“Barbara Kooyman’s talents range so wide and so deep that trying to come to a full comprehension of them is as hard as trying to capture them in words. Over the years I’ve found that whenever I think that I might finally have a handle on Barbara’s gifts so that I might finally be able to create some kind of an inclusive critical snapshot, I almost always immediately realize that rather than coming to some kind of closure on her talents, I’ve actually just barely begun the voyage of discovering and appreciating them.

“A singer, songwriter, performer, musician and recording artist, who is also a mother, activist, visionary, innovator, entrepreneur and was a partner in Timbuk3, Kooyman is a fan, a believer, a nurturer and an advocate. Now if she only possessed one of those skills it would be amazing. It would be even more stunning if a whole section of those groupings were draped around her shoulders. But since each and every one of those words is appropriate to her, most being simply the opening idea for a whole essay on Barbara, then calling her just a wonderful person, gifted talent and strong performer is limiting rather than extolling.

“A gifted artist, a brilliant writer and a deep and wonderful human being, the rest of us have set sail beginning the long voyage of exploring, appreciating and coming to understand Barbara Kooyman in all her depth and fullness.”

~ Louis Black, Editor of The Austin Chronicle

Photo by Valerie Fremin

 

Freedom of Speech through the Power of Music

From Wikipedia

Barbara Kooyman or Barbara K is an American singer-songwriter based in Austin, Texas, where she co-founded the A4MD non-profit organization (see below). In the 1980s, she was one half of the successful recording act, Timbuk3, whose hit song, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” reached #19 in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in the U.S. and #21 in the U.K. Singles Chart. That song has since appeared in many movies and television shows. It has also been hotly pursued as a commercial jingle, a usage for which both of the song’s creators have steadfastly turned down lucrative offers. The song is often perceived as a light-hearted slice of optimism, though it was written as an ironic forecast of nuclear destruction after social complacency. The duo’s entire body of work was filled with more melodic hooks and subtle lyrical observations, leading them to much success and road work with Bob Dylan, Sting, and Jackson Browne. They once appeared on Saturday Night Live and were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987.

After Timbuk3, Kooyman remained in Austin, taking the name Barbara K, and pursuing a solo career. She became entrenched in the city’s rich musical community and recorded three solo albums, two of which featured her lyrically powerful original songs and one filled with her own interpretations of the songs of Timbuk3 (all three albums released on her own label, Sparrows Wheel).

As an independent recording artist, Kooyman saw a need in the music industry for strengthening alliances between artists and media outlets. She and co-founders Wolfgang Pracht and Ben Bright conceived and created Artists For Media Diversity, or A4MD. The 501(c)(3) charitable organization was formed to protect freedom of speech through the funding of services for alternative non-commercial media sources, to foster independent media voices, and to promote musical and cultural diversity.

As stated on the website for Artists For Media Diversity (a4md.org). the organization “exists to restore the purity and power of the spiritual relationship between music and radio. A4MD can help you bring your radio station and your listeners back to the roots of the magic before music became heavily commercialized.”

Among the project the organization has underway for empowering independent artists and community radio stations is a live music archive, to which artists and stations can contribute live performance tracks and from which other stations can access recordings for their own broadcast purposes.

K’s work, both musical and organizational, is rooted in social activism and responsibility. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, Barbara K and Wolfgang Pracht wrote a somber reflection on the ominous environmental implications of such a disaster, “Swimming In Blackwater.” The video, featuring K and her frequent musical collaborator, Richard Bowden, is viewable at the A4MD website at http://a4md.org/.

 

Timbuk3 Discography

Greetings From Timbuk3
Greetings From Timbuk3

(IRS, MCA 1986)
  • 01) Future’s So
    Bright I Gotta Wear Shades (mp3)
  • 02) Life is Hard
  • 03) Hairstyles and Attitudes
  • 04) Facts About Cats
  • 05) I Need You
  • 06) Just Another Movie
  • 07) Friction
  • 08) Cheap Black and White
  • 09) Shame On You
  • 10) I Love You in the Strangest Way

Eden Alley
Eden Alley

(IRS, MCA 1987)
  • 01) Tarzan Was A Bluesman
  • 02) Easy
  • 03) Reckless Driver
  • 04) Dance Fever
  • 05) Sample The Dog
  • 06) Too Much Sex, Not Enough Affection
  • 07) Welcome To The Human Race
  • 08) Eden Alley
  • 09) Reverend Jack & His Roamin’ Cadillac Church
  • 10) A Sinful Life
  • 11) Little People Make Big Mistakes
  • 12) Reprise (Don’t Stop Now)

Edge of Allegience
Edge of Allegience

(IRS, MCA 1989)
  • 01) National Holiday
  • 02) Waves of Grain
  • 03) Dirty Dirty Rice
  • 05) Pass It On
  • 06) Standard White Jesus
  • 07) Grand Old Party
  • 08) Count To Ten
  • 09) B-Side of Life
  • 10) Acid Rain
  • 11) Daddy’s Down in the Mine
  • 12) Don’t Give Up On Me
  • 13) Wheel of Fortune

Big Shot In The Dark
Big Shot In The Dark

(IRS, EMI 1991)
  • 01) God Made An Angel
  • 02) Sunshine
  • 03) Two Medicines
  • 04) The Border Crossing
  • 05) Big Shot in the Dark
  • 06) Mudflap Girl
  • 07) Dis***land (Was Made For You & Me)
  • 08) Wake Up Little Darlin’
  • 09) ’49 Plymouth
  • 10) The Little Things
  • 11) Sunshine (Instrumental)

Espace Ornano
Espace Ornano
(Watermelon 1992)

  • 01) Dirty Dirty Rice
  • 02) Too Much Sex (Not Enough Affection)
  • 03) Daddy’s Down In The Mine
  • 04) Acid Rain
  • 05) Rage Of Angels
  • 06) Tarzan Was A Bluesman
  • 07) A Sinful Life
  • 08) Throw Down Gun
  • 09) The Border Crossing
  • 10) Big Shot In The Dark
  • 11) Bleeding Heart
  • 12) Sample The Dog
  • 13) Reckless Driver

Looks Like Dark To Me
Looks Like Dark To Me

(High Street, BMG 1994)
  • 01) Born To Be Wild
  • 02) Cynical (alternate version)
  • 03) The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades (new version)
  • 04) Sunshine Is Dangerous (acoustic version)
  • 05) Bank Robber
  • 06) Looks Like Dark To Me

A Hundred Lovers
A Hundred Lovers

(High Street, BMG 1995)
  • 01) Sunshine is Dangerous
  • 02) A Hundred Lovers
  • 03) Just Wanna Funk With Your Mind
  • 04) Legalize Our Love
  • 05) Cynical
  • 06) Not Yet Gone
  • 07) Prey
  • 08) Shotgun Wedding
  • 09) Kitchen Fire
  • 10) Inside Out

 

Various

 

Ready
on Will Taylor W/ Strings Attached
KGSR Broadcasts Volume 8
on KGSR Broadcasts Volume 8
Will Taylor w/ Strings Attached
on Will Taylor W/ Strings Attached