"Cooper has stepped beyond the cultural and geographical confines of the British Isles and opened himself up to the musical styles and stories to be told from all of Northern Europe. It works incredibly well, he continues to develop as a songwriter and impress as a multi-instrumentalist."
– Spiral Earth, preview of Ray's new album Palace of Tears
"The lyrics are worthy of a poet: Inspiring and engaging. With all due respect to Oysterband, I for one am glad he broke loose and started composing and writing on his own. He has a clear "voice" which is getting increasingly noticed and admired by the audience."
– Anne Edelstam, Tidningen Kulturen, writing about Palace of Tears
"Like its predecessor, Palace of Tears is a mighty sounding record, one which audibly means business right from the outset: rugged and bold in character, intent and delivery." – David Kidman, fRoots
Ray Cooper, formerly known as "Chopper", is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and former member of the English folk-rock group Oysterband.
With Oysterband Ray toured in over 27 countries and released 19 albums. In 2012 they won three prizes at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, for best group, best album and best traditional song and fRoots magazine declared them one of three "Icons of Folk".
Ray's first solo album, Tales of Love War & Death by Hanging, was released in 2010 and contains mostly self-penned songs that draw their inspiration from Sweden and Scotland (he is half Scottish and lives in Sweden since more than 10 years).
Ray Cooper's second solo album, Palace of Tears, containing 10 new songs was released in August 2014. The style is less folk and more singer-songwriter than on his debut album, but still with a distinct Nordic tone. According to himself the theme is "shamelessly romantic" and with bittersweet songs about living and working in northern Europe over the last 25 years. Ray explains the title of the album thus:
"The title track Palace of Tears was inspired by my memories of working in the former East Germany. The Berliners had a nickname for one of the checkpoints in the wall; this was a tube station in Friedrichstrasse and was used to visit their relatives in the East. On the way back it was a place of goodbyes, hence the beautifully ironic name 'Der Tränenpalast', The Palace Of Tears."
On stage Ray accompanies himself on cello, guitar and harmonica - and occasionally also on piano - and seasons it all with stories about the history behind the songs. He usually performs solo, but is sometimes accompanied by singer Rowan Godel on backing vocals or The Swedish Kitchen Orchestra (consisting of a group of musical friends: Patrik Andersson and Jenny Tidman on fiddle and Gustav Andersson on piano etc.) - all of them musicians that featured on his latest album.
In October 2016 Ray Cooper played a concert at Hagge's Music Pub in Tønder. On that occasion Ray had invited an old friend, banjo wizard Leonard Podolak (The Duhks), to join him on a couple of songs. The two of them had such a good time on stage that they decided to do a tour of Denmark together. The tour is scheduled for the period 1-10 March 2018. Please contact us for booking & further info.