British Cabaret Singer Reinventing American Classics
A British cabaret singer's new act aims to teach that great American songwriting did not end in the 1930s. NY1’s Stephanie Simon filed the following report.
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British cabaret singer Barb Jungr is trying to re-write the great American song book, or at least update it beyond the likes of George Gershwin and Cole Porter.
“Well the American songbook is a fantastic, fantastic thing, and a lot of people think it finishes in the 1940s, 1950s, and I think it goes way on to now,” she says. “So I include Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and Carole King.
Jungr is playing this week at the Metropolitan Room on West 22nd Street. She also has a new CD called “The Men I Love.” Among those men is Bruce Springsteen. During a rehearsal, Jungr did her version of “The River.”
“I think it's like a whole life story and you see their entire lives in front of you,” Jungr says of the song. “And then, of course, he does that thing that is so brilliant, which is that the makes it deeply personal.”
Jungr says she's not surprised rock ‘n’ roll is often ignored in the cabaret scene, because Springsteen and Dylan are out there performing their music. But Jungr insists classics can always be covered in new ways.
She adds Springsteen and other rock stars she covers are brilliant lyricists, but perhaps not everyone has listened closely to the words.
“There is an awful lot of rhythm going on and your dancing around and maybe you’re not really listening to it the way you do when you strip everything away,” she says. “And that stripping away process and then rebuilding for me, allows me to hear the song differently.”
Jungr is definitely no stranger to American music. In fact she grew up listening to it.
“African-American soul music, that's what we listened to,” Jungr says. “In clubs in Manchester, that's what we were listening to. So that was in a way my formative popular material.”
Today Jungr is helping to write a new chapter in American popular music.
For more information on Jungr's performances, go to metropolitanroom.com.