The Copper Family - part 2

19 Dec 2014

The Coppers at Brighton Festival

We are lucky enough to have the Coppers right on our doorstep and they have performed a number of times in recent years, most notably during Brighton Festival. In 2003 Bob Copper helped curate two exclusive festival events, bringing together this country’s finest traditional and contemporary folk artists.

Swords and Ploughshares - (May 2003)

While the folk tradition is immersed in nostalgia it also ferments protest with songs of rebellion and change. With this in mind the Copper Family teamed up with singer-songwriter Billy Bragg and politically driven collective Chumbawamba.

Families and Generations - (May 2003)

The Copper Family were joined by another folk family, the Carthy’s, featuring Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy and their daughter Eliza Carthy together exploring the full range of folk music.

‘For this joint event sadly Bob was poorly – in fact he passed away the following year - so we performed with a cardboard cut-out of Bob on stage. So he was with us in image and in spirit, if not in flesh – a funny and a sad time for the family, as it was the first major gig he couldn’t attend. A memorable one but also a private milestone in the family history as the baton was slowly being transferred to younger members’ Ben Copper

Tacet Ensemble with the Copper Family - (May 2005)

An invigorating integration of ideas and styles brought together the Copper Family with the Tacet Ensemble, a leading contemporary music group who seek out common musical language and explore local roots and shared knowledge.

‘We played with a contemporary orchestra in the Old Market in Hove, the Tacet Ensemble. An interesting one as they did a modern interpretation of some of the songs which was great. We’ve been involved in many different things over the years and we’ve been very lucky’. Ben Copper

The Young Coppers were also part of the original assembled cast for The Imagined Village who have performed memorably at Brighton Dome concert hall. They are a group of like-minded artists who reimagine old folk songs and put them into a contemporary setting. 

The ever changing line up has included the likes of Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, Billy Bragg, Sheila Chandra and Benjamin Zephaniah.

The Copper Family today

Supporting the arts

Nutshell Construction is a locally based building firm who specialise in restoration work. With solid trade backgrounds, the company was set up by various members of the Copper Family to combine contemporary and traditional construction techniques.

Nutshell has been one of our corporate sponsors this past year; the relationship was an obvious fit considering the long-standing musical connection with us. As a local business they were keen to get involved partly in order to meet other businesses, build their network, and expand their brand to a wider audience.They also support the arts and are audience members themselves; they thoroughly enjoyed Hofesh Shechter’s piece, Sun, in last year’s Brighton Festival.

‘I run a construction firm so contemporary dance – well, it’s not necessarily what builders are into, but it was fantastic. As corporate partners we were invited to the launch. Sean and I watched Hofesh’s piece so were keen to see it in the festival’. Ben Copper

Bob Copper centenary

Ten Thousand Times Adieu
24 January 2015

‘Bob Copper – singer, musician, engraver, rook scarer, lather boy, soldier, publican…these mournful, keening songs of love, loss and hard work amount to an English blues.’ Mojo

Bob Copper would have been 100 this month so the family is having a celebration of his life, work and legacy at Cecil Sharp House, London, which has been the scene of seminal events relating to the Copper Family over the years. In conjunction with The English Folk Dance and Song Society, and FRoots magazine, there is a day long event planned culminating in a special concert featuring some of the biggest names on today’s folk scene.

For more information see