The long-awaited first album from Narthen (Barry Coope, Lester Simpson, Fi Fraser and Jo Freya) is on sale now.  A tour de force with a varied choice of intelligent material, excellent singing and playing, clearest sound and elegant design – it’s officially released on 14 September, but copies are available now by Mail Order from No Masters.

Narthen (No Masters NMCD52)

Narthen news and info on live gigs –

On Saturday 25th August, Coope Boyes & Simpson will sing together again in “Peace to the World”, the final event of the commemorations of the centenary of the First War in Ieper, Belgium.

“Peace to the World” is a free, twelve hour event which will take place in the Grote Markt (Main Square) of Ieper. Curated by the renowned actor, director and musician Wim Opbrouck, it brings together singers, musicians, poets and writers in performances looking forward to peace, hope and reconciliation. It features some of the best – and best-known singers and musicians in Belgium playing together in unique combinations with Wim Opbrouck’s We Shall Overcome band, as well as sets from international artists.

Coope Boyes & Simpson have been chosen to sing immediately before the Last Post at 7.40 pm

Coope Boyes & Simpson’s long association with music about Remembrance is continued as Barry & Jim bring new songs to Radio 2’s Ballad of the Great War 1917 on 11th November. Barry Coope joins The Thurnscoe Harmonic Male Voice Choir to sing his arrangement of “Trench Raid”, a new song written by Sean Cooney of The Young ‘Uns.

The programme also includes a first chance to hear Jim Boyes & Maarten Decombel as the new duo perform “Passchendaele”, a song by Jim which was specially commissioned for the centenary of the battle.

Meanwhile, “Standing in Line”, the production devised by Lester Simpson, which uses songs, readings and images to tell the story of his great-uncle, Albert Scrimshaw, killed in in Battle of Passchendaele a century ago is also touring, details here –

Fatea have just announced that Coope Boyes & Simpson’s work has been recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the magazine’s Annual Awards 2016.

Neil King, Fatea’s Editor, tells us – it’s the first time that we’ve ever awarded it to a group. The Award recognises, not only the trio’s many years of producing great vocal albums, but also the broader aspects, such as their contribution to the No Masters Co-operative, awareness of the In Flanders Fields Museum, workshops and encouragement to other singers.


If you’ve enjoyed Voices at the Door on record but don’t care too much for dusting, we’ve just had the excellent news that our eponymous second album Voices at the Door: Midwinter Songs & Carols will be available to download from 20th November 2015. This makes it much easier as far as housework is concerned, but a bit of a problem to autograph.
There’s news on this link, but ideally the download will be available elsewhere too –

As well as the highly praised album, you can now get the book of “Sensations of a Wound” – complete with texts of the narrative and all the songs in English and Dutch via No Masters excellent Mail Order service. Details here:

Ian Clayton, author of touching, involving, funny and utterly brilliant books about music and families like “Bringing it all back home”, “Our Billie” and “Song for My Father” has written a review of the “Sensations of a Wound” CD for his newspaper column. As you might expect, it makes a good read

To mark the release of Jim Boyes new solo album, Sensations of a Wound, there’s an exclusive interview with Jim and video of “Along the Menin Road”, featuring Belinda O’Hooley’s superb accompaniment in the e-zine, Spiral Earth .  See both here –

Dai Jeffries of is first out of the blocks with a really thoughtful review of Jim Boyes new album Sensations of a Wound: The Long, Long Trail of Robert Riby Boyes – with songs by Jim and “perfectly judged” accompaniments by keyboard superstar Belinda O’Hooley. Highlighting Jim’s vivid, unsentimental writing and humour – Dai concludes, “It never allows your attention to wander in telling a story that may have seemed commonplace almost a century ago,  but which, with hindsight, seems quite remarkable.”

Sensations of a Wound (NMCD44) is released on 2nd February on the No Masters label.  Read the full review here –


A selection of photos from the performance of “The Best Christmas Present in the World” at Sint-Maartenskathedraal in Ieper, Belgium on 22nd December.  As you’ll see,  it was a very spectacular setting –

Photos courtesy of the World War 1, Westhoek site.