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.

The exact centenary of the declaration of World War 1 is on the 4th August and we feel very privileged to have been asked to take part in Naming Names – a joint concert with Belgian musicians in the Paul Rans Ensemble to mark the launch of the In Flanders Fields Museum’s ‘List of Names’ project on that day.  The four year project aims to collect the names of all the people who died on Belgian soil as a result of the War – civilian or military, adults or children, former allies or former enemies, regardless of their nationality.  As the Museum’s website makes clear, the centenary of the outbreak of the war is a ‘perfect opportunity to re-think’ and remember.  As well as this performance in Ieper, we hope that we’ll be able to bring the same concert to London very soon afterwards.

Fortunately, there’s also space for some concerts with our usual repertoire too.  We’re with very old friends at The Beehive in Harthill near Rotherham in early July and looking forward to making new ones at Milverton Music in Somerset later in the month.  And then at the beginning of August, we’ve got a concert at Dranouter Festival of New Folk Traditions in Belgium as part of the celebrations marking their 40th birthday.