Ageing, Travelling Folk: Sam Lee and Songs across Time

Gardner, Abigail S ORCID: 0000-0003-2994-741X (2016) Ageing, Travelling Folk: Sam Lee and Songs across Time. In: IASPM Biennial Conference, 8-10 September 2016, Brighton. (Unpublished)

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Sam Lee is a British songwriter and collector whose music is a reimagining of traditional English and traveller folk music. His first album, Ground of Its Own (2012), was the first ‘folk’ album to be nominated for The Mercury Prize, a critically acclaimed UK music award, whilst his second Fade in Time (2015) continues his exploration of UK folk and traveller heritage. Lee travels around the UK, working with elderly travellers and amateur folk singers to recast and reinterpret their songs. His activities are part of a wider folk movement network across Europe and the United States, where age is valued, both as a life lived and as a quality embedded in the songs performed (Boyes, 2010; Elliot, 2015; Negus, 2012, Winters and Keegan-Phipps, 2013). This paper is framed by an understanding that his work is related to the preservation, encoding and transference of a collective musical experience; what we might term ‘mimetic inheritance’. It is rooted in English folk music but reaches out beyond the borders of ‘Englishness’ through the travellers’ own familial inheritances to encompass migratory musical traditions. The paper focuses on the conceit of ‘travelling’, whereby music is at once rooted, or ‘grounded’ and ‘de-territorialized’ (Deleuze and Guattari (1972), since it travels not only across differing spaces but across time. Using Negus’s work on Ricoeur (2012, 1984) the paper argues that this musical practice is a manifestation of Ricoeur’s ‘present of the past’ where remnants float up from shared and found pasts to circulate within the present, which Lee makes apparent in his treatment and versions of the old folk songs he refashions and records.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Abigail Gardner
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2016 11:06
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 10:15

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