Barbara Kooyman

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Barbara K.
Genres Folk rock, Americana, folk, alternative country
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1984–present
Associated acts Timbuk3, Sparrows Wheel, Richard Bowden
Website Official Website

Barbara Kooyman (also known as by her stage name Barbara K and formerly Barbara K. MacDonald[1]) (born October 4, 1958 in Wausau, Wisconsin) is an American singer-songwriter based in Austin, Texas. In the 1980s, she, her then-husband Pat MacDonald, and a beat box formed the recording act Timbuk3 whose 1986 signature song was "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades".[2] The duo did road work with Bob Dylan, Sting, and Jackson Browne.[3] They once appeared on Saturday Night Live[4] and were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987.[5]

After divorcing MacDonald in 1995, Kooyman remained in Austin, raising the couple's son, taking the name Barbara K, and pursuing a solo career. She became entrenched in the city's rich musical community and recorded three solo albums, two of which featured her original songs and one filled with her own interpretations of the songs of Timbuk3 (all three albums released on her own label Sparrows Wheel).[citation needed]

As an independent recording artist, Kooyman saw a need in the music industry for strengthening alliances between artists and media outlets. She and co-founders Wolfgang Pracht and Ben Bright conceived and created Artists For Media Diversity, or A4MD.[2][3] The 501(c)(3) charitable organization was formed to protect freedom of speech through the funding of services for alternative non-commercial media sources, to foster independent media voices, and to promote musical and cultural diversity.[6]

One of the projects the organization has underway for empowering independent artists and community radio stations is a live music archive that artists and stations can contribute live performance tracks and from which other stations can access recordings for their own broadcast purposes.[citation needed]

Kooyman's work, both musical and organizational, is rooted in social activism and responsibility.[citation needed] After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Barbara K and Wolfgang Pracht wrote a reflection on the ominous environmental implications of such a disaster: "Swimming In Blackwater." The video features Kooyman and her frequent musical collaborator Richard Bowden.[7]

Album discography[edit]

  • Ready (2000)
  • Undercover, The Songs of Timbuk3 (2005)
  • Ghosts and Sparrows, Relative Truth (2005)

Timbuk3 album discography[edit]

  • Greetings From Timbuk3 (1986) Billboard Hot 100 No. 19, UK Album Charts No. 21
  • Eden Alley (1988)
  • Edge of Allegiance (1989)
  • Big Shot In The Dark (1991)
  • Some Of The Best Of Timbuk3: Field Guide (1992)
  • Espace Ornano (1993) their only live album, recorded at Espace Ornano, Paris, France November 1991
  • Looks Like Dark To Me (1994) 6-track EP
  • A Hundred Lovers (1995)


  1. ^ Mike Boehm (December 12, 1991). "Timbuk3 Goes Back to the 'Future' : Pat and Barbara K MacDonald Return With More Wry Musings on the American Mood". LA Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Margaret Moser (February 23, 2007). "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades - Barbara Kooyman leverages Timbuk 3 for". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Barbara Kooyman". a4md. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Barbara is one of the founders of Artists For Media Diversity, an organization that empowers artists with an opportunity to provide renewable, sustainable support for community radio stations... her band Timbuk3...supporting acts for Bob Dylan, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and others 
  4. ^ "Saturday Night Live – John Larroquette/Timbuk-3". Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Veterans top Grammy nominations". The Herald. The McClatchy Company. January 8, 1987. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  6. ^ "About Artists for Media Diversity". a4md. Archived from the original on March 17, 2010. Artists for Media Diversity (A4MD), a Texas based nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization, is organized to foster awareness of the need for independent media voices in America, to provide assistance to emerging community-based or public media outlets and to promote musical and cultural diversity. 
  7. ^ Swimming In Blackwater. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 

External links[edit]