Sam Lee: Tiny Desk Concert This former burlesque performer found his voice by finding and preserving old British, Irish and Scottish folk songs.

Tiny Desk

Sam Lee

English vocalist Sam Lee has an amazing backstory: He found his way to singing professionally after stints as a wilderness survival expert and a burlesque dancer. But what really matters are his mesmerizing performances, as well as his incredible ability to connect with people — certainly with the audience in front of him, but also with the elders he's sought out to learn these songs.

Lee has dedicated himself to preserving centuries-old folk songs of the U.K. and Ireland, particularly from "outsider" communities like the Roma (Gypsies) and the Scottish and Irish Travelers. But he and his bandmates — ukulele player and vocalist Jon Whitten, violinist and vocalist Flora Curzon, and percussionist and vocalist Josh Green — put these ancient songs in thoroughly 21st-century arrangements that feel creative, fresh and surprising, but also deeply human.

Above it all, Lee's voice blazes through with strength, clarity and confidence. This is an artist who has found his destiny as a singer, a folk-song collector and a steward of stories, keeping them alive and relevant for a new generation.

The Fade In Time is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • "Over Yonders Hill"
  • "Lovely Molly"
  • "Goodbye My Darling"

Credits

Producers: Anastasia Tsioulcas, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Suraya Mohamed, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Lani Milton; Assistant Producer: Elena Saavedra Buckley; photo by Lydia Thompson/NPR

For more Tiny Desk Concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Jacob Collier plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Jacob Collier (Home) Concert

Watch four different Jacob Colliers perform simultaneously in the same studio in this unprecedented Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Roddy Ricch plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Roddy Ricch (Home) Concert

The chart-topping rapper and songwriter performs a Tiny Desk quarantine concert at West Coast Customs in Los Angeles.

Chicano Batman plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Chicano Batman (Home) Concert

The Alt.Latino favorite comes together virtually to perform a handful of songs from the band's latest album, Invisible People.

Dirty Projectors plays a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Dirty Projectors (Home) Concert

The indie rock band performs four songs while quarantining in five separate homes.

Trupa Trupa plays a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Trupa Trupa (Home) Concert

The Polish rock band performed a Tiny Desk quarantine concert in Gdańsk basement.

Fabiano do Nascimento plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Fabiano Do Nascimento (Home) Concert

The Brazilian-born guitarist performs a peace-inducing concert from his home in Los Angeles.

Coreyah plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Coreyah (Home) Concert

The Seoul-based sextet performs music that blends Korean traditional music with modern sounds.

M. Ward plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

M. Ward (Home) Concert

The acclaimed guitarist (and masculine half of She & Him) performed seven songs in his Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Madame Gandhi plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Madame Gandhi (Home) Concert

Watch the drummer and activist perform three songs for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Sudan Archives plays a Tiny Desk concert. Kisha Ravi/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR

Sudan Archives

Sudan Archives draws inspiration from Irish and African traditional music. Watch her channel both in this Tiny Desk concert.

Back To Top