Sunday, 4 March 2018

John and I Barb Sting the UK, Ernest Hecht leaves us and spring is on the air

Hi Sunday folk,
as I'm writing on a Sunday afternoon with clouds of varied grey outside over the tall buildings and the trees still bare of leaves, but a sense of spring at last after the hideous Siberian snow and ice of the last week.

The waterfall couldn't cope!
Last week John McDaniel and I finished our teeny UK tour, with dates all over the country, and we had such a wonderful time in Delph at the new Millgate Theatre, Newbury Corn Exchange, The Pheasantry, the Core in Corby and Annie's Jazz in Southend.

Johan and I after the Millgate show in Delph last weekend - before the snow came!!
We recorded the Sting material for the Float Like A Butterfly album which will come out now late June, 29th, on Kristalyn, and we did a bunch of photos for our project which will go to Joe's Pub in July, 1968 - Let The Sunshine in, and for the Sting project. We were on Jazz FM live in session which was lovely and you can hear that, here

feel free to share that, it was recorded at 9.30 in the morning, which is only marginally better than the TV we did at 7 in the morning in St Louis and which is here

We had a wonderful time. Which was good because alongside that was the loss of my friend, the great and legendary publisher Ernest Hecht OBE. Ernest was my rock; adviser and mentor, friend and confidante, and I am wondering how a world without him will be. Here's a beautiful obituary of him and his extraordinary life and achievements by the journalist Liz Thomson.

Ernest was a truly great man, with all the foibles and wonder that such an epithet suggests, and I am very proud to say that we were friends.

With Ernest at the party to celebrate his OBE, Anne Dolomore and Liz Thomson to his  right.
And now to the future. Polka Children's Theatre is my current home as we rehearse and record the music for the fabulous Chocolate Cake, which I've worked on with friend, director and Polka's artistic director Peter Glanville. There's a wonderful, talented cast and the piece is based on the fabulous Michael Rosen's poems.

It opens in March and tours throughout the year. Come see it with your 4 year olds and more. The design and lighting are gorgeous and as always its a privilege to work in such a creative and lovely team of really nice people.

And alongside that there are some great gigs coming up at POW Thanet with Jenny Carr and Julie Walkington, in Broadstairs this coming Thursday 8th March

and on Friday for International Women's Day I'll be with Jenny Carr singing a little pot pourri called Barb, Bob and Brel - the clue's in the title there, at Stoke Newington Church for Blow The Fuse on a double bill with these great musicians Deirdre Cartwright, Alison Rayner and Louise Elliott.

On March 18th I'm thrilled to reunite with the brilliant Simon Wallace on piano and Davide Mantovani on bass to sing Hard Rain the Songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen again at the fabulous 606 Jazz Club in Chelsea. Its such a great venue and such a great vibe down there. You can eat and the food's good too.

And finally, on March 18th tune into Elaine Paige if you want to hear one of Mike Lindup (legendary Level 42 keyboardist, writer and vocalist) and my song from Liver Birds Flying Home which opens in April at The Royal Court Liverpool. Thats a heads up right there.

See you at one of the shows, I hope.

And Happy Spring - I think.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

January New York, Florida, Austin, St Louis and Chicago and more coming! Part 1!The

Just back from a superb 2 weeks travelling the length and breadth of the USA with the wonderful John McDaniel.

John and Barb touring January 2018

Just saw a review of our St Louis show, her, by Chuck Lavazzi,

which was lovely, and a blog post about our show in New York, here

by one time editor of Opera News, Brian Kellow. So we're buzzing.

New York was cold but the show was warm, with great friends joining us

The crowd of friends and family at 54 Below January 2018
and a rave response to the new Sting material that we'll be launching in the UK at The Pheasantry on the King's Road on the 15th, 16th and 17th of February. All the UK our details are here

And I fell in love with a little staffie my friends Jane and Luka were fostering, and she stole my heart - here's me in my jim jams and little Minni Moo in a love fest.

Minni Moo and I in a love fest
John and I flew from the cold and went to Miami - I was blown away by the architecture. I've always been a sucker for art deco, and there's so much to enjoy there. Here's a small taste of some of the beautiful buildings we saw.

The birds on the beach Miami

We went from there to Ocean Reef which is like the edge of paradise. Spotted a huge green iguana there, too. That makes everything work while.

The reef at dusk

Palm trees do it every time

Tropical gardens

The mangroves

Hello there Iguana
 And then we were off to Austin Texas which was a treat, Stuart Moulton of Austin Cabaret took us to a fine taco fast food joint, with veggie options. Heaven. From there to John's home town of St Louis, where we saw the famous Arch by night from Kemoll's restaurant.

The St Louis Arch by the Mighty Mississippi at night.
And appeared on Fox2 morning show with interview and a teeny tiny song -

And from there to our January and US stretch end in Chicago. I'd never been there before. The wind comes off the enormous lake the size of a sea, and takes your skin off its so cold. But somehow it doesn't matter. And we managed to walk the famed Pier and also go up the Sears Tower to catch some views - here -

before I headed back to the UK for what will be stage 2. The UK leg of this winter tour of Sting and The Beatles via Barb and John. So I'll leave you with Chicago from the 90th floor and hope to see you at one of the UK shows in Corby, Southend, London (3 nights), Newbury and Delph near Saddleworth and once again all dates are here

So goodnight for now and see you in London!

On the Navy Pier, Chicago.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Mermaids Lions and Liver Birds

Spent nearly a week in Northampton working with a wonderful team of people and performers to premiere our stage vision and version of Julia Donaldson's great children's book, The Singing Mermaid. Our mermaid is a puppet, one of many in the show made by Lyndie Wright of The Little Angel Theatre. Our premier was on Saturday and the show runs till mid January at The Royal and Derngate Theatre in the beautiful market town of Northampton. I even liked the Travel Lodge there, our temporary home. This is a magical piece and we are all proud of it, watching the children absorb it on saturday was a treat.

for tickets. Its for children under 7 but there are all ages there. Couldn't be prouder of it and our circus family.

Next its up to Manchester to open How To Hide a Lion at The Royal Exchange there for Christmas. We made this for Polka Theatre for Christmas 2016 and it tours later next year in 2018. Its a gorgeous show and I cannot wait to see how people like it in my old home city.

for tickets and information. And here's the promo video.

And at last tickets are on sale for Liver Birds Flying Home which opens in April of next year.

Meanwhile I have some singing to do - all the January US dates are now up on my website here

See you somewhere soon! Happy season of wonderful.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Michael Parker has left the building - Honouring a great musician and friend.

For many years I toured with Michael Parker, both in the Three Courgettes, here's a couple of tracks, one we made for Island Records and the other for the Ze Christmas Album.

We had our photos taken for The Face by the legendary Sheila Rock - here we are in that session super cool and extraordinarily young!

and then as the duo Jungr and Parker. There's a smashing obituary of him in We Are Cult, here.

They've kindly included links to some sound links but my favourite is the song we write together, "No One Else Could Ever Wear Your Shoes", here

There's some things on iTunes - Blue Devils one of our classic collections including The Launderettes Song and in the next couple of months I will put some more of our old back catalogue up.

And there was another nice obituary here

Michael and I travelled all over Africa together giving concerts and workshops for The Britotsh Council in the early 1990s.

Michael and I in El Obeid, Sudan.

We toured with Julian Clary

Julian Clary, me and Michael Parker in the Joan Collins Fan Club days.

and Alexie Sayle and won a Perrier Award in Edinburgh with Arnold Brown. I can say hand on heart working with Michael was like taking a degree in music, he taught everyone who worked with him so much, largely through his own enthusiasm and love of and for, music and musicians.  And he was funny and a great asset to any tour bus!

And all of it comes Right Out of The Blue, always, so here's a Jungr and Parker track with that very title!

He will be sadly missed but his family, friends and everyone who was lucky enough to have had him in their lives.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

old tracks surface on youtube soul boys and lovers of camp come all ye

So finding old things I don't even have copied of is a wonderful thing, thank you you tube and fans. There's this, which was released 1983! 1983? I can barely remember it. I mustve been there I guess, because I know I wrote this and remember recording it in the middle of the night, when we could get free studios down time in the big studios all over London. Thank you friendly engineer friends! Funnily I feel the lyric of this as acutely as the day I wrote it.

Then there's this. One of the first things my then husband and I recorded. Noteworthy also because I played the bass, wrote it and we recorded it in the bacon factory.

And a day wouldn't be a day without sharing a bit of the work we all did with Julian Clary. So here's Mincing Machine and there I am with very short hair indeed. And alot younger.

So thats today's sharing.

I've been remiss about blogging, but thats all changing.

More to come!

Postscript - Very saddened to read of the passing of NY cabaret favourite Barry Z who interviewed me for his channel in 2007. Its here, and I want to say thank you, Barry, for all you did for all of us, and for your enthusiasm and madcap craziness, which everyone loved.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sting, Beatles New York City, Liver Birds and more

New York is full of sunshine. I'm at my great friend Jane's house after a few days at John's in the sunshine working on the new material. Ran every day there down to the beach and back up the 200 stairs up the cliff to John's. Then a little rest in the sun.....

The beach walk was always glorious. Its on the Long Island Sound, and the air is fresh and clear.

Wading River Beach front
Then to the city, simmering in the summer sunshine.

And back to the fabulous Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre in downtown NYC for the opening of a new collection John McDaniel and I have been cooking, looking at the work of the prolific and in my view, underrated, Sting, or Gordon Sumner as he was. We opened last week and go a 5 star review straight away in which is pretty wonderful. Its here -

And luckily we managed to get a little bit of video from the first night. Here's a snippet of Roxanne from Float Like a Butterfly - The Sting Project.

Today I managed to get an appointment with The Best Bodyworker in NYC George Russell, and of you are here and have anything body related to check on he's your man.

He's coming to see the show this week - we have 2 more of the shows at Joe's, Tuesday and Thursday.
Tickets are here

and here's a snippet of King of Pain from the show -

Then we are off to The Kate Theatre in Connecticut to sing the Beatles show Come Together, again.

and then to Razz Room at New Hope.

Earl Dax who does our US bookings did a beautiful photo thing for us to celebrate working together again.

Must not forget the end of May Lover Birds Flying Home musical showcase, which I've been working on with the wonderful Mike Lindup from level 42, and George Seaton and James Seabright. Have written the story, too. Really had fun doing that with George and Linda. So we all trooped to Liverpool and put a showcase on to a packed house at the Epstein Theatre, with total standing ovation as a response. Now we have to do some more work on it and hopeful we can open next year. Watch this space. Here's a beautiful photo John Hollingsworth took at the tech rehearsal.

John Hollingsworth's fab photo in Liver Birds Flying Home rehearsals in Liverpool

And thats the week (and a bit of May!) in short. More sooner than later this time, I haven't done any writing for a while and I feel some coming on. Till then, happy summer wherever you are.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

spring tour Dylan on the road again things I've seen and am reading

Out on the road again with Jenny Carr on keys and sometimes also Dudley Phillips on bass to celebrate the release of the re-issued CD and newly available vinyl of Every Grain of Sand, the album I made for Linn Records in 2002, now 15 years ago - time flies, I guess.

Am singing this on the road -

Berlin press spotted by our friend and host, esteemed theatre and opera director Robert Chevara on the metro, he took a photo of it.

Die interpreter has given alot of food for comment on Facebook

So the dressing room selfie series is back again in full swing. Here's one from Northampton, of all 3 of us.

Jenny, Dudley and I in our stage togs ready to go get 'em

And I forgot to take one at Milton Keynes where the dressing room at the Stables was a conference room, hilariously. But here's one in Berlin, at Bar Jeder Vernunft.

Berlin a go-go

We have a ton of tour dates to come, get tickets now, and all info is here

And meanwhile How to Hide a Lion is up and running for 2 weeks at The Little Angel Theatre.

It stares Clare Eales White and Phil Yarrow and I can't love it more.

And on the recommend side, went to see Wayne McGregor's Tree of Codes, go if it comes anywhere near you. Spellbinding.

Recommended by Mark Ravenhill I'm reading Barbara Pym and loving it. And there's a new Bryant and May on the way, so this is a good book month.

And its spring. And that always works for me. Nothing like some daffodils in Green Park to brighten up any gloomy day so here are some for you. Happy spring!

And Happy Rainbows, the pot of gold is inside you!