Mercury rising fast

Sam Lee
Sam Lee

CELTIC Connections is in full swing from today (Thursday), and with it arrives a wealth of acts both new and established.

While discovering hidden depths of talent is all part of the fun of such a wide-ranging festival, there are, at times, significant pointers in the direction of “ones to watch”.

A 2012 Mercury Prize nomination should do the trick.

Playing St Andrews in the Square this week is Sam Lee, a former visual artist, wilderness survival teacher and burlesque moonlighter (now there’s a CV) whose modern interpretation of traditional folk earned him a place in last year’s shortlist.

Debut album Ground Of Its Own may not have scooped the prize, but it did earn critical acclaim from drawing on traditional music sourced up and down the British isles.

It is, according to Sam, his ‘musical manifesto’ – and folk fans may enjoy a dose of it live this weekend.

Support for the evening comes from Rory Butler, a Scottish singer-songwriter and winner of the Danny Kyle Open Stage award at Celtic Connections 2012.

n Sam Lee plays St Andrews in the Square on Friday, January 18, 7.30pm. Tickets £13 from 353 8000 or www.celticconnections.com.