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Sam Lee plays a unique role in the British music scene—a highly inventive and original singer, folk song interpreter, a passionate conservationist, committed song collector, and a successful creator of live events. Alongside his organization The Nest Collective and fellow collaborators, Sam has shaken up the live music scene breaking the boundaries between folk and contemporary music and the assumed place and way folksong is heard. He’s injected a renewed passion into this old material, helping to develop its ecosystem by not only inviting in a new listenership but also interrogating what the messages in these old songs hold for us today. With his forthcoming album, Old Wow, he’s summonsed up a truly compelling and emotional album that takes his work to yet another level.
He may not intend to, but Sam Lee always surprises. When he released his first album, Ground Of Its Own, in 2012, he dared to dramatically re-work old songs by matching his direct and rich singing style against an extraordinary backdrop of sound, making use of anything from Jews harps, trumpets, fiddles, banjo, or the drone effects of an Indian Shruti box. This bravely original set made possible by a prestigious Arts Foundation award, set up to ‘support artists at a breakthrough moment in their careers’ made an immediate impact and the album was short-listed for a Mercury Music Prize. Three years later, Sam’s second album The Fade In Time saw him break further new ground and receive accompanying accolades including a Songlines Award for artist of the year. This time the backing included cello, ukulele, Japanese koto, willow flute, and, most startling of all, an exquisite acapella treatment of “Lovely Molly” backed by the massed ranks of the Roundhouse Choir. This song received much attention being performed at the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards at London’s Royal Albert Hall winning Best Traditional Track and subsequently performed on BBC TV’s ‘Later with Jools’, NPR’s Tiny Desk sessions, and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Proms where Sam hosted a Folk Prom alongside Julie Fowlis. But possibly the largest audience Sam found himself being heard by was when Guy Ritchie chose him to write the lead song for his epic Hollywood fantasy King Arthur: Legend of the Sword from which “The Devil and The Huntsman” was born receiving tens of millions of plays internationally.
“Ambitious, eclectic but, ultimately, dedicated to the enduring passions that resonate through this treasure trove of great songs.” - Uncut
“This Mercury prize nominee continues to shake up the folk scene with drama and surprise. Surely one of the albums of the year.” - The Guardian
Nora Brown started learning ukelele at age 6 from the late Shlomo Pestcoe. With a focus on old time music, he laid a foundation of love of music and the community it creates. He instilled in her the lesson that music is meant to be shared. Now 14 years old, Nora plays banjo and sings ballads - She plays solo and also with many of her mentors including her friend, fiddler Stephanie Coleman, as a duet under name Little Leatherwood. Today Nora is being mentored by many of her favorite old time musicians including Alice Gerrard, Lee Sexton, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Sammy Lind, Mark Simos, KC Groves, Courtney Hartman, Mac Traynham, John Haywood, and Brett Ratliff. One of her most important mentors is the late John Cohen.
Nora has played the Floyd Radio Show in Floyd, VA., the Washington Square Park Folk Festival, Brooklyn Folk Festival, Brooklyn Americana Festival, Oldtone Roots Music Festival, both Summer and Winter Hoots at the Ashokan Center, NYC Trad Fest, and has had multiple month long residencies at famed Barbès in Brooklyn. On Oct 25, Nora released her first record of 11 traditional songs and tunes called Cinnamon Tree produced by Alice Gerrard. The Tribeca Film Festival funded a short documentary by Josh Weinstein about Nora called “Little Nora (the Banjo Prodigy).”