Posts Tagged ‘sam lee’

Songlines Best Albums of 2015

Posted on November 13th, 2015 in Recent posts by .


Songlines’ editors Jo Frost and Simon Broughton select their favourite albums from 2015

With five picks each, Jo Frost and Simon Broughton have chosen their favourite albums that have been reviewed within Songlines magazine in the last 12 months. You can read more about these ten albums in the next issue (Jan/Feb 2016, #114), out on December 11. This year’s selections (in alphabetical order):

Tarek Abdallah & Adel Shams
El-Din – Wasla
(Buda Musique, reviewed in #107)


Lila Downs – Balas y Chocolate
(Sony Music, reviewed in #112)


Tigran Hamasyan & the Yerevan State Chamber Choir – Luys i Luso
(ECM, reviewed in #113)


Seckou Keita – 22 Strings
(ARC Music, reviewed in #109)


Sam Lee & Friends – The Fade in Time
(Nest Collective Records, reviewed in #107)


Mariza – Mundo
(Warner Music Portugal, reviewed in #113)


Titi Robin with Mehdi Nassouli – Taziri
(World Village, reviewed in #109)


Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal – Musique de Nuit
(No Format!, reviewed in #111)


Mahsa Vahdat – Traces of an Old Vineyard
(Kirkelig Kulturverksted, reviewed in #107)


Various Artists – Africa Express Presents… Terry Riley’s In C Mali
(Transgressive Records, reviewed in #107)


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Album Review | Top of the World | Sam Lee & Friends – The Fade in Time

Posted on April 21st, 2015 in News, Reviews by .


Words by Julian May

samleecdFolk troubadour offers travelling stories a modern platform

Sam Lee has wandered throughout the UK and Ireland learning songs, and how to sing them, from travellers and Gypsies, particularly Stanley Robertson in the north of Scotland and Freda Black in the south of England. Along with the traveller’s lilting singing style, he has absorbed something more fundamental – a deep freedom. Lee lovingly creates soundscapes in which the dramas he sings unfold and live, using whatever means are appropriate. His band comprises violin, cello, percussion, trumpet and Japanese koto (zither). So the blaring brass, borrowed from Tajik wedding bands, in ‘Johnnie O’ the Brine’, a tale of hunting and poaching learned from Robertson, sounds not at all out of place. The archive recording of an East European cantor that introduces the Napoleonic song ‘Bonny Bunch of Roses’ becomes entirely appropriate.

In Arthur Jeffes, of Penguin Cafe, and Jamie Orchard-Lisle, Lee has found producers to match his imagination and ambition. Instrumentation ranges from driving piano, waves of brass and punchy percussion to the gentle harmonies of the Roundhouse Choir, wrapped like a blanket around Lee’s voice on ‘Lovely Molly’. At the heart of all this is that voice and sensibility, carrying these frail, powerful stories and melodies – that did almost fade in time – into our era in an entirely modern form.

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Live | Sam Lee, Rachel and Becky Unthank, A Time and Place, September 17-19

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 in Recent posts by .


Sam Lee, Rachel and Becky Unthank will be touring A Time and Place from September 17-19

One hundred years on, the Great War remains a potent cultural moment in the British psyche. It is the event that brought a violent end to folk traditions that were already reeling in the face of industrialisation and its dislocations. Morris dancing sides vanished, musicians were silenced and folk songs were never heard again.

Yet out of the slaughter came some of the most searing creative responses to war in the nation’s history – and many of them from regular soldiers in the frontline. Black humour, nostalgia and cold nihilistic despair are all present in the songs and, most memorably, poetry of the era. This centenary year has seen a number of treatments of this material from the folk scene, including two excellent releases from folk stalwarts Show of Hands and Coope, Boyes & Simpson.

In September, another project comes to culmination in a series of concerts in Birmingham, London and Leeds led by three stars of the current folk revival – Sam Lee, Rachel and Becky Unthank. Entitled A Time and Place: Musical Meditations on the First World War, the show brings reinterpretations of the traditional song, music and poetry of the time together with new creative responses to wartime stories.

This multimedia show will feature video backdrops from Matthew J Watkins, based on the modern art of the period.

Find out more

A Time and Place: Musical Meditations on the First World War from Beat13 on Vimeo.

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10 Reasons to buy the April/ May 2013 (#91) issue of Songlines

Posted on March 20th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

The new issue of Songlines is on sale now and – like an generous, juicy BLT – it is packed full of delicious ingredients. Here are just 10 of this issue’s features to whet your appetite: 

  • Cover star Rokia Traoré talks about her new rock influences, working with PJ Harvey’s producer and Mali’s predicament.
  • The guessing game is over – we announce the nominees for the Songlines Music Awards 2013.
  • Mali Latino Trio and Lokkhi Terra discuss their Afro-Cuban-Bengali-jazz collaboration for this year’s Songlines Encounters Festival.
  • Read about Malaysia’s Rainforest World Music Festival, the magical event transforming the culture of Sarawak, Borneo.
  • Canadian trio of old-style Americana, The Be Good Tanyas, talk about tours and tribulations. 
  • Kora stories from Malian harp genius Ballaké Sissoko.
  • Free CD with our ten Top of the World picks, plus five tracks picked by British composer Jocelyn Pook.
  • More CD and DVD reviews than you can shake a stick at: dig in, digest and discover the world’s best new music.
  • Sam Lee sends us a postcard from Bangladesh, where he swapped songs with local musicians.
  • The story on innovative Congolese band Staff Benda Bilili‘s shock split.

Click on the cover image to the right to purchase a copy.

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