. The Three Courgettes recorded a Christmas song for Michael Zilkha's A Christmas Record.
She formed the duo Jungr and Parker with blues guitarist Michael Parker. For thirteen years they performed internationally and appeared regularly on British television and radio. They hosted the BBC Radio 2 series We Stayed in with...Jungr and Parker with specials recorded at the Edinburgh Festival and produced by Sonia Beldom. Jungr and Parker toured with Alexei Sayle and Arnold Brown, with whom they won a Perrier Award in Edinburgh in 1987 at the Gilded Balloon Theatre, and toured nationally and internationally with Julian Clary, appearing with him in the West End at the Aldwych Theatre and on Channel 4 television in Sticky Moments and Terry and Julian.
Jungr and Parker released albums of largely original material, with a vinyl compilation of early songs for Billy Bragg's Utility label. Jungr played harmonica on Bragg's album Workers' Playtime.
In 1991 Jungr and Parker performed in a Festival of European music in Sudan funded by the British Council. The success of that trip led to them performing and giving workshops in Cameroon, Tanzania, Malawi, and Burma. Jungr wrote about these experiences for the Guardian Diary, Folk Roots, and The Singer, and in 1994 enrolled in a masters program at Goldsmith's College in ethnomusicology for which she received a Distinction. She specialised in the Voice and Singing. During that time Jungr began to embark on solo shows, accompanied by Russell Churney, and started a solo career with the release the album Bare, which was recorded in a day, live at the Conway Hall with the support of Overtones Studios.
In the early 1990s Jungr developed themed shows which have become her speciality: "Hell Bent Heaven Bound" (with Ian Shaw, Christine Collister and Michael Parker) was Perrier Pick of the Fringe, "Money the Final Frontier" (with Helen Watson, Christine Collister and Michael Parker) was invited to the Canadian Music Festivals. In 1998 she toured with the show Sex, Religion and Politics directed by Julia Pascal, appearing at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival . With composer James Tomalin she contributed "Jackie" to the Jacques Brel compilation album and Fear of a Red Planet.
In 1999 Jungr was invited to record for Linn Records in Glasgow. In 2000 Linn released Chanson: The Space in Between, an album of English translations of classic French chansons. In 2002, she released Every Grain of Sand, an album of arrangements of Bob Dylan's songs, followed by Waterloo Sunset in 2003.
Appearing in a New York season at the Flea Theatre in 2002, she was given the Backstage Bistro Awar in 2003 for Best International Artist. In 2004 she recorded Love Me Tender, an album of songs recorded by Elvis Presley for release in March 2005, followed by Walking in the Sun (2006) featuring guitarist Eric Bibb.
In 2007 Jungr collaborated with British composer Mark Anthony Turnage, appearing with the London Sinfonietta in the commissioned piece About Water at Queen Elizabeth Hall to celebrate the reopening of the Festival Hall.
In March 2010 Naim released The Men I Love – The New American Songbook . She performed a second season at the Cafe Carlyle in the Carlyle Hotel in New York. In 2010 Jungr released Man in the Long Black Coat: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan. In 2012 she released Stockport to Memphis.
In March 2014 Jungr released Hard Rain: the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and toured the UK with a season at the 59E59 Theater in New York. The album won Best Cabaret CD from BroadwayWorld.com.
Other collaborations include composer Jonathan Cooper on his "Moon Behind the Clouds" song cycle, the cabaret show Girl Talk with Mari Wilson and Claire Martin, and Gwyneth Herbert which toured intermittently for ten years and the trio Durga Rising with tabla player Kuljit Bhamra and pianist Russell Churney.
Since 2015, she has recorded and toured on both sides of the Atlantic with pianist Laurence Hobgood, with whom she recorded Shelter from the Storm (2016) featuring three original compositions alongside songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Rodgers and Hammerstein, David Bowie, Stephen Sondheim, Bruce Springsteen, and Peter Gabriel.
In 2018 Jungr toured with McDaniel again performing the songs of Sting, which premiered in New York in June 2017. which was released on Kristalyn Records September 2018. Jungr and McDaniel also toured 1968 - Let The Sun Shine In, after its opening at Joe's Pub in NYC in July. The show went on to Bar jeer Vernunft in Berlin.
Jungr acted in British director Robina Rose's film Nightshift, playing the bar girl. For Debbie Isitt's Snarling Beastie Theatre Company she composed music for The Woman who Cooked Her Husband at the Royal Court Upstairs and Matilda Liar at the Tricycle Theatre. She appeared in Isitt's 10 by 10 for BBC Television. In 2002 the British Council supported Jungr's three-week run at the Flea Theatre in New York.
Jungr worked with the Amici multi-disciplinary dance troupe and has directed and produced the work of other artists. She was featured as the singer in Simon Armitage's millennial poem Channel 4 film, directed by Brian Hill, and she created the cabaret show Girl Talk with Mari Wilson and Claire Martin.
Jungr has presented, written, and researched many programmes for national BBC Radio 2, (three series of "We Stayed in with Jungr and Parker and two Edinburgh Specials), BBC Radio 3 (For Heavy Entertainment two programmes on Persian music "Sweet Lips Dark Eyes" and two on Ethiopian music "Shaking Shoulders and Honey Beer" ), BBC Radio 2 (writer and presenter of "The Hoppings" two-hour arts special for Soundbite Productions) and BBC Radio 4 (Malawi Diary producer Paul Dodgson) and in Canada for CBC, as a regular contributor to The Global Village as well as contributing to many BBC arts programmes including Woman's Hour, Kaleidoscope, Saturday Review, Saturday Live, and A Good Read.
Jungr coached the young offenders in vocal delivery for Brian Hill's Bafta-winning film Feltham Sings. She created the voice course at London Metropolitan University and formed and ran the Raise the Roof Horseman Choir (which she founded) for several years. In 2012 she created the song cycle "Deep Roots Tall Trees" for the Core Theatre at Corby, with local musicians, songwriters, and poets.
In 2012 she created the song cycle "Deep Roots Tall Trees" for the Core Theatre at Corby, with local musicians, songwriters, and poets, which culminated in a concert at Corby football ground in August 2014 incorporating local musicians, the Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antony Weedon. This concert started the Made in Corby Arts Council England initiative.
Writing (theatre, essays and books)
- Cinderella (2005), (lyricist), Jack and the Beanstalk (2006), (composer and lyricist), and Beauty and the Beast (2007), (composer and lyricist). Director (all) – Cal McCrystal, Pantomimes (Newbury Corn Exchange)
- The Ballad of Norah's Ark – songs Barb Jungr and Russell Churney, book Barb Jungr and Andy Goldberg, from original idea by Barb Jungr. In development in northeast England, previous workshops and readings in New York and London. Performed by the Billingham Players in June 2011.
- The Jungle Book (lyricist) – Birmingham Stage Company, toured again 2011/12
- The Fabulous Flutterbys (2010) – (book, composer and lyricist), Produced by the Little Angel Puppet Theatre in spring 2010.
- Jungr co-adapted, with Peter Glanville, Michael Rosen's children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt for the stage for the Little Angel Theatre with music and songs by Barb Jungr, directed by Peter Glanville. The show opened for a 12-week run at the Little Angel Theatre in May 2013, toured through Autumn 2013, 2014, 2015 and again in 2016.
- She is composer and songwriter for the Polka Children's Theatre co-production with Oxford Playhouse of How To Hide a Lion adapted by director Peter Glanville from Helen Stephens’ book. The show premiered at Polka for a four-month run from end October 2016 to February 2017, when it played at Oxford and The Little Angel Theatre, Islington. It is the Christmas show at The Manchester Royal Exchange Studio December 2017 and then went on to run for several weeks at The Little Angel in Islington, London.
- Jungr co-adapted and wrote music and songs for The Little Angel Theatre and Northampton Royal and Derngate co-production of Julia Donaldson's The Singing Mermaid, which premiered November 2017 in Northampton.
- Jungr is co-adaptor (with director Peter Glanville) and composed songs and music for Chocolate Cake based on Michael Rosen's poems, which premiered at Polka Children's Theatre in March 2018.
- Jungr originated (with George Seaton), and was co-book writer and lyricist of Liver Birds Flying Home, a musical based on the writer Carla Lane and Myra Taylor's characters. Producers James Seabright and George Seaton premiered a showcase performance of the piece at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, with music by Mike Lindup, lyrics by Barb Jungr, book by Barb Jungr, Linda McDermott and George Seaton, directed by Sarah Tipple in May 2017. The musical completed a 4-week run at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre in April 2018, directed by Benji Sperring.
- Currently Jungr has co-written The Pixie and the Pudding for The Little Angel Theatre premiering Christmas 2019 at The Little Angel Theatre. https://littleangeltheatre.com/whats-on/the-pixie-and-the-pudding/
Publications (essays, books and articles)
- Once upon a time in America - Barb Jungr's tour diary
- Essay in The New Statesman to celebrate Bob Dylan's birthday, May 2012, "Beyond The Horizon"
- Essay in Spiked Online - “The new insulting c-word: Cabaret” Dec 2012
- Essay in Institute of Ideas publication on love and marriage in the new century - essay on song lyrics
- Essay in Spiked Online - "Why are pop singers so samey and sexless?" June 2005
- Essay in The Sunday Times, "What the dying can teach us about living" - News Review - December 2001
- Essay in Folk Roots - a record of Jungr and Parker's British Council trip to Sudan for The British Council in 1992
- Column in The Guardian Diary - Jungr and Parker's first Cameroon tour, 2003
- Contributor Book - 'Woman: The Incredible Life of Yoko Ono' by Alan Clayson, Barb Jungr, and Robb Johnson (Paperback - 1 Apr 2004)
- Contributor Chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Blues and Gospel Music (Cambridge Companions to Music) by Allan Moore (Paperback - 13 Mar 2003) - chapter on Voice by Barb Jungr
- Contributor Essay in - John Lydon: Stories of Johnny - A Compendium of Thoughts on the Icon of an Era (Paperback), Alan McGee (Foreword), Rob Johnstone (Editor) Essay on John Lydon's singing
- Major contributor of features and columns to The Singer - Rheingold Publications - 1996 - 2009.
Theatre, film and TV performances
- Jungr acted in British director Robina Rose's film Nightshift, playing the bar girl. For Debbie Isitt's Snarling Beastie Theatre Company she composed music for The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband at the Royal Court Upstairs and Matilda Liar at the Tricycle Theatre. She appeared in Isitt's "10 by 10" for BBC Television. In 2002 the British Council supported Jungr's three-week run at New York's Flea Theatre.
- Jungr has also worked with the Amici multi-disciplinary dance troupe, and has directed and produced the work of other artists. She was featured as the singer in Simon Armitage's millennial poem Channel 4 film, directed by Brian Hill.
Jungr has presented, written, and researched many programmes for national BBC Radio 2 (three series of We Stayed in With Jungr and Parker and two Edinburgh Specials), BBC Radio 3 (For Heavy Entertainment two programmes on Persian music "Sweet Lips Dark Eyes" and two on Ethiopian music "Shaking Shoulders and Honey Beer" ), BBC Radio 2 (writer and presenter of "The Hoppings", two-hour arts special for Soundbite Productions) and BBC Radio 4 (Malawi Diary, producer Paul Dodgson) and in Canada for CBC, as a regular contributor to "The Global Village", as well as contributing to many BBC arts programmes including
Community and other work
Barb Jungr coached the young offenders in vocal delivery for Brian Hill's Bafta-winning film Feltham Sings. She created the voice course at London Metropolitan University and formed and ran the Horseman Raise the Roof Choir (which she founded) for several years. In 2012 she created the song cycle 'Deep Roots Tall Trees' for the Core Theatre at Corby, with local musicians, songwriters and poets. In 2012 she created the song cycle "Deep Roots Tall Trees" for the Core Theatre at Corby, with local musicians, songwriters and poets. which culminated in a ground breaking concert at Corby football ground in August 2014 incorporating local musicians, the Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Antony Weedon at Corby Football Ground. This concert launched the 'Made In Corby' Arts Council England initiative.
Barb Jungr directed and appeared in the May 2017 Dreaming Our Woods Performances in The Core at Corby Cube working alongside Laurenz Theinert and choreographer Neil Paris with the Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir conducted by Gareth Fuller and local and professional musicians for producer Rosalind Stoddart.
Barb Jungr lives in London. She was married to musician and writer Richard "Dan" Bowling (son of the painter Frank Bowling and the writer Paddy Kitchen) from 1981 to 1991.
- Bouquet of Barbs (1985)
- Bare (1999), Irregular Records
- Bare Again re-release (2007), Premiere Jazz
- The Space in Between (2000), Linn Records
- Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan (2002), Linn Records
- Waterloo Sunset (2003), Linn Records
- Love Me Tender (2005), Linn Records
- Walking In The Sun (Jungr)|Walking in the Sun (2006), Linn Records
- No Regrets: the remarkable Barb Jungr (2007), Australia compilation ABC Jazz
- Just Like a Woman (2008), Linn Records
- The Men I Love -The New American Songbook 8 March, (2010), Naimlabel
- Man in the Long Black Coat: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan (2011), Linn Records
- Stockport to Memphis (2012), Naim Jazz
- Hard Rain - the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (2014), Kristalyn Records
- Bare Again (2014), Kristalyn Records
- Shelter from the Storm: Songs of Hope for Troubled Times (2016), Linn Records
- Come Together: Barb Jungr and John McDaniel Perform The Beatles (2016), Kristalyn Records
- Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan (Fifteenth Anniversary Edition) (2017), Linn Records
- Float Like A Butterfly - Barb Jungr and John McDaniel Perform The Songs of Sting (2018), Kristalyn Records
- Bob, Brel and Me (2019), Kristalyn Records
With Michael Parker
- Wicked (1986)
- Blue Devils (1987)
- Night and Day (1988)
- Off the Peg (1988)
- Over the Bridge (1990)
- Canada (1992)
- Blue Devils (2015), iTunes release - previously cassette only
- Gentle Men (2013) Robb Johnson with Jenny Carr, Jude Abbott and John Forrester
- Shades of Beautiful - The Tracy Stark Songbook (2016), with Barb Jungr, Janis Siegel, Karen Black, Nona Hendryx, Ann Hampton Calloway, Jane Monheit, Tonya Pinkins and more
- Durga Rising (2011) with Kuljit Bhamra and Russell Churney
- Hell Bent Heaven Bound – Money the Final Frontier (2009) with Christine Collister, Helen Watson, and Michael Parker
- The Magic of Kisses (2008), Jonathan Cooper
- Girl Talk (2005) with Claire Martin and Mari Wilson
- And They ALL Sang Rosselsongs (2004) - Various artists
- Uneasy Street (2005) with Ian Shaw
- The Music of BB Cooper: The Best of British Vocal Jazz (2004) - Various artists
- Darkness and Disgrace: Des de Moor and Russell Churney Perform the Songs of David Bowie (2003) - Des de Moor and Russell Churney
- Nine Times Two (2002) – Various artists
- The Moon Behind the Clouds (2002) – Jonathan Cooper
- The Triumph of Hope Over Experience (2002) – Robb Johnson
- Article 14 (2001) – Various artists
- Period Pieces: Women's Songs for Men and Women (1998) – Peggy Seeger
- Ne Me Quitte Pas: Brel Songs by... (1998), Various artists
- Durga Rising (1997) with Kuljit Bhamra and Russell Churney
- Hell Bent Heaven Bound II: Money the £inal £rontier (1993), with Christine Collister, Michael Parker and Helen Watson
- Ze Christmas Album (1982) – Various artists
- Mighty Reel - NME 004 cassette album (1982) – Various artists with the Three Courgettes' track "Now Dance"
- Pam Gems Biography
- "He's Gone". Music Stack. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- Past Concerts
- "TV & Radio Listings". TVRDB.
- "Genome". BBC.
- "1987 Winner – Brown Blues: Arnold Brown with Barb Jungr & Michael Parker". Archived from the original on 29 May 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
- "Leeds Alumni". Leeds University.
- "Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians". Jazz. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016.
- "British Musicological Societies' Conference 1999". Golden Pages.
- Barb Jungr – Bare
- "Through a valley of tears and laughter". Herald Scotland.
- "Irregular Records Catalogue". Irregular Records.
- "Linn Records". Linn Records.
- The Bistro Awards
- How hecklers created harmony
- 2008 Nightlife award winners announced
- Barb Jungr: Stockport to Memphis
- BWW 2014 NY Cabaret Awards
- "The Moon Behind the Clouds". Jonathan Cooper.
- "Girl Talk". Linn Records.
- "Review: Barb Jungr Applies Her Emphatic Voice to the Beatles' Music". New York Times.
- "Recording Shelter". Linn Records.
- "Is That All There Is? Remembering Peggy Lee hosted by James Gavin, featuring Jane Monheit, Nellie McKay & others". American Songbook.
- Nightshift -BFI
- "Artist Biographies: Barb Jungr". Jazz Review.
- "Saturday Live". BBC.
- "A Good Read". BBC.
- "Saturday Review". BBC.
- "Barb Jungr". Rochdale Online.
- "Raise the Roof". Raise the Roof Singers.
- Corby – Deep roots Tall trees
- The Ballad of Norah's Ark
- The Jungle Book
- The Fabulous Flutterbys
- Barb Jungr – Official website
- Barb Jungr's official Myspace page
- Barb Jungr's artist profile on Linn Records' website
- Barb Jungr at AllMusic