The Copper Suite

Spiro, 2018

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The Copper Suite was written for the centenary celebration of Bob Copper's life and work, at Cecil Sharp House in London on 24th January 2015. As the only instrumental group invited to take part in the event, Spiro were very honoured to join the fabulous array of performers from the world of English folk music, and to perform a specially composed instrumental suite based on tunes from the Copper family repertoire. The piece was recorded and mixed in The Big Room at Real World Studios.

The Copper Suite is based on the following traditional English tunes from the repertoire of the Copper family: 'The Bold Fisherman', 'Lord Thomas' and 'Spencer the Rover'.  All other composition by Jon Hunt/Alex Vann/Jane Harbour.  

"As one of my handful of favourite and most innovative instrumental bands working in English folk today, I always plotted to include Spiro in any live event I produced. How to fit them into a massive concert celebrating the centenary and (generally unaccompanied) songs of English folk giant Bob Copper held at Cecil Sharp House in 2015 provided only a slight challenge.

"I pointed out to them the beauty of many of the melodies in the Copper Family repertoire and wondered if they might work them into an instrumental suite. It turned out to be one of the hits of the night and I've been pestering them to record it ever since. Hurrah!" ? Ian Anderson, Editor: fRoots Magazine; producer, Bob Copper Centenary Concert

"Largely at the instigation of Ian Anderson of fRoots magazine, The Copper Family decided to include Spiro as part of the Bob Copper centenary celebrations back in 2015. An inspired choice it was too because from it sprang 'The Copper Suite'. There have been many interpretations of songs from the family repertoire, some good, some bad, and some which leave one asking, why? Fortunately Spiro?s piece is none of those? it excels!
What they have done is to take three songs from our family and successfully written them into a cohesive whole, despite their being, on paper at least, so radically different that they would not be considered natural bedfellows. At the centre lies 'Lord Thomas', certainly the most unusual ballad from the repertoire and one rarely sung (as it's so darned difficult), and this is bookended by 'Bold Fisherman' and 'Spencer the Rover'. What results is a piece of orchestral beauty which ably demonstrates the inherent loveliness of English folk tunes; in this Spiro follow in the exalted grained footsteps of Percy Grainger, Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth et al, yet through the use of traditional instruments retain the roots of the original without distracting the listener from the essential values at the core. We loved it! Highly recommended."
Jon Dudley, Jill Copper and Coppers All

Spiro's Jane Harbour discusses the background to writing and recording The Copper Suite: