CURRENTLY TOURING SHOWS
“a fearless iconoclast who dives into the deepest waters of popular song to wrest exotic treasure from the ocean floor" (New York Times)
“one of the world's great cabaret singers… a genuine original, deploying warmth, high drama and sensitive musicality to reinvent everything she sings” (Time Out New York)
“she makes a point of exploring works of songwriters she admires... and finding meaning and depth the creators may have no idea is there” (Huffington Post)
“truly a marvel, who should not be missed” (Telegraph)
“it’s as if Edith Piaf and Nick Cave had a love-child, who was adopted by Carmen McRae” (Glam Adelaide)
What you might know is that singer, performer and recording artist Barb Jungr is ”mesmerising” (New York Times), ”casually virtuosic” (Guardian), an ”alchemist among jazz singers” (Telegraph), possessing a voice which is “shockingly expressive, with an astonishing palette of colours” (Observer). Across her 40 year career she has been internationally acclaimed for combining immaculate vocal technique, impassioned performance, piercing insight and beautifully unexpected musical arrangements to reinterpret European and American popular songs in a manner which The New York Times described as ”revelatory”.
What you might not know is that as a live performer, Barb Jungr is always funny, and often hilarious. Like, intentionally. Cabaret Scenes described a performance in November 2016 as “the funniest hour of cabaret I’ve ever seen” from a “world-class raconteur”. Originally emerging from the alternative cabaret scene of the 1970s and 80s, and cutting her teeth alongside the likes of Julian Clary, Alexei Sayle and Arnold Brown, her ability to deliver shows which are utterly alive, and spontaneously respond to the world in and outside the performance space, is second to none.
If you are only familiar with Barb’s work from her albums, you simply have to see her perform live. Even the highest quality mp3 in the world won’t tell you what it’s like to be in a room with her and her musicians.
Below are short descriptions of all Barb’s shows available for touring in 2018/19, both in the UK and internationally.
For all of these shows, both in the UK and internationally, Barb is usually accompanied by piano, double bass, percussion, or any combination of these. She collaborates with the very best jazz musicians in the UK and USA. These artists include – on piano Laurence Hobgood and Barry Green; on double bass Dudley Phillips and Davide Mantovani; on percussion Oli Savill and Winston Torres. The exception is the collaboration between Barb and John McDaniel (piano and vocals), which includes their Beatles spectacular Come Together, and their latest show featuring the songs of Sting, Float Like A Butterfly.
These shows are suitable for all sizes of stage and many performance contexts: festivals, concert halls, jazz clubs, theatres, arts centres, cabaret rooms and private / corporate events.
Barb Jungr’s reputation as “one of the world's great cabaret singers” (Time Out New York) may have gone to her head, as she will now only sing songs by writers whose names start with the letter B. But this means she can return to two colossi of popular song, whose writing has helped define her whole career. A good plan, because she is "one of the best interpreters of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan anywhere on this angst-ridden planet today” (Village Voice).
In this brand new collection for 2019, Barb will turn her acclaimed ability at reinvention and reinterpretation to exploring her relationship with a set of Dylan and Brel songs she has never tackled before on stage or on disc, all in original arrangements. They include ‘Les Cœurs tendres’ (The Tender Hearts), ‘Voir un ami pleurer’ (To see a friend break down and cry), ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ and ‘This Wheel’s on Fire’. Placed alongside them will be some of Barb’s own songs, written with a number of wonderful collaborators.
"it’s as if Edith Piaf and Nick Cave had a love-child, who was adopted by Carmen McRae” Glam Adelaide
Any performance of an existing song is a conversation between the writer and the singer, and the conversation between Bob, Brel and Barb is a particularly stimulating one, not least because of the way in which gender informs all of their work. Things could get heated. Uh-oh.
Barb can’t wait to scale the mountainous heights of the work of these two extraordinary writers, navigating its complex emotional terrain and traversing its ravines of love, sadness and anger. Why not slip on your crampons and join her for the climb? Bring your own Kendal mint cake.
”the alchemist among jazz singers… electrifying… the top rank of jazz singers… she is truly a marvel, who should not be missed” The Telegraph
Close your eyes, close the door
You don’t have to worry anymore
I’ll be your baby tonight
from ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’ by Bob Dylan
Barb’s first Dylan collection, Every Grain of Sand, has become a modern classic. Described by The Wall Street Journal in 2013 as “the most significant vocal album of the 21st Century thus far,” and one of the top 10 jazz albums of the year in The Sunday Times and Telegraph. Since then, her terrifying obsession with his work has intensified, leading to a second recorded collection, and to new arrangements of his forensic excavations of human nature becoming a mainstay of her live and recorded repertoire. Given that she won’t stop singing the bloody stuff, it’s fortunate that The New York Times says she can “squeeze more juice out of a Dylan song than just about anybody”.
2016 was a big year for Dylan, or at least for his admirers, seeing him awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This pleased Barb no end, as she has spent years describing him to any audience that would listen as the USA’s equivalent of Shakespeare. So basically the Nobel is all down to her.
This electrifying show brings together the very best of the Dylan material that Barb has perfected over the past 15 years. Songs which are fierce, political, passionate and romantic, performed in a voice which is “shockingly expressive, with an astonishing palette of colours” (Observer). Something which may or may not be true of Dylan’s own vocal technique. But whilst he might not schlep to Scandinavia to collect, this is a songwriter of genius who always delivers.
Barb Jungr performs ‘Sara’ by Bob Dylan, accompanied by Jenny Carr on piano and Simon Wallace on keyboard:
FEATURED SONGS INCLUDE
Tangled Up In Blue; I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right; Not Dark Yet; Forever Young
"one of the best interpreters of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan anywhere on this angst-ridden planet today” (Village Voice)
“except for Dylan himself on a good night, this is the best way to hear his songs.” (Independent on Barb Jungr sings Bob Dylan)
“I just hope that Dylan himself has a listen and starts writing for her direct" (Observer on Every Grain of Sand)
“Jungr approaches the Dylan songbook with a rare degree of intelligence, relishing each line in the manner of a true chansonnière” (MOJO on Every Grain of Sand)
“a quiet revelation” (Times on Every Grain of Sand, 2002)
“she opens up a window of vulnerability and sensuality that previously sat stoic beneath the surface of these songs, and suffuses them with such a delicate, gauzy luminosity that they seem to glow from the inside out” (All Music Guide on Every Grain of Sand)
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth
of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard,
and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall
from ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ by Bob Dylan
Barb Jungr has been described by Billy Bragg as "possibly our greatest interpreter of Dylan's songs". Fortunately, she’s no slouch with Leonard Cohen’s either. In Hard Rain she brings together these two colossal talents, to reinterpret some of their most political and monumental work. With material drawn from her 2014 album of the same name, this is dark, potent and angry stuff, just perfect for a fun night out – get that babysitter booked now. Fortunately, these brilliant writers’ sardonic wit coupled with Barb’s unquenchable life force and freewheeling humour make this a thrilling and cathartic evening. And it’s not only the person writing this copy who thinks so. Both the show and album have been lavished with praise, with the show selling out a three week New York run, and two nights at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2016.
The lyrics of many of the songs in this show are more terrifyingly pertinent than ever. And it’s possible that Dylan and Cohen’s shared gift of prophesy has rubbed off a bit on Barb. Her bleary third eye must have blinked into focus when choosing the title of the evening, as ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ was the song selected by Patti Smith to represent Dylan’s work at his Nobel Prize ceremony in December 2016.
These songs, some of them 50 years old, speak to us urgently about the world we’re living in right now. So chuck the glitter curtain and the chrome bar stool on the fire; this is cabaret which means business.
The making of Hard Rain:
FEATURED SONGS INCLUDE
Blind Willie McTell; Blowin’ in the Wind; Chimes of Freedom; Everybody Knows; First We Take Manhattan; A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
“Barb Jungr interprets [Dylan and Cohen’s] work with a ferocity and truthfulness that demolishes every cover version you’ve ever heard” (New York Times on Hard Rain – live show)
“this music is the North American songbook’s climax, revealed by its greatest interpreter” (Independent on Hard Rain – live show)
"it’s as if Edith Piaf and Nick Cave had a love-child, who was adopted by Carmen McRae” (Glam Adelaide on Hard Rain – live show)
“to give such standards precious new life is quite an achievement” (Uncut on Hard Rain – album)
“it’s more than alright, Ma” (MOJO on Hard Rain – album)
I've heard newborn babies wailing like a mourning dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
“Come in,” she said, “I'll give you shelter from the storm”
from ‘Shelter from the Storm’ by Bob Dylan
In the most jazz-fuelled set of her career, Barb thrillingly reinterprets an eclectic repertoire spanning nearly 70 years of songwriting. These numbers are drawn from the remarkable work of several of the US and UK’s most singular composers and lyricists, reinvented through stunning and imaginative new arrangements from NYC jazz virtuoso and composer Laurence Hobgood, arranger for legendary US vocalist Kurt Elling for 18 years. Barb sheds a piercing new light on songs by artists including Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell, Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein and Bruce Springsteen. So much genre-defining material crammed into one evening, it’ll make your eyes water. And for good measure, the show features three new songs by Barb and Laurence.
Much of the work performed in Shelter from the Storm is drawn from Barb’s 2016 album of the same name, described by Jazz Times as “exquisite” and nominated by Jazzwise as one of the top 10 albums of 2016. Reviewing the album, axs.com wrote “right now, a troubled world needs Barb Jungr to sing it better.” These songs can’t do much to sort out the fine mess we’ve got ourselves into, but they can perhaps offer a sliver of comfort in times which have, to say the least, gone a little bit awry.
Barb Jungr performs ‘Shelter from the Storm’ by Bob Dylan, accompanied by Laurence Hobgood on piano, Davide Mantovani on bass and Oli Savill on percussion:
FEATURED SONGS INCLUDE
All Along the Watchtower (Dylan); Life on Mars? (Bowie); Sisters of Mercy (Cohen); Something’s Coming (Bernstein/Sondheim); What the World Needs Now is Love (Bacharach/David); Woodstock (Mitchell)
“[Barb Jungr] is truly a marvel, who should not be missed ★★★★” (Telegraph on Shelter from the Storm - live)
"Barb Jungr's art makes a grand argument for her being the most innovative singer in jazz since Cassandra Wilson” (All About Jazz on Shelter from the Storm – album)
“what matters is the exquisite quality of the work... its immense value heightened by three superb Jungr-Hobgood originals, including an astute nod to Nina Simone” (Jazz Times on Shelter from the Storm – album)
“Jungr is so supernal at what she does that she transcends any sort of easy categorizing and rises to a uniquely higher plane. Part of the explanation is her ability to delve into songs and find things in them even their manufacturers hadn't realized were there” (Huffington Post on Shelter from the Storm – album)
It’s good fun to show off by yourself, hoovering up all the audience validation to take back to your lonely hotel room after the gig. But every once in a while, attention-seekers need a bit of company, and concede to share the spotlight. Barb is no exception. Over the past couple of years she has combined her solo work with performances as one half of a double act, for the first time since her legendary collaboration with Michael Parker in the 1980s. Teaming up with the horribly gifted John McDaniel, they have worked together to create a couple of very special shows.
When paired with Barb, John is a pianist, singer, arranger and partner in banter. He doesn’t even need to bother employing his vast experience as a conductor, a composer and a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning producer of theatre, albums and television. After a childhood spent putting on shows in the basement of his home in St. Louis, Missouri, his only option was to metamorphose into Mr. Showbusiness. And so it came to pass that he has worked on Broadway as a conductor, musical director, and musical / vocal arranger. He has accompanied stars including Betty Buckley, Tyne Daly, Brooke Shields and Patti LuPone, whose 1995 one-woman show he arranged and conducted. He also spent seven years in living rooms across America as the Musical Director and bandleader on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Barb has contractually forbidden him from mentioning any of those performers to her, either onstage, in the dressing room or on the night bus home.
In their shows together, Barb and John collide British cabaret nous with American musical theatre chutzpah and two phenomenal songbooks, to generate an embarrassment of talent and expertise. These are unique events, so be sure to catch them now. They’re both busy people living on either side of the Atlantic, and really can’t be expected to wait around for you to pull your finger out and get a babysitter sorted.
Barb Jungr: “one of the world's great cabaret singers” (Time Out New York)
John McDaniel: “as nonpareil as they come” (Huffington Post)
“whatever new and surprising direction this collaboration takes, it certainly seems to be a match made in musical heaven” (theaterlife.com)
For all those born beneath an angry star
Lest we forget how fragile we are
from ‘Fragile’ by Sting
In news which might disturb aficionados of the passage of time, Sting has been writing and performing songs for 40 years, and has won 16 Grammys in the process.
The remarkable body of work he has created over that period has encompassed and intermingled an unexpectedly diverse collection of genres, styles and influences. Included amongst these from the very start is jazz, which has formed an integral part of Sting’s musical life since he was Gordon Sumner from Wallsend. More recently, his musical explorations have taken him to Broadway. This was all the encouragement that Barb and John needed to bring their combined prowess in jazz, musical theatre and cabaret to bear on his work. For the time being, they’ve chosen to forget about his expertise in Elizabethan art song.
In this brand new show, Barb and John apply their skills for reinvention to Sting’s staggeringly hit-laden songbook. In John’s transformative new arrangements for voice and piano, developed closely with Barb, they perform work from Sting’s time as both a member of The Police and a solo artist, during which he has combined huge commercial success with continual risk-taking and experimentation. On top of that, Barb will offer a fascinating elucidation on the pros and (mainly) cons of having sex in a wheat field.
An album of songs from Float Like a Butterfly will be released worldwide in May 2018, on Kristalyn.
Barb Jungr and John McDaniel perform ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’ by Sting:
FEATURED SONGS INCLUDE
Englishman in New York; Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; Fields of Gold; Fragile; King of Pain; Roxanne
“Jungr and McDaniel led us though old lyrics they give new, pensive, thoughtful life” (theaterpizzazz.com)
“singing the Sting repertoire, from the politics of ‘Russians’ to the heartbreak of ‘Roxanne’, gives Jungr the opportunity to display the huge breadth of her emotional and vocal capabilities… a truly inspired selection of songs” (theaterlife.com)