Rychard Carrington reports on Coope, Boyes & Simpson and ReSound - The Junction, Cambridge, 9 April 2013

Coope, Boyes and Simpson
Junction 2, The


The evening got off to as most 'resonding' start when local 24-piece choir ReSound came on stage and treated us to a delightful twenty minutes of massed-voice songs from a wide variety of traditions, culminating in Moon River. They sang beautifully throughout, carrying off intricate vocal arrangermnts with perfection. Director Rowena Whitehead's dedication and talent has been a real boon to local music for many years now. Established in 2010, ReSound themselves are clearly a new local institutioin to treasure. Check them out.


The a cappella trio Barry Coope, Jim Boyes and Lester Simpson were immaculate, endearing and potent; utterly brilliant. Their singing would have been worth listening to if the words were meaningless, but the songs selected all had excellent lyrics, which the trio's performance not only annunciated clearly but gave appropriate emotional expression to.


Pleasant though their sound was Coope, Boyes and Simpson's humanist-socialist-anarchist sentiments brought home how our comfortable context for music appreciation should never be taken for granted, how sincere artistic expression can sometimes be crucial resistance to the forces of oppression. While retaining gentle good humour, they sang movingly and powerfully of economic crisis. political injustice, fascism, concentration camps and - on several numbers - the First World War.


Somngwriters featured included Jean Ritchie, Michael Marra, Atkin and James, Richard Thompson, and Weston and Lee. But their own compositions were every bit as good. Unison in Harmony, a request that got a rapturous reception - evident known by local singers - summarises their philosophy:


Hear the music, hear the music

Hear the music from afar

What we sing is wat we are


Over hills and over valleys

Over mountains over seas

Nation shall sing unto nation

Until nations cease to be

Unison in harmony


Nice, though, that they ended with John Shuttleworth's Save The Whale:


You don't have to kill the whale to have a lovely time

There are lots of other fish upon which you can dine

Have you tried cod portions in parsley sauce - divine

Or tuna chunks in brine, tuna chunks in brine


Save the whale

Its fins. its hunp, its tale,

Stop the slaughter,

Don't you think you ought to

Save the whale.


Smart end to a magnificent evening.


Writer: Rychard Carrington