b. 27 April 1945, New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA, d. 2 August 2009, England. A highly respected player of the hammer dulcimer, Couza was already 21 years old before he started playing guitar, learning tunes and songs from the piano at home. The first song he learned was ‘The Circle Game’ by Joni Mitchell, which had then been recorded by Tom Rush. Couza gained experience playing at the coffee house of the 1st Unitarian Church in New Bedford. He heard his first hammer dulcimer at an international music festival in Foxhollow, USA. He played and was influenced by Celtic material. Couza was around when the Young Tradition played their first tour of the USA in 1968/9. He saw them perform at the Tri-Works, New Bedford. Jim met Ray Fisher, of the Fisher family, and Howard Glasser, who has one of the largest collections of British folk music in the USA.
Couza went to Britain for the first time on 1 December 1981, for two months, half of which was spent recording his first album, Brightest And Best, and the rest on a somewhat shortened tour of UK folk clubs. He went back to the USA in February 1982, but swiftly returned three months later, and continued to live in the UK afterward. Regularly working the festivals and clubs in the UK and the USA, his projects included recording with the D’Urbeville Ramblers, which includes Dave Hatfield and Pete Stanley. He died in the UK in 2009 at 64 years of age.