Folk singer Sam Lee has a naturally gifted voice and he is fast becoming accepted as a new pioneer, defining the sound, sight and texture of contemporary folksong.
Sam received the 2011 Arts Foundation Award, which for the first time, honoured folk music among the art forms. Likewise his live band, Sam Lee and Friends, carve a new acoustic with their homemade and mongrelised instrumentation using unconventional and contemporary arrangements that challenge preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk’ should sound like.
Sam is also an award-winning promoter and live events producer through his 2010 BBC Folk club of the year The Nest Collective.
The Nest has played a key role in the resurgence of the live folk music scene and is behind many innovative concerts across London, festival stages around the UK and radio and television appearances. Sam’s musical training came via a unique four year apprenticeship under the legendary, late Scottish Traveller Stanley Robertson – last of the great ballad singers.
Sam became the musical ‘next of kin’ to Stanley’s vast repertoire of songs and an ancient, idiosyncratic Traveller singing craft. Sam has also spent time researching and documenting the music and stories of the Romany Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities.
Sam is a regular teacher at Newcastle University, Goldsmiths College, the EFDSS and holds the accolade as the first folk singer ever to teach and sing at the Royal College of Music despite its previous refusal of requests from Cecil Sharp and Vaughan Williams.
In 2009, Sam starred in the 9 minute folk pop-video The Gainsborough Packet, an art film directed by Beck’s Futures winner Matt Stokes’ commissioned by The Baltic in Gateshead and London’s 176 Gallery. In July 2011 Sam featured in and co-produced a special Folk feature in the UK edition of Vogue Magazine dedicated to the current stars of folk music and culture.
He was also a main contributor to the 8 part Sky TV series Traveller’s Got Talent which aired in November 2011 as well as being the musical director for the BBC Radio 4 series on the history of the postal service aired in December 2011.
Please click here to view Sam Lee's video on The Observer website
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‘Ground of Its Own’ is wonderful. The singing is sublime and exquisite! It’s gentle and despairing, trance-like and tender. Strokes of genius there I think! Shirley Collins
“A wonderful singer and fascinating character. He’s working with musicians in a very interesting and unusual way, his arrangements are unlike anything anyone has ever really heard before” Joe Boyd
“The rising star of traditional English folksong” The Daily Telegraph
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