Barb Jungr

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Barb Jungr
Birth nameBarb Jungr
Born (1954-05-09) 9 May 1954 (age 64)
Rochdale, Lancashire, England, UK
GenresCabaret, jazz, blues, soul
Occupation(s)Singer, writer
LabelsLinn Records, Naim
WebsiteOfficial website

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,[1] Jacques Brel, The Beatles[2] and, most recently, Sting.[3] 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.[4]

Early life[edit]

Barb Jungr was born in Rochdale, Lancashire[5] to immigrant parents. Her father was Miroslav Jungr, a Czech scientist; her mother, Ingrid, was a German nurse. The eldest of three siblings, Barb grew up in Stockport, Cheshire, where she attended Stockport Convent School for Girls, before earning a BSc from Leeds University. Miroslav Jungr came to Britain as a refugee after the Second World War and after incarceration in the German Work Camps.[6]

The mid-'1970s and the alternative cabaret circuit[edit]

First 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 subsequently became 'Dusa Fish Stas and Vi'.[7] Jungr's first single was "He's Gone", as the Stroke,[8] released by CBS records, was single of the week in the NME and was written and recorded with her then husband Dan Bowling.

Barb then formed the Three Courgettes with Michael Parker and Jerry Kreeger, and busked new wave versions of gospel classics in the Kings Road and Portobello Market in the late 1970s, where the band were discovered by Island Records, subsequently touring with Kid Creole and the Coconuts and all manner of other acts (Sade, Mari Wilson, the Jets).[9] The Three Courgettes recorded a special Christmas track for Michael Zilkha's A Christmas Record.

She then formed the duo Jungr and Parker with blues guitarist and R&B aficionado Michael Parker. For 13 years they performed internationally and were regularly seen and heard on British television and radio. They had their own BBC Radio 2 series We Stayed In With ... Jungr and Parker[10] with specials recorded at the Edinburgh Festival, produced by Sonia Beldom.[11] Jungr and Parker toured extensively with Alexei Sayle and Arnold Brown (with whom they won a Perrier Award in Edinburgh in 1987 at the Gilded Balloon Theatre[12]) 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. Barb composed and performed the theme songs for three of his national TV programmes, including Mr and Mrs (with composer and co-writer James Tomalin), and co-produced Clary's single "Wanderin' Star", as well as several other tracks.[13]


Jungr and Parker released six albums of largely self-written material, with a vinyl release compilation of early songs for Billy Bragg's Utility Label.[14] Jungr subsequently played harmonica on Bragg's album Workers' Playtime.[15] In 1991 Jungr and Parker performed in a Festival of European music in Sudan, funded by the British Council. The success of that trip lead 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[16] and in 1994 enrolled in a Masters at Goldsmith's College in Ethnomusicology for which she received a Distinction. She specialised in the Voice and Singing.[17] about which she has consequently written and spoken.[18][19] During that time Jungr began to embark on solo shows accompanied by Russell Churney, and broke into a new solo career with the release on the Irregular Label of the CD, Bare which was recorded in a day, live at the Conway Hall with the support of Overtones Studios.[20]

In the early 1990s Jungr developed the themed shows that 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 and toured extensively.[21] In 1998 she toured the show Sex, Religion and Politics, directed by Julia Pascal, appearing at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival (produced by Julius Green and Ian Lenagan and Pluto Productions). With composer James Tomalin she contributed a track, "Jackie", to Irregular Records' Jacques Brel compilation CD, and the Fear of a Red Planet CD.[22]

In 1999 Jungr was invited to record for Glasgow based Linn Records, releasing Chanson: The Space in Between in 2000, centred around a series of new English translations of classic French chansons. In 2002, she released Every Grain of Sand, an album of new arrangements of Bob Dylan’s songs, followed by Waterloo Sunset in 2003.[23] Appearing in a New York season at the Flea Theatre in 2002 she was awarded the Backstage Bistro Award in New York in 2003 for Best International Artist.[24] 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 a commissioned piece About Water at Queen Elizabeth Hall to celebrate the reopening of the Festival Hall.[25] In 2008 Jungr released Just Like a Woman – Hymn to Nina, featuring the repertoire of Nina Simone, and was awarded a Nightlife Award in New York in 2008 for "Outstanding Cabaret Vocalist".[26] In March 2010 NaimLabel released The Men I Love – The New American Songbook and performed a second season at the Cafe Carlyle in the Carlyle Hotel, New York. In spring 2010 Jungr released a follow-up to her cult Dylan album in May 2011 on Linn Records – Man in the Long Black Coat: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan.[23] In 2012 she released Stockport to Memphis, again on the Naim Jazz label, including self-penned and autobiographical material among her now highly acclaimed deconstructions of classic songs.[27]

In March 2014 Jungr released Hard Rain: the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen on Kristalyn Records, and toured the UK, with a season in New York's 59E59 Theater in November. The album won the Best Cabaret CD Award from[28]

Other collaborations include composer Jonathan Cooper on his "Moon Behind the Clouds" song cycle,[29] the cabaret show Girl Talk with Mari Wilson and Claire Martin, and Gwyneth Herbert which toured intermittently for 10 years [30] and the trio Durga Rising with the Southall-based tabla player Kuljit Bhamra and pianist Russell Churney, the CD of which was released on Keda Records and re-released in 2011.

During 2015, her collaborations included performances and recordings with US Emmy award-winning composer-arranger and musical director John McDaniel, of Beatles songs, on both sides of the Atlantic.[2]

Since 2015, Barb has also recorded and toured on both sides of the Atlantic with the Grammy award-winning US contemporary progressive pianist, Laurence Hobgood, with whom she recorded a new Linn-released collection Shelter from the Storm (released 19 February 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.[31]

In early 2016, Jungr was a featured artist in James Gavin’s Lincoln Center songbook series celebrating Peggy Lee.[32]

In 2017 Linn Records re-released the CD of Jungr’s 2002 release Every Grain of Sand,[33] naming it a “cult classic” and released it also on vinyl for the first time. Jungr toured to support the release in the UK[34] and in Berlin.[35] Every Grain of Sand has a chapter devoted to Jungr’s Dylan work in Will Friedwald’s book The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums.[36]

In 2018 Jungr tours with McDaniel again performing the songs of Sting, which premiered in New York in June 2017.[37]

Writing (theatre, essays, books)[edit]

Writing – musical theatre[edit]

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[38]

The Jungle Book (lyricist) – Birmingham Stage Company, toured again 2011/12[39]

The Fabulous Flutterbys (2010) – (book, composer and lyricist), Produced by the Little Angel Puppet Theatre in Spring 2010[40]

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.[41] It is the Christmas show at The Manchester Royal Exchange Studio December 2017[42] and then went on to run for several weeks at The Little Angel in Islington, London.[43]

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.[44]

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.[45]

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.[46] The musical completed a 4-week run at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre in April 2018, directed by Benji Sperring.[47]

In 2018 Jungr toured with McDaniel again performing the songs of Sting, which premiered in New York in June 2017.[37] 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.[48] The show went on to Bar jeer Vernunft in Berlin.[49]

Publications – essays, books and articles[edit]

Once upon a time in America - Barb Jungr's tour diary[50]

Essay in The New Statesman to celebrate Bob Dylan's birthday, May 2012, "Beyond The Horizon"[51]

Essay in Spiked Online - “The new insulting c-word: Cabaret” Dec 2012[52]

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[53]

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)[54]

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[55]

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[56]

Major contributor of features and columns to The Singer - Rheingold Publications - 1996 - 2009.

Theatre, film and TV performances[edit]

Jungr acted in British director Robina Rose's film Nightshift, playing the bar girl.[57] 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.[24]

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),[10] 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" ),[58] 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.[59][60][61]

Community and other work[edit]

Barb Jungr coached the young offenders in vocal delivery for Brian Hill's Bafta-winning film Feltham Sings.[62] 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.[63] In 2012 she created the song cycle 'Deep Roots Tall Trees' for the Core Theatre at Corby, with local musicians, songwriters and poets.[64] In 2012 she created the song cycle "Deep Roots Tall Trees" for the Core Theatre at Corby, with local musicians, songwriters and poets.[14] 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.[65]

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.[66]

Personal life[edit]

Barb Jungr lives in London. She was married to musician and writer Richard "Dan" Bowling from 1981 to 1991.


Solo albums[edit]

  • 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

Albums with Michael Parker[edit]

  • 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

Other albums[edit]


  1. ^ "Interview: Barb Jungr on Interpreting Songs of Dylan and Cohen". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  2. ^ a b Stephen Holden (14 January 2016). "Review: Barb Jungr Applies Her Emphatic Voice to the Beatles' Music". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Float Like a Butterfly ***** – theaterlife". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  4. ^ "Barb Jungr - Exeunt Magazine". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  5. ^ Celebrities of the year: From the most boring to the most talented Archived 8 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Barb Jungr in Conversation with Nick Hasted,, 3 October 2012; accessed 10 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Pam Gems Biography (1925-)".
  8. ^ "He's Gone". Music Stack. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Three Courgettes". Songkick.
  10. ^ a b "TV & Radio Listings". TVRDB.
  11. ^ "Genome". BBC.
  12. ^ 1987 Winner – Brown Blues: Arnold Brown with Barb Jungr & Michael Parker Archived 29 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Julian Clary - Wandrin' Star". Discogs.
  14. ^ "Barb Jungr on iTunes". iTunes UK.
  15. ^ "Billy Bragg - Workers Playtime". Discogs.
  16. ^ "Barb Jungr : Booking Info".
  17. ^ "Leeds Alumni". Leeds University.
  18. ^ "Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians". Jazz. Archived from the original on 21 February 2016.
  19. ^ "British Musicological Societies' Conference 1999". Golden Pages. Archived from the original on 26 November 2011.
  20. ^ "Bare - Barb Jungr - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  21. ^ "Through a valley of tears and laughter". Herald Scotland. 5 August 1992.
  22. ^ "Irregular Records Catalogue". Irregular Records.
  23. ^ a b "Linn Records". Linn Records.
  24. ^ a b The Bistro Awards Archived 4 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Ivan Hewett, "How hecklers created harmony", The Telegraph, 7 June 2007.
  26. ^ 2008 Nightlife award winners announced Archived 16 February 2013 at
  27. ^ John Eyles, "Barb Jungr: Stockport to Memphis", AllAboutJazz, 24 October 2012.
  28. ^ Hanks, Stephen. "BWW 2014 NY Cabaret Awards News: Oberlin, Harkness, Jungr, deRoy, and Schalchlin To Be Honored With Special 'Editor's Awards' at Joe's Pub Show on 2/23".
  29. ^ "The Moon Behind the Clouds". Jonathan Cooper.
  30. ^ "Girl Talk". Linn Records.
  31. ^ "Recording Shelter". Linn Records.
  32. ^ "Is That All There Is? Remembering Peggy Lee hosted by James Gavin, featuring Jane Monheit, Nellie McKay & others". American Songbook.
  33. ^ "Linn Records - Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan (Fifteenth Anniversary Edition)". Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  34. ^ "CD REVIEW: Barb Jungr - Every Grain of Sand: Barb Jungr sings Bob Dylan ". Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  35. ^ "Barb Jungr: Barb Jungr sings Bob Dylan". Berlin Bühnen. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  36. ^ Friedwald, Will (2017-10-24). The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums. Pantheon Books. ISBN 9780307379078.
  37. ^ "Barb Jungr, Float Like a Butterfly: The Sting Project, Joe's Pub - Will's New York Nite Life - Citiview Travel Guide". Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  38. ^ "The Ballad of Norah's Ark – Billingham Players".
  39. ^, Feast Creative. "Page Not Found 404 - Birmingham Stage Company".
  40. ^ Billington, Michael (16 May 2010). "The Fabulous Flutterbys - Theatre review". the Guardian.
  41. ^ "How to Hide a Lion - Polka Theatre".
  42. ^ "HOW TO HIDE A LION - Royal Exchange Theatre". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  43. ^ Wiegand, Chris (2018-03-05). "The Singing Mermaid review – Julia Donaldson's fishy caper makes a splash". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  44. ^ "Two world premieres coming to Northampton". Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  45. ^ "Michael Rosen's Chocolate Cake - Polka Theatre". Polka Theatre. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  46. ^ admin. "Review: Liver Birds Flying Home at the Epstein Theatre | Good News Liverpool". Retrieved 2017-06-09.
  47. ^ admin. "Liver Birds Flying Home to the Royal Court | Good News Liverpool". Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  48. ^ "Barb Jungr & John McDaniel: 1968: Let the Sun Shine In". Cabaret Scenes. 2018-07-28. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  49. ^ BAR JEDER VERNUNFT Theater (2018-08-29), BAR JEDER VERNUNFT - Barb Jungr (Trailer), retrieved 2018-09-10
  50. ^ "[current-page:page-title]". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  51. ^ "[current-page:page-title]". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  52. ^ "The new insulting c-word: cabaret". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  53. ^ "Why are pop singers so samey and sexless?". Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  54. ^ Clayson, Alan; Johnson, Robb; Jungr, Barb (2004-04-01). WOMAN : The Incredible Life of Yoko Ono (First Edition, First Impression ed.). New Malden: Chrome Dreams. ISBN 9781842402207.
  55. ^ Moore, Allan (2003-04-01). [The Cambridge Companion to Blues and Gospel Music]. CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS.
  56. ^ Johnstone, Rob (2006-09-07). JOHN LYDON : Stories of Johnny: Stories of Johnny - A Compendium of Thoughts on the Icon of an Era (1st ed.). New Malden; Chicago: CHROME DREAMS. ISBN 9781842403600.
  57. ^ Nightshift -BFI
  58. ^ "Artist Biographies: Barb Jungr". Jazz Review.
  59. ^ "Saturday Live". BBC.
  60. ^ "A Good Read". BBC.
  61. ^ "Saturday Review". BBC.
  62. ^ "Barb Jungr". Rochdale Online.
  63. ^ "Raise the Roof". Raise the Roof Singers. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016.
  64. ^ "Rosalind Stoddart".
  65. ^ "Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to play at Corby Town's Steel Park ground".
  66. ^ "PICTURES: Dreaming Our Woods, Corby". Retrieved 2017-05-15.

External links[edit]