Down In The Hole

I am back home now after a great tour, lots of new places and lots of new friends too. Big thanks to  Thies Köhn and  Daniela Wilde at Heimat PR for booking the shows. There now follows a long period off the road where I can concentrate once more on writing new songs. I will be back touring at the end of August for two more tours of Germany. The details will be announced shortly.

The last public show of the tour was the Schlossberghöle, a cave in Homburg, it’s a wonderful venue. Deep inside an old sand mine is a nuclear shelter, the temperature is a steady 9C winter and summer with near 100% humidity. The sound is great down there and it has a special atmosphere in more ways than one. In past times the sand was mined and exported to France to make crystal. I talked to a geologist who explained that it was fine quality dune sand that was part of a desert 250 million years ago and you can still see footprints of little creatures that came to drink at the oasis. Hard to believe when you are deep in the 5km of tunnels. This place was a refuge from the RAF during WWII, then, in the cold winter of 1947, the citizens of Homburg came here to the relative warmth of 9C. Later, in the cold war it was a nuclear shelter, now it’s one one the most exciting venues I have played. I still think about the little creatures drinking at the oasis though.
Well done to the audience who braved the conditions. Needless to say, I played lots of cello which was helped by the cavernous acoustic. 

Here is a review and interview in the local paper Saarbrücker Zeitung

It is all in German so here is a very (very) rough translation courtesy of Google…

To mark the start of the “Culture in the Museum” series, the Homburg Cultural Society offered a special concert on Thursday at a special location: Ray Cooper in the Schlossberg Caves. Already in 2016, Cooper, half Scottish, half English, had a gig in Homburg. Now, the former musician of the English folk rock band “Oysterband” should ensure a successful overture to the series of events.

In the so-called “Bunker”, a part of the former protection facility of the Saarland state government within the Schlossberghöhlen, around 40 guests had gathered to see what the multi-instrumentalist Cooper had brought to Homburg. The fact that the musician, who has been living in Sweden for 16 years, can jump from instrument to instrument depending on the piece and when needed. Cooper plays the cello as well as the guitar, mandolin, harmonica, piano and the Finnish kantele makes one of the most charming aspects of his performances out. Duchaus unusually doing his use of the cello as a solo accompanying instrument. Particularly in connection with the compositional structure of titles from the field of folk, folk rock and the singer / songwriter genre, arise quite unusual sound images. They are not for everyone, but Thursday night’s guests were thrilled with the way Ray Cooper put his music and themes into a coherent concept.

Before Cooper set out to tell his stories, the opportunity for our newspaper also resulted in a brief conversation with the musician. When asked simply how life is currently running for him, a cheery Cooper replied: “Life is good. And I’m always in the right mood to give a good concert. “Of course, there had to be a question as to what would be a good concert for him? “A good concert is one in which the audience really takes something with them. I talk a lot with the guests. They should have something to think about – history, songs. “And what can you expect as a guest of Ray Cooper? “I have my roots in rock ‘n’ roll and folk music. And I play different instruments. And I write songs that sometimes revolve around historical events. Actually, I’m a singer-songwriter with roots in different places. ”

Cooper, who calls himself a “Northern European”, is always on long trips. Life as a musician was never easy, for no musician. “But why should it be easy – after all, being on tour around the world and making music is a great privilege. So it should not be easy and it is not, “said Cooper, laughing.

He then carried this good mood deep into the Schlossberg caves. They offer a setting so unique in the region, especially for intimate concerts such as Cooper’s on Thursday. And that’s what the musician completely filled out. With pleasant acoustics, Cooper climbed into the concert on the cello. The first piece was a ballad written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns (born January 25, 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire, died July 21, 1796 in Dumfries, Dumfriesshire). “This is a song for peace,” says Cooper in his brief description of the work. Already here Cooper developed one of the most important sound moods which was to be part of the evening. This was followed by a Cooper composition titled “We need more Heroes”, a piece the musician commented on developments in the UK: “Especially in England, we need heroes, heroes, to save us! ”