**Note: this concert was originally scheduled for November 12, but the date has been changed to Wednesday, November 14.**
Sara Grey grew up in New Hampshire but also spent some of her youth in North Carolina, where she heard a lot of mountain music and developed a love for the old time banjo music and songs. She has carried this interest into her adult life studying folklore and collecting and performing music from the various areas in which she has lived, including the U.S., Wales, Scotland and England. She has been concentrating for the last several years on tracing the migration for songs from the British Isles to North America. She performs with her son, Kieron Means, who was born in the U.S. and grew up in Britain gaining a great love of the music of both traditions as well as the contemporary scene. He plays traditional songs from the U.S. and the U.K.; he also writes and performs original songs.
A founder of the Lost Nation Band, Grey is originally from the U.S. but has been living in Scotland and in England for the last 40 years. She has always been interested in the migration of songs across the Atlantic, and it was as a result of a collecting trip to Scotland in 1970 that she moved to the UK. She has been working closely with other traditional singers from Scotland and Ireland to look at the movement of Celtic songs and how they change.
Grey has performed at more than 150 folk clubs in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as at more than 60 different folk and bluegrass festivals. She has been heard on local radio all over the U.K. and has been featured in two Women’s Hour programs to talk about her musical career and her tour to Lithuania. She also has performed on her own and with the Spinners on Radio 2. She has appeared on BBC-TV Scotland and with the McCalmans on Grampian Television. She has toured abroad in Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Norway, Lithuania, Australia and the U.S.
Grey has been working closely with other traditional singers from Scotland and Ireland to look at the movement of Celtic songs and how they change. Some of the projects she has been involved in include a seminar in Alness, Ross-shire, Scotland looking at the culture of Travellers in Sutherland and the movement of their songs and stories to North America.
It is not Grey’s lovely voice alone that makes her one of the most popular singers on the folk scene. On many of her songs, she accompanies herself by frailing a five-string banjo and, particularly when she is playing dance tunes, it is obvious why she is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the clawhammer style.
In addition to singing and playing, Grey is well known for her storytelling. She specializes in stories from New England where she grew up learning many stories from her father.
Grey has been performing professionally for more than 30 years. “… everything she does is characterised by freshness and enthusiasm … You couldn’t hear half a dozen bars and think it was somebody else … She is one of the select band of performers that still breathe life and vitality into traditional ballads …” - Vic Smith, fRoots (Folk Roots).
Kieron has toured in the U.S. on his own in addition to performing with Grey. In 2000, he performed at Whitby and Wadebridge festivals, where he was received with much acclaim. His first CD received much praise, with airplay on “Travelling Folk” and “Mr. Anderson’s Fine Tunes,” both on radio Scotland.