Great Grand Ma Jan
„Age is just a number. I’m 80 years young and still too ready to rock the house!“
Described by the international press as warm and unique, it is hardly surprising that every audience celebrates Janice Harrington’s performance and that she is still active at the age of 80.
Born in 1942 in Cleveland, Ohio, with a stopover in Norway, she now lives in Germany with her husband, trombonist and piano maker Werner Gürtler. Known as a versatile artist, she has mastered blues, jazz and gospel singing as well as acting and music production and can look back on a decades-long career that has taken her around the world.
Ms. Harrington began her music career in 1967 as a singer for the U.S. military in USO shows produced by the North American State Department, traveling to Vietnam, Southeast Asia, the Panama Canal, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, Scotland, and Ireland.
A personal highlight was singing for Bishop Desmond Tutu in Oslo at the Award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. Ms. Harrington performed with artists such as Billy Daniels, Nat Adderley, Lloyd Bridges, Frank Sinatra Jr., Big Jay McNeely, Sammy Davis Jr. and Lionel Hampton and appeared in Oslo in 1982 as an opening act for Joan Armatrading and in 1983 for Jose Feliciano. In 1989, together with the Kenn Lending Blues Band, as opening act for BB King in Copenhagen.
Ms. Harrington has also performed with various big bands around the world, including the NDR Radio Big Band and the Danish Radio Big Band. Ms. Harrington has also performed at the International Bansko Jazz Festival in Bulgaria and in various festival programs worldwide.
Ms. Harrington has recorded many CDs, including the Dinah Washington tribute album „Yesterday Today Tomorrow“ with the giants of jazz: Keter Betts, Lloyd Mayers and Jimmy Cobb.
Her stage career also includes off-Broadway productions of „Norman … Is That You?“ (1970) and Shakespeare’s „Two Gentlemen From Verona“ (1973). She has also written her own plays: the musicals „Streets of Harlem“ (Oslo 1982), „Girl Talk“ (Oslo 1983) in collaboration with Karin Krog and „What My Eyes Have Seen“ (Hamburg 1989), a musical autobiography whose updated version (Hamburg 2018) has received exuberant reviews.
She also wrote and produced the gospel musical „The Roots of Gospel and Spirituals“ (2013), the 1. International Jazz, Blues and Gospel Festival in Las Vegas and in 1995 the 1st North German Gospel and Spiritual Festival, for which she was able to win the then Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Gerhard Schröder as patron. She is also no stranger to television, where she once appeared as a guest in the American TV series „Days Of Our Lives“ and most recently in 2018 as a finalist for the first season of „The Voice Senior“ in Germany.
Ms. Harrington continues to be active as a jazz ambassador and cultural ambassador for the State Department during Black History Month, holding workshops and masterclasses. From 2000 to the present day, she has focused on working with young people and people with disabilities. So she has earned the title „Germany’s Lady of the Gospel“.
Together with Dylan Vaughn, she is currently offering the African-American music workshop „Sing Out!“, which she has been successfully teaching since 2006.
Described in the international press as warm and unique, it is hardly surprising that every audience celebrates Janice Harrington’s performances, and that at her age she still continues so briskly.