Sam Lee, folk singer, promoter and animateur released his debut album “Ground Of Its Own’ in June 2012. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize and won the FRoots album of the year. He was also nominated for 3 BBC R2 Folk awards. The recording is a musical manifesto, reflecting the artistic journey Sam has taken so far and the less than conventional route getting there. A naturally gifted voice, singing was new to him until his first encounter with folk song some 6 years ago. This discovery of a new world compelled him to abandon his work as a trained visual artist, teacher of wilderness survival and moonlighting as a burlesque dancer and embark on a journey collecting old songs of The British Isles. Sam is fast becoming accepted as a new pioneer, defining the sound, sight and texture of contemporary folksong. He was given the 2011 Arts Foundation Award which, for the first time, honoured folk music amongst 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 challenging 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 Magpie’s Nest’, now “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 4 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.
In 2012 he was awarded a showcase at WOMEX ’12 and this huge success has helped lead to work all over the Europe and beyond for 2013. Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Bangleedesh, Sweden, Finland, Hungary, Spain, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, Germany and Holland have already been visited.
Sam also gives talks e.g 5 x 15 at the Tabernacle, Goldsmith College in tandem with his regular teaching gig there, and SOAS. He gives solo appearances, in 2013 these have included the Venice Bienalle, London Fashion Week, a cameo role in BBC’s Peaky Blinders, Theatre Uncut, and Secret Cinema with Laura Marling. He has a radio show on Resonance FM.
‘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” Daily Telegraph
“Ground of Its Own is a very likeable debut. Lee knows these songs are wind-whipped survivors and he meets their fearless spirit with plenty of innovation and the greatest of respect. His interpretations can stand proudly within these songs’ long histories.”
"one of Britain's finest singers and the most cogent force of his generation in British folk music"
“…never less than intriguing. It all hangs together quite beautifully too, investing these dark, mystically tales of false lovers and more with a dreamlike quality that’s as rare as it’s compelling.”
“An album of unusual dignity and immense beauty.” MOJO
“Sam Lee is one of very few to achieve a real emotional punch with moving simplicity” The Wire
“It was while hearing musician Sam Lee perform that I decided we should celebrate folk, not only as a musical movement but as a lifestyle” Alexandra Shulman, Editor Vogue UK July 2011
Tickets £!4 adv (+Booking Fee)