Sam Lee released his fourth Studio album

Mercury prize nominaded folk singer Sam Lee released 'Songdreaming', after releasing a few singles the album is finally here.

‘songdreaming’ represents the latest stage in a journey that began with Sam’s discovery of the canon of British folk, took in extensive study and training from its masters, delivered a succession of albums that built on that base to create a new language for old tales and now, finds its protagonist at a critical moment in his artistic journey. Having firmly established himself as a voice for old songs played in new ways, with ‘songdreaming’, Lee is developing the work of previous release, ‘Old Wow’, in going beyond genre and convention, delivering a record that escapes easy categorisation and demands to be treated on its own merits.

The folk custodian of the native song of the British Isles, leading voice in the environmental movement, and creator of the hugely successful and popular Singing with Nightingales, Lee has become, over the course of four albums, a touchstone for the idea of the chronicler and artistic spokesperson of the natural world. It is a crown he wears lightly, Lee’s commitment to both the indigenous song culture of the British Isles and its nature is heartfelt and deep rooted. Sam lives it how he speaks it but to characterise his work and his art under such important yet narrow terms rather misses the point.

Listen here to 'Songdreaming'

“I wanted to sing a vision of what a conversation between us and the land could be, to restore and inspire a practice of songful immersion in nature that brings with it healing, something we need now more than ever.” Sam Lee

Working once again with producer Bernard Butler and long-term collaborator James Keay ‘songdreaming’ is wide in scope and ambition. Adding electric guitar to the more regular staples of double bass, violin, and percussion that have always been the base of Sam’s music and embellished with a truly global sweep of options from the French Horn and small pipes to the Nyckelharpa (a Swedish keyed fiddle) and the Qanun (an Arabic String instrument), ‘songdreaming’ is an album that is sonically far removed from the traditional ideas of Sam as a purely British folk performer.  

Within that expansive vision for the album lies a rich and extensive musical impulse unbound by conventions or expectations of what a Sam Lee album should be. It is a record as informed by his deep interest in the sacred music of European and global mystic traditions, and the duality of his late Scottish Traveller teacher, a revered keeper of the lore and mystical wielder of the dark arts, as by his extreme knowledge of the British folk canon. It undoubtedly also owes a little to his home life, residing in the caretaker’s flat of reputedly London’s largest parish church, frequently populated by African Baptist denominations with their unique and heavily musical versions of the Christian faith.

“The album is about imagining into or retrieving what was once felt before the segregating of us from the land first started, the enclosures, the Norman conquest, the Romans, those successive eras of trauma and subjugation that occurred in this country and then the knock-on to slavery and empire, exporting that brutality, It looks beyond that loss and attempts to reclaim that sense of sovereignty and permissiveness that I feel we need to protect the little natural richness we have left.”

                                                                    Sam Lee Online

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