St Christopher

Sam Lee & friends
Event 1
Friday October 5th, 8.00pm 
Little Missenden Church

A new approach to folksong

This is an archived event from the 2012 programme.

Sam Lee voice, Jew’s harp & shruti box;  Francesca Ter-Berg cello;  Jonah Brody Japanese koto (harp), ukelele;   Camilo Tirado tabla, percussion, cantele;  Flora Curzon violin;  Steve Chadwick trumpet & cornet; and special guest  Thomas McCarthy voice

We were delighted that Sam's debut CD, Ground of its Own, was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.  

Sam Lee is “The rising star of English folk song”, according to the Telegraph. He and his friends will offer a fresh take on British traditional music, and some insight into songs collected in the Little Missenden area over the last 150 years.

“An extremely natural and charismatic performer. His modern, often trancelike arrangements of traditionals never fail to still a room”  (TimeOut)

Sam’s new CD (Ground of its own) just drew a four star review from Robin Denselow in the Guardian: “He’s an avid song collector, a folk entrepreneur and a singer who sets out to revive lesser-known traditional material in an often startlingly unexpected style”.  Shirley Collins said of the same album “It’s wonderful. The singing is sublime and exquisite! It’s gentle and despairing, trancelike and tender. Strokes of genius there I think!”.

He’s a superb singer – he works close to the tradition but the sound is all his own.  You’ll hear instruments you wouldn’t find in a trad British folk group – like the koto, Jew’s harp, tabla and trumpet – often playing in twos or threes, weaving delicate threads of sound round Sam’s melody.

“Here at last is somebody doing really creative things with traditional English folk song”  (Verity Sharp, Radio 3 Late Junction)

Sam learned his craft through a four-year apprenticeship with legendary late Scottish Traveller Stanley Robertson – last of the great ballad singers. He’s researched and documented the music of the Romany Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities. The phenomenal voice and repertoire of special guest Thomas McCarthy is evidence of the rich musical heritage passed down within the travelling communities.

Sam was given the 2011 Arts Foundation Award, honouring folk music for the first time.

For more information on Sam Lee visit his website here.

An excellent Guardian article on Sam and Thomas McCarthy by Tim Cumming (March 10 2011) can be found here.  Its title is Music that moves: Thomas McCarthy's Irish Traveller songs