We were delighted to listen to Sam Lee and Friends live in the Goldmark Front Room on Saturday March 2nd 2013. Sam’s debut album was nominated for The Mercury Music Prize this year. He has also just been nominated for Best Singer, Best Traditional Song and Best Album in the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Some of you may also have seen Sam recently on the front cover of The Observer Newspaper Music Supplement.
Sam and Friends played to a full house.
• Francesca Terberg : Cello
• Jonah Brody : Japanese Koto (Harp) & Ukelele
• Steve Chadwick : Trumpet & Cornet
• Camilo Tirado : Tabla, Percussion & Cantele
• Flora Curzon : Violin
• Sam Lee : Vocals, Jews Harp & Shruti Box
The Band whittle folk in wonderful shapes, giving a flavour of 70’s krautrock, while hints of disco and bluegrass added brilliant backing to Lee’s Baritone – Jude Rogers, The Guardian
Mercury Prize Best Album 2012 nominated folk singer and song collector, Sam Lee has just released his debut album “Ground Of Its Own’ comprised of songs learned first hand from the Gypsy community. Winner of the 2011 Arts Foundation Award, he is fast becoming accepted as a new pioneer, defining the sound, sight and texture of folksong today. Likewise his band ‘Sam Lee & Friends’ perform unconventional and contemporary interpretations challenging all preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk’ should sound like.
Although Sam Lee has spent the last four years of his career embedded in British traditional music as intensely and uniquely as is possible, Sam and his band perform not in the slightest bit traditionally but create a radical yet melodic new passage for folk song for the contemporary audience. But don’t expect old English hornpipes and ‘foldy roll’ chorus songs.
Firmly honouring the ‘roots and wings’ concept of how traditional music needs to thrive to survive, Sam treads a thoroughly modern course and musical vision. The band consists of Sam’s honed and dexterous vocals and Shruti box work, accompanied by the exquisite sounds of Jew’s Harp combined with klezmeresque cello, tabla, Japanese Koto, ukele, violins and percussion.
Together they fuse a sound incomparable to anything else within the folk revival’s canon, dedicated to serving these stunning songs almost lost to obscurity with as much joy and passion as has kept them sung for at least the last 500 years.