Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
April 19, 1994
English Country Singers To Perform
The American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress will present The Copper Family in a free, indoor concert of traditional a cappella singing from Great Britain on Thursday, May 12 from noon - 1 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the 6th floor of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress. The event is free and open to the public.
For almost four hundred years the Copper family have lived and worked in and around Rottingdean, a village on the Sussex coast of Great Britain, about five miles east of Brighton. They have worked as shepherds, carters, publicans, and general farm-workers on the seaward hills of the South Downs. For at least two hundred years, the family has been renowned locally as country singers, and they have been called upon to sing their songs at sheep-shearing suppers, harvest homes, family parties, and pub sing-songs. In 1936, Jim Copper wrote out the words to about 70 songs in a determined effort to keep the tradition alive.
In 1950, the Copper Family sang on BBC Radio, and, for the first time, the songs were heard by a national audience. Two years later, Jim, his brother John, and their sons, Bob and Ron respectively, sang at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Many broadcasts, concerts, and recordings followed. Bob's children, John and Jill, inherited their father's love for the songs. In 1965, John made his public debut when he sang with his father at the Royal Festival Hall. The Coppers are still living on the Sussex cliff-tops and are singing as enthusiastically as ever, having been joined by John's wife, Lynne, and Jill's husband, Jon Dudley.
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