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Barb Jungr – Chanson: The Space In Between – The Sunday Times

05 June 2000
The Sunday Times

How to capture the elliptical sentiments of a chanson for an English-speaking audience? One approach, favoured by that statuesque cabaret singer Karen Akers, is to preface each song with a brief and unobtrusive summary.

Barb Jungr has opted for commissioning translations of Jacques Brel, Leo Ferre and co. On the whole, the renditions are so sensitively handled that only the most fastidious purists could object. More to the point, Jungr has surrounded herself with a first-rate musical team including Fran Landesman's artful pianist-arranger Simon Wallace. Jungr's voice never strays into melodrama on Ne Me Quitte Pas or La Chanson des Vieux Amants. She also adds April in Paris and I Love Paris to the mix without provoking a sense of deja-vu.

It takes courage - not to say foolhardiness - to adapt the poetry of French songs for English ears. Barb Jungr's imaginative programme of Brel, Ferre and Prevert - seasoned with the occasional modern pop number - was a welcome success at Edinburgh this year.

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