Performer, writer, composer, and lyricist Barb Jungr has been critically lauded for her insightful and passionate interpretive style, described as “revelatory” by the New York Times. 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. 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. Her powerful singing style reaches across musical boundaries and defies easy categorization. She defies categorization. As Glam Adelaide recently quipped about her:
“It’s as if Edith Piaf and Nick Cave had a lovechild who was adopted by Carmen McCrae.”
In the late spring of 2021, Barb premiered a new collection of songs: Forgetful Heart: Dylan and Cohen and Love, bringing her back once again to the work of her great loves, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. This 5- and 4-star reviewed repertoire features songs Jungr had never sung before, including “Famous Blue Raincoat” and “Forgetful Heart,” both of which were released as singles in 2021.
“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”
★ ★ ★ ★ The Telegraph
During the pandemic lockdown of 2020, Barb released two remotely recorded singles, “Dancing In the Dark” and, in collaboration with The Fourth Choir, “In My Troubled Days.” She also co-wrote an original film for The Little Angel Theatre online and released the Christmas single theme song, “Mother Christmas Saves the Day.”
Adding to her growing body of work as a lyricist and composer, she had two Christmas shows running in December 2021 - The Pixie and the Pudding at Sheffield Crucible Theatre and an adaptation of Piers Torday's There May Be a Castle at The Little Angel Theatre in London, which she co-adapted and for which she wrote all songs and music. In May 2021, The Smartest Giant in Town, co-adapted by Jungr with Samantha Lane and with songs and music by Jungr, premiered at The Little Angel Theatre. It tours the UK in spring 2022. In 2018 Jungr co-adapted and wrote songs and music for Michael Rosen’s Chocolate Cake with director Peter Glanville for Polka Children's Theatre, alongside which she co-wrote (with Mike Lindup of Level 42) the book and the songs of Liver Birds Flying Home, which ran for five weeks at Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre in spring 2018. How to Hide a Lion, on which she collaborated again with Peter Glanville and wrote the songs and music, toured the UK in autumn 2018 and opens again in spring 2022. For The Little Angel Theatre she co-adapted The Singing Mermaid with director Samantha Lane and wrote the songs and music; the show ran in the Christmas season in 2018 at Sheffield Crucible Theatre and subsequently toured the UK. It opens again in 2022. (See more writing and musical theatre).
Her most recent CD collection, Bob, Brel, and Me, was released worldwide on Kristalyn/Absolute in September 2019 followed by a national tour throughout autumn 2019 and into spring and autumn 2020. In Bob, Brel, and Me, Jungr explored new translations of Jacques Brel classics and presented previously untranslated works, alongside new arrangements of Dylan songs and new material of her own. The eagerly awaited collection received 4- and 5-star reviews in concert and on CD.
“Although it has been true of her albums for many years now, it is worth emphasising that there is not one track here that does not match up to the high standards Jungr sets for herself and her fellow musicians.”
All About Jazz ★ ★ ★ ★ and a half
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.
“Brings the same creativity for reinterpretation and re-examination that Ella Fitzgerald brought to Cole Porter.”
Wall Street Journal
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’s collaboration with John McDaniel 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. Her powerful singing style reaches across musical boundaries and defies easy categorization.
Starting out as a singer and performer on the alternative cabaret circuit, Barb earned numerous plaudits, including a then-legendary Perrier Award. 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.”
Born in Rochdale to Czech and German parents, Barb played the violin and mandolin at an early age. She sang in folk clubs at school and in jazz and blues bands at college and then in London. Her recording career began at CBS in the late 1970s. She subsequently toured with Kid Creole (in The Three Courgettes); teamed with Michael Parker, she supported Alexie Sayle and Julian Clary, among others. Over four decades, she has never ceased performing live, locally and internationally, as well as appearing regularly on radio and television.
“Every Grain of Sand is …the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far”
The Wall Street Journal
In 2017 and 2018 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 major cities in the USA premiering three new collections with John McDaniel: Sting’s repertoire in Float Like a Butterfly - the Songs of Sting, which is now released as a CD on Kristalyn records; Peaceful Easy Feeling, a collection of 1970s material; and Let The Sun Shine In, a celebration of the songs of 1968.
“One of the best interpreters of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan anywhere on this angst-ridden planet today.”
The Village Voice
Barb has toured Australia several times and has appeared regularly in Berlin, and at The Halle Women in Music festival in 2019.
“One of the world’s great cabaret singers.”
Time Out New York
She 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. She was the featured artist in a major collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Corby musicians and singers in the Deep Roots Tall Trees project, for which she was artistic director for seven years.Extensive radio and TV appearances in the UK include BBC Radio 4 Start The Week, A Good Read, Saturday Live, and Front Row. She is a frequent contributor to Radio 4’s flagship arts programme, Saturday Review. 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 Barb Jungr was featured in an hour-long performance for the nationally shown TV series, The Kate, an arts series on US national PBS, presenting "bold performers with something to say.”
“(she) is a fearless iconoclast who dives into the deepest waters of popular song to wrest exotic treasure from the ocean floor.”
The New York Times