In a widely admired career that has defied categorization, musician, writer, composer, lyricist, Barb Jungr, has been critically lauded for her insightful and passionate interpretive style, described as “revelatory” by the New York Times. Her deconstruction/reconstruction of popular songs and unusual and beautiful musical arrangements are characteristics that allow the listener new insights into familiar music. In recent years, Jungr has brought her singular talents to the songbooks of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, Jacques Brel and more, creating the genre of the New American Songbook. In her 45 year recording career alongside many collaborations she has released 18 solo albums, many for Linn Records, receiving outstanding reviews worldwide and winning many awards. Jungr and McDaniel’s collaboration has now produced two recordings. In 2011, Jungr received the New York Nightlife Award for Outstanding Cabaret Vocalist, the Backstage Bistro Award for Best International Artist, and Time Out New York's #1 Top Live Cabaret Act for 2011.
Glam Adelaide said of Barb Jungr, “It’s as if Edith Piaf and Nick Cave had a lovechild who was adopted by Carmen McCrae!” Her powerful singing style reaches across musical boundaries and defies easy categorization.
Beginning as a singer and performer on the alternative cabaret circuit, Barb earned numerous awards, including a Perrier. Never one to sit still, physically or artistically, she has evolved through the years into one of the UK’s finest and most distinctive singers. Her exhilarating vocal style fuses her sense of jazz, blues and soul with elements of everything from musical theatre to African and Iranian folk singing.
“Bob Dylan, jazz, northern soul, Nina Simone and continental Europe’s cabaret music perform a subtle dance in Jungr’s consciousness.” The Guardian
Born in Rochdale to Czech and German parents, Barb sang in folk clubs at school and in jazz and blues bands at college and in London. She began recording for CBS in the late 1970s and toured with Kid Creole, Alexie Sayle, and Julian Clary, among others. Over four decades, she has never ceased performing, locally and internationally on stage, as well as appearing regularly on radio and television.
“The brilliant jazz singer on world-beating form. Barb Jungr proves she’s a genuine jazz marvel….A true musical alchemist. She is truly a marvel, who should not be missed” **** 4 stars The Telegraph
Last year Barb appeared all over the UK and in Europe promoting the re-release of her Bob Dylan “cult classic” Every Grain of Sand. She appeared in the USA in New York, Ancram, New Hope and Connecticut, premiering two new collections of Sting’s repertoire with John McDaniel “Float Like a Butterfly - the Sting Project”, and a collection of 1970’s material “Peaceful Easy Feeling”.
Jungr co-adapted and wrote songs and music for Michael Rosen’s Chocolate Cake with director Peter Glanville for Polka Children's Theatre. Liver Birds Flying Home, for which she co-wrote the book and the songs (with Mike Lindup of Level 42) had a 5 week run at Liverpool’s iconic Royal Court Theatre in spring 2018.
In 2016, Barb undertook a sellout Australian tour, playing Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Byron Bay, and the Adelaide and Brisbane Cabaret Festivals. She visited the US several times, appearing as a featured artist in the Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series in NYC, as part of James Gavin’s celebration of Peggy Lee. She also performed at the McCallum Theater in Palm Springs, California as part of Michael Childer’s annual One Night Only gala, this one focusing on the work of Stephen Sondheim with John McDaniel MD. Meanwhile, on US television Barb was interviewed for her own episode of The Kate, a nationally broadcast six-part music and performance series on PBS, presenting ‘bold performers with something to say’. As well as the interview, Barb’s episode featured a filmed live performance of her collaboration with Grammy winning jazz virtuoso Lawrence Hobgood, Shelter from the Storm.
Alongside her solo work, 2016 saw Barb write music and lyrics for Peter Glanville’s new adaptation of Helen Stephens’ How to Hide a Lion, a show for ages 3-6 which ran at Polka Theatre for four months. It transferred to the Oxford Playhouse and the Little Angel Theatre in 2017 and tours the UK in autumn 2018.
With a devoted following in the UK, Barb has also built a major fan base in the USA and earned many awards there for her CDs and performances (Broadway World award for Hard Rain in 2014, the Time Out New York Cabaret Nightlife Award for Outstanding Vocalist and Backstage Award for Best International Artist, to name just a few). The Village Voice opined: “One of the best interpreters of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan anywhere on this angst-ridden planet today.” Time Out New York called Barb “One of the best nightclub singers in the world.” The New York Times said Jungr “is a fearless iconoclast who dives into the deepest waters of popular song to wrest exotic treasure from the ocean floor.” The Wall Street Journal considered her Bob Dylan album Every Grain of Sand, now regarded as a cult classic album, “the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far”.
Barb has worked with many of the finest musicians and composers of the UK. With Mark-Anthony Turnage, she wrote About Water, which she sang at the reopening of the Southbank with the London Sinfonietta. Recently she was a featured artist in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Corby musicians and singers in the Deep Roots Tall Trees project, of which she is artistic director and for which she continues to work.
Barb’s extensive radio and TV appearances in the UK include BBC Radio 4 Start The Week, A Good Read, Saturday Review, Front Row, and Saturday Live. On BBC4 TV she has appeared as an expert on Piaf and Nina Simone and on the singing voice. She was featured in the special Bob Dylan concert filmed at The Barbican Concert Hall for both BBC4 TV and BBC 2. In the USA she is currently featured in an hour-long performance for the nationally shown TV series, The Kate.
“Brings the same creativity for reinterpretation and re-examination that Ella Fitzgerald brought to Cole Porter.” Wall Street Journal.
Barb Jungr's contemporary arrangement of the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen was eighteen months in the making- and here she explains what went into her hard hitting album- "Hard Rain", featuring their political and philosophical songs.Film by Matt Lynch.