Three of the UK’s most innovative folk artists reinvent a collection of British Broadsides – low cost daily song sheets sold for pence – giving a rare insight into Britain’s music, literary and political history. Delving into the collection of Broadsides at the Bodleian Libraries and beyond, Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann lead a five-piece band, and bring to life Broadside Ballads for a new generation.
All three artists challenge the preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk’ should sound like. Sam Lee (Mercury nominated) has blazed a dizzying trail as a song collector and singer, well-loved for his rich, resonant voice. Sublime singer and fiddle player Lisa Knapp has established and evolved her own crafted sound and songwriting skill. Whilst sound adventurer Nathaniel Mann is well known for his work in Dead Rat Orchestra, and his performances involving instrument making, ethnography, folklore and storytelling.
In April and May 2017 folk music star Sam Lee presents a unique experience of starlit walks into the English woods to a rare concert by wild nightingales and special guest musicians as the thrilling finale to a campfire feast, featuring songs, wildlife insights, gourmet food and stories about the magical nightingale.
Folk music star Sam Lee will be hosting a series of after-dark events in woods near Ashford (Kent), Colchester (Essex), Huntingdon (Cambs.) and Lewes (East Sussex) next spring, offering a campfire feast with songs and stories about one of Britain’s rarest birds – the nightingale – and a night walk to hear the famously-beautiful singing of the birds and listen in on a unique duet between them and some very special human musicians.
The SINGING WITH NIGHTINGALES series starts on Thursday 13 April, to coincide with the nightingales’ arrival in southern England from their wintering grounds in tropical Africa, and then continues on selected nights throughout their mate-seeking season – April 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 28 and 29 and May 5, 6, 12 and 13. More dates with Sam Lee will be announced later in the season.
For further details and to book, please see: www.singingwithnightingales.com
The legendary folk singer and one of England’s most respected song collectors – has announced her return to recording after 38 years. The new album, Lodestar, will be released on November 4th on the influential label Domino.
With it, Shirley is announcing a handful of live shows which will feature songs from the new album and guests special to each date to make each show unique. Colston Hall will have one of these very special Lodestar events.
Shirley has created the unlikeliest release of the century so far and the live show will be no different. The album is a collection of English, American and Cajun songs dating from the 16th Century to the 1950s, recorded at Shirley’s home in Lewes by Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown of Cyclobe and produced and musically directed by Ian Kearey. The show will feature these musicians alongside a fine array of other musicians and dancers invited by Shirley.
Folk musician Sam Lee and friends will perform in the beautiful surroundings of Battersea Arts Centre's Council Chamber together with a live-streamed soundtrack from one of Britain's rarest birds - the nightingale - directly from a secret woodland location near Lewes, Sussex.
This unique experience brings together the famously-beautiful singing of the birds from the wilds of Sussex and some very special human musicians. A technician in the woods will seek out the finest voiced nightingales and transmit a high fidelity live performance directly into the venue to which Sam and special guest musicians will improvise.
Since bursting on to the folk scene, Londoner Sam Lee has blazed a dizzying trail as a singer, nature lover, song collector and folk music impresario. With a rich and resonant voice, Sam is also the founder and dying force behind the eclectic, award-winning folk club The Nest Collective. Sam's debut album, Ground of its Own was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Music Prize. His second album, The Fade in Time (2015) has been equally feted.
'The song of the nightingale has been captivating human hearts and imaginations since ancient times and our Singing With Nightingales events give guests the chance to experience this same timeless magic in ear-tingling proximity' Sam Lee
Wonders are afoot: Sam Lee's English folk songs are as ancient as they are forward-looking, and as grounded as much as they soar.
Sam Lee was born in London, while his father comes from an artistic Polish family. He has demonstrated his wide range of talents in a number of fields, from visual art to burlesque dancing, before settling on British folk songs. He collects them, sings them and teaches them - in a university college, on radio and television shows and, last but not least, in the club he himself founded, the Nest Collective. He underwent a significant musical education in spending four years with the travelling band of the legendary Scottish singer Stanley Robertson. It was at that time that it became clear to him that you need to learn not from books, but from the original informants; from wandering gypsies and Irish singers. These experiences became the deep, timeless inspiration for his first album in 2012, Ground of its Own. This Mercury Prize-nominated album became one of the greatest international sensations of recent years, becoming the first English record to reach the playlists of world music radio stations across Europe. Intimate and unsettling, harking back to older times yet simultaneously ground-breaking.
With his 2015 The Fade in Time album, Lee brought a new masterpiece to the table. His distinctive and special instrumentation - which splendidly fits in cellos, trumpets, violins, kotos and tablas - further pushed the borders of folk music. His musical universe is in some ways as close to psychedelic folk, contemporary music and jazz as old-fashioned English songs, but, whichever way you look at it, a magical experience is guaranteed.
Müpa Budapest is one of Hungary's best known cultural brands and one of its most modern cultural institutions. It brings together the many and varied disciplines of the arts in unique fashion by providing a home for classical, contemporary, popular and world music, not to mention jazz and opera, as well as contemporary circus, dance, literature and film.
Mercury Prize nominated Folk singer and song collector Sam Lee is to play a one off concert for Tigmus at The Sheldonian Theatre on 1 June. Sam’s two critically acclaimed albums place songs he has collected first hand from the Gypsy Traveller Community at their heart with inventive arrangements bringing these ancient songs to life for the 21st Century. The live band ‘Sam Lee & Friends’ perform unconventional and contemporary interpretations challenging all preconceptions of what ‘traditional folk’ should sound like.
Sam also recently won ‘Best Traditional Song’ at the 2016 BBC 2 Folk awards for ‘Lovely Molly‘. His debut album ‘Ground of its Own’ was nominated for the 2012 Mercury Prize ‘Album of the Year’.
“This Mercury prize nominee continues to shake up the folk scene with this second album packed with drama and surprise. Sam Lee again concentrates on traditional songs he learned from Gypsy travellers; they are performed in no-nonsense, almost crooned style, but with startlingly original settings…Surely one of the albums of the year.” (Robin Denselow, 5*, The Guardian, March 13, 2015 (UK))
“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. “Ground of Its Own is wonderful. The singing is sublime and exquisite! It’s gentle and despairing, trancelike and tender. Strokes of genius there I think!” Shirley Collins. “When Sam Lee makes this record public he’s going to find himself with a success story on his hands” Fiona Talkington, Late Junctio
Literally meaning ‘wind-eye’, ‘Vindauga’ is the Old Norse word that the word ‘window’ comes from.
The concept of a window perfectly describes this meeting of musical minds from England, Scotland and Norway. A window opens for two-way traffic between what is outside and what is inside. It symbolises openness, with a strong sense of identity, and is highly applicable to traditional music in the modern society. Vindauga / Wind-Eye throws open new windows to these musicians’ cultural and musical backgrounds, with the wind blowing in a strong element of fearless experimentation.
Vocalists Sam Lee and Unni Løvlid, and four top instrumentalists explore the intersections, both ancient and modern, between Norwegian, Scottish and English traditional music. It brings together virtuosity and expressive energy in a concert that never ceases to surprise and inspire. A preliminary version premiered to much acclaim at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections in 2016 and has grown out of Fiona Talkington’s Folk Conexions collaborations with Riksscenen, the Norwegian National Folk Music Stage
The Mercury Prize nominated Sam Lee and driving force behind the eclectic, award-winning folk club The Nest Collective will explore the rich history of vernacular folk song in Hull City and District using a collection of songs from in and around the city. Through recorded testimonials that capture the current and historical oral traditions extant amongst the residents, Sam Lee creates a sonic triptych combining choral and arranged accompaniment to portrait the city and its ever changing character.
Sam Lee said: “Hull City and its many local voices will soon be playground of sounds and stories to forage in and for that I can’t wait. What a treat it will be to dig into the rich seam of music so richly folded into this historic place.”
This 15-minute piece will be performed twice, with a short Q&A session with the composer between the performances.
Discover Hull’s history of vernacular folk song through a collection of songs from in and around the city, assembled by Mercury Prize-nominated Sam Lee. Lee is the driving force behind eclectic folk club The Nest Collective.
Drawing on recorded testimonials that capture the oral traditions still sustained by residents of the region, Lee creates a rich sonic triptych.
Combining found sounds and arranged accompaniment, Hullucination paints a musical portrait of the city and its manifold characters and characteristics.
Presented in association with the PRS Foundation
Colours of Ostrava is an international, multi-genre music festival organised annually in Ostrava since 2002. In 2012, the festival was moved to the entrancing surroundings of Dolní Vítkovice – an area that used to belong to metallurgical works, mines and ironworks. The last, 15th year, offered over 350 programme items on 20 open and covered stages – concerts, discussions, theatre performances, films, workshops as well as art activities.
How many traditional English folk singers do you know who come from North London, studied at Chelsea School of Art, worked as a forager and wilderness expert while moonlighting as a burlesque dancer – until a chance encounter led to the door of the great Scottish Traveller singer Stanley Robertson, and an extraordinary four-year apprenticeship into the arcane, living world of traditional song that few outside the Traveller and Gypsy communities have ever experienced?
Since bursting on to the folk scene at the end of the Noughties, Mercury Prize nominee Sam Lee has blazed a trail as an outstanding singer and song collector. He’s also been the driving force behind the eclectic, award-winning folk club The Nest Collective, which has brought traditional music to all kinds of new stages and venues, as well as the founder of a burgeoning song collectors’ movement that inspires a new generation of performers to draw on living source singers rather than books and records.
Lee is a 21st-century artist, collecting new versions of old songs on his iPhone and laptop, but his repertoire is steeped in the reek and smoke of folk history and lore, its tales of love, parting, exile and murder bound by a sympathetic magic still resonant today, parting the veil on vivid scenes from our islands’ deep history.
- See more at: https://www.colours.cz/artists/sam-lee-friends#sthash.dz4GSuy1.dpuf
"Folk Holidays" Náměšť nad Oslavou is an extraordinary music Festival. These 8 days many visitors spend as their real music, art and dancing holidays, of which they can be either active or passive participants. They are surrounded by the charming environment of the Naměšť Renaissance chateau, chateau park, adjacent environs of the Oslava river in the town as well as outside the town.
Every evening music programme of the Festival has its theme, its set up, with no genre borders - world, ethnic and folklore music, jazz, rock, folk, classical music. For the coming musicians the Festival often is an inspiration for an untraditional special concert - it is not unusual that they stay for several days, even just as spectators in the audience or as workshop participants.
The Festival is not just the evening concerts at the chateau courtyard. During the Festival days a number of workshops take place - you can e.g. learn to play the basics of some interesting musical instrument, jam and talk with musicians, who the previous evening enthused the courtyard, create your own drawings, paintings, silkscreen printings, objects, write your own text and poetry. Several hours in the afternoon belong regularly to so-called "Open Scene", where interesting, less known, music groups perform on a small stage behind the Baroque Hospital in the town by the Oslava river. And at night not only does the Festival camp come alive with music, but also the chapel of the Baroque Hospital.
The Festival is also unusual thanks to the number of international guests.
The Folk Holidays Festival is a festival of outstanding music as well as non-music experiences and inspirations.
Sam Lee is an amazing London singer-songwriter. His musical style, inventive folk, can not be locked into any boxes. Wild Highlands up funds for pubs in Ulster, this tireless troubadour collected sounds and knowledge has fed sharing moments with nomadic communities, Gypsy or Irish or the last 4 years with the last great Scottish bard-traveler, Stanley Robertson.
As elusive as a virtuoso, its folk songs are an incredibly fertile land, open to all winds, from which flows a warm baritone voice, sparkling, twirling on an unusual repertoire. It definitely builds a bridge between past and future, between different worlds that break down the borders. What happiness to upset the world of our time! Author of two discs acclaimed by critics and acclaimed by the public, he presents his repertoire with the official group.
Each summer, around 700,000 people from all over the world invade the Celtic land of Lorient for the Festival Interceltique. From Galicia to Scotland, the cream of Celtic music can be found here, to be enjoyed in a really convivial atmosphere.
One of the most influential groups to have come out of Scotland, The Incredible String Band entranced and inspired listeners in the late 1960s and early 1970s with their pioneering psychedelia, witty lyrics and soaring melodies.
For this very special concert, paying homage to the group, former Incredible String Band manager and producer Joe Boyd invites guests, including Sam Lee, to perform songs alongside collaborators from the group’s original recordings, including founder member Mike Heron and legendary bassist Danny Thompson.
The group’s visionary, dream-like songs injected homespun British folk with whimsy and surrealism, inspiring a huge following of devoted fans including John Peel, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Duo Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, joined by special guest collaborators, gave sold-out shows worldwide, from London’s Royal Albert Hall to New York’s Lincoln Center, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw to San Francisco’s Fillmore, before the original band finally split in 1974.
"Some of the songs wouldn’t seem out of place on a Nick Cave album" (Buzzmag)
Sam Lee is one of the key figures in the thriving contemporary English folk scene, but he’s not your average folk singer. He studied at Chelsea School of Art, worked as a forager and wilderness expert, and moonlighted as a burlesque dancer, before becoming a prolific song collector. He is the driving force behind the award-winning BBC folk club, the Nest Collective, and his 2012 debut album was nominated for a Mercury Prize.
Many of the songs he sings have been collected first hand from the Gypsy Traveller community, and brought back to life with inventive arrangements for the 21st Century. His repertoire is steeped in the reek and smoke of folk history and lore, with its tales of love, parting, exile and murder.
"Here at last is somebody doing really creative things with traditional English folk song” Radio 3
The Open House Festival presents handpicked music & arts in special places.
Chiddingly Festival is a remarkable phenomenon, it is a feast of the arts, run entirely by volunteers, yet attracting big name and quirky acts in a wide range of genres.
Music, dance, beer, sculpture, comedy, graphic arts, theatre, story-telling and poetry for all ages all feature regularly.
The tiny rural village of Chiddingly is in East Sussex, between Lewes and Hailsham, North of Eastbourne. Like many small rural villages, life revolves around the Church, the Village Hall and the pub.
This is a quite amazing festival for such a small village, the festival is an event that makes Chiddingly unique.
As an artist Sam traverses many worlds, challenging and pioneering folk music in diverse places and ways. Not just an award-winning singer with two highly decorated albums to his name and a sound incomparable to his contemporaries’; his work fostering live music in the UK has been instrumental in the explosion of folk of the last decade. Sam reinvents not just the way these ancient songs should sound but how they can be sourced, exist and thrive, from conscientiously gathering them in Gypsy Traveler camps to singing them for the Hollywood big screen.