Coope Boyes & Simpson

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Photo credit:  Willem Delfijn

"The incomparable Coope Boyes & Simpson"  Mark Radcliffe


19 April

Music without borders/ Musique à declarer

An evening full of boundless music and dance


Coope Boyes & Simpson, Smitlap, Alfred den Ouden & A Sweet Journeyman’s Tale

in Parallel – Songs and music from both sides of the Border

Westhoekvertellers / Storytellers

Bal Folk met het grensorkest o.l.v. Benjamin Macke en Pieterjan van Kerckhoven

Concert hall


Tickets: Presale: €5/ door: €7


20 April

Coope Boyes & Simpson in Concert

Muziekclub ‘t Ey -  Belsele


Tickets & Info:


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Photo credit:  Roger Liptrott

See Lester's blog on how Coope Boyes & Simpson first got together and what happened as a result in "Folk on Tour - Waking the Muse"



Roots Unearthed:  Coope Boyes & Simpson

Welsh Proms - St David's Hall, Cardiff

July 2011 




Latest album - available now

Coope Boyes & Simpson - Nominated for Best Band BBC Folk Awards 2011

"As if..." - Nominated for Best Album BBC Folk Awards 2011


Colin Irwin, MOJO  ****

"The kings of unaccompanied harmonies plunder unlikely sources as they knit immaculate vocals into songs of withering observation on sleaze culture, modern politics and all points beyond. Richard Thompson's Keep Your Distance nestles next to songs by Robert Burns, Clive James and Happy Traum plus some erudite material of their own."

Robin Denselow, The Guardian **** 

"One of the great strengths of the English folk scene has been the tradition of close-harmony vocal work, and the trio of Barry Coope, Jim Boyes and Lester Simpson have been amongst the finest exponents....Now they have released their first trio set in five years, and it's a virtuoso demonstration of their range.... sung a cappella, with occasional minimal percussion and magnificent harmonies throughout."

“a new offering from the UK’s finest exponents of close harmony singing ….. each item’s a thought-provoking gem in its own right …. harrowingly beautiful… coruscating performance …. true warmth… deliciously knowing political commentary … their finest hour on disc to date.” fRoots



Rough Guide to English Folk

2 CD release from World Music Network available on 20th June.
CD1 has great tracks from Various Artists, CD2 is a new compilation of tracks by your very own Coope Boyes & Simpson. 

"This Rough Guide is a vibrant celebration of this new golden age of English folk music."

Amazon Reviewers:

Excellent!!  Some really nice new tracks and on top of that a whole Coope Boyes & Simpson CD again with many tracks I've never heard, in spite of being a CB&S fan!

This is what I would call a bargain.  I thought I had all of CB&S, and really love what they do but here you get a bonus CD with these marvellous singers and a really good guide to English Folk.


Live session on Radcliffe & Maconie

BBC Radio 2

"Astonishing …. Beautiful singing”  Radcliffe & Maconie, BBC Radio 2




" sung with natural, unfettered energy - isn't it fabulous, that sound."

Natalie Wheen, Classic FM

To celebrate No Masters 20th Anniversary we've all contributed to a track on the Folk Against Fascism website.  A response to the BNP's decision to infiltrate English folk music and 'reclaim it' in the name of racist bigotry, it's called "Dance Idiot Dance" - hear it on:
"Folk Against Fascism" - Barry & Jim on Youtube


AGENT: Belinda O'Hooley @ O&T

01484 653880

07708 698 219

 CONTACT – Georgina Boyes / +44 (0) 1709 464 579 /


Live Review

Barbican Hall, London

John L Walters
Monday September 22, 2003
The Guardian

What the trio does seems simple at first glance: just three blokes who stand and sing in three-part harmony. Their songs, mostly written by Jim Boyes and Lester Simpson, deal with social and environmental issues and the words are clever and sharp. The harmonies are in the folk-country tradition, but with a twist that mirrors the barbed lyrics, a wide pitch range and thrilling bass sonorities swapped between all three.

Twenty-Four Seven - Simpson's critique of Britain's long-working-hours culture - has a melody that turns the traditional work song on its head. Privatise, by Boyes, covers the subject matter of Jonathan Coe's novel What a Carve Up in a similarly angry yet entertaining way: "Dick the shepherd's finger, ended up in shepherd's pies/And all you can do is criticise." If there were such a thing as postmodern folk music, this might be it. Their medley of Mike Waterson's Cold Coasts of Iceland and Three Ships (a memorial to three Hull trawlers that sank in 1968) has a vivid immediacy that Simon Schama would envy.

In Coope Boyes and Simpson's repertoire there is a hinterland of music and culture that makes their work more multi-dimensional than that of the other acts on the bill. Polemical reports of injustice and inequality are woven into tales of everyday lives, told in plain words and distinctive tunes.


Latest Coope Boyes & Simpson albums available now -



Since their first appearance in 1993, Coope Boyes and Simpson’s powerful and distinctive unaccompanied singing and songwriting have taken English roots into radical new directions. Described as "quite simply the best purveyors of acappella song on these Islands", the trio’s first record, Funny Old World, was the rock magazine Q’s Roots Album of the Year and their live debut on BBC Radio Four drew praise from the classical composer Steve Martland.  Subsequent solo and joint releases have led to awards and outstanding reviews – the BBC Folk Website simply listed all their albums as recommended listening.


The trio’s sharp and evocative writing and arranging has brought commissions for songs and music from a wide range of organisations – and found a welcome place in the concert sets and albums of singers like June Tabor and Maggie Boyle.  Following a request from Andy Kershaw, they provided the signature tune and songs reflecting the state of contemporary England for his BBC Radio One series Kershaw Comes Home, and to celebrate the Millennium, the town of Belper in Derbyshire invited them to create a suite of songs about its past, present and future.  Their work for the Flemish arts organisation, Peace Concerts Passendale has involved them in specially created concerts of songs and music growing out of the events of the First War which have toured in England and Belgium, a commission for a Suite to mark the eightieth anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele which has its first performance in the re-built town and collaborations with the sixty-strong World Choir, Wak Maar Proper, on a words and music commemoration of the Christmas Truces of the First War.

As singers Coope Boyes & Simpson have appeared on the Main Stages of Festivals from Cambridge to Bruges , Sidmouth to Skågen in Denmark , at Celtic Connections in Glasgow and Stimmen, Voices, Voix at Lörrach in Germany .  They’ve broadcast live in the middle of a thunderstorm at the opening of the David Hockney Gallery at Salts Mill, given concerts in York Minster, Yprès Cathedral and the twelfth century Abbey Ar Releg in Brittany - and sung to an audience of twenty thousand at the Dranouter Festival in Flanders .  In November 2002, they provided the songs and music for Some Desperate Glory, a memorable evening of First War poetry with readings by Oscar-winner, Jim Broadbent, Jane Lapotaire, Susannah Harker, Samuel West, Chewetel Ejifor and Saeed Jaffrey.  Fittingly for such a collection of actors, the concert took place at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London ’s West End , temporarily displacing the run of Phantom of the Opera.  Other recent highlights have been storming Main Stage concert sets at Celtic Connections and Cambridge broadcast on Radio Scotland and BBC4, joining twenty-one musicians from across Europe to create Seeds of Peace, an international concert marking the tenth anniversary of Peace Concerts Passendale in Flanders and a run of sell-out performances for the Christmas words and music production Fire and Sleet and Candlelight which featured the new six-piece acappella combination of Coope Boyes and Simpson, Fi Fraser, Jo Freya and Georgina Boyes .  

Live concerts by the band have been broadcast on radio and television in Britain and Europe and on record their singing is heard as often on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction as on Mike Harding’s Folk Programme on Radio 2 or Radio Klara, the Flemish classical music station.  Songs like Lester Simpson ’s Polly on the Shore, Ao Tea Roa and Twenty-four Seven and Jim Boyes’ Unison in Harmony, Bringing in the Sheaves and Sharpen the Sickle have been recorded groups and choirs in Britain and North America .  Whilst tracks recorded by Coope Boyes and Simpson themselves have featured in programmes as varied as BBC television’s Panorama, the BBC Radio 2 music documentary Harvest Home and the Channel 4 film, The Underground War - they even provide a musical test piece for the Cambridge University Advanced Course in English for Foreign Students.  

Tours have already taken them throughout Britain , to the Netherlands , Belgium , Portugal , France and America .  Their workshops for choral groups have crossed language barriers to encourage performance and partici pat ion in England , the Continent - and even Scotland .  “Their voices weave through and bounce off each other with a powerful elegance,” wrote an American reviewer, “it’s nice to know that, even with the numbing array of technology available, the human voice is still one of the most expressive instruments around.


AGENT: Belinda O'Hooley @ O&T

01484 653880

07708 698 219


CONTACT - Georgina Boyes +44 (0) 1709 464579

Please send us an  email if you want to be on our mailing list - you can either contact Georgina as above:

or me at:

Concerts and Dates Discography Song Lyrics Band History The First World War Latest Newsletter Tours - Projects Blue Murder Books Words and Music