Sam Lee, Mercury Prize nominated folk singer is fast becoming accepted as a new pioneer, defining the sound, sight and texture of contemporary folk song. 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 ʻtraditional folkʼ should sound like.
Samʼs 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 ʻnext of kinʼ to Stanleyʼs 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 Williamsʼ In 2009, Sam starred in the 9 minute folk pop-video ʻThe Gainsborough Packetʼ, an art film directed by Beckʼs Futures winner Matt Stokesʼ commissioned by The Baltic in Gateshead and Londonʼs 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 ʻTravellerʼs Got Talentʻ 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.