BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014

114-mark-radcliffeBBC Radio 2 Folk Show presenter, Mark Radcliffe, has announced that the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards are to return on Wednesday 19 February 2014. Mark also announced that the awards will be returning to London and taking place at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets for the event are available now from bbc.co.uk/radio2/folkawards.

The awards, which celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2014, will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene.

The event will welcome a whole host of star guests, with Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega, Clannad and The Fisherman’s Friends confirmed to perform live on the night. Other acts on the line-up will be announced at a later date.

This year’s awards will see the addition of a new element – the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.

The first entrant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is Cecil Sharp – widely regarded as being a key figure in having helped lay the foundations for the modern folk revival in the early 20th century.

Al Booth, Editor Specialist Music at Radio 2 said:

“As the country’s most prolific collector of folk music and dance, Cecil Sharp amassed a collection which includes songs and tunes that have been part of the fabric of English life for hundreds of years. Without his work the careers of Martin Carthy, Fairport Convention, Nic Jones and Kate Rusby might have been very different. It is fitting that he should be the first inductee into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame.”

Nominees for the Folk Award categories were announced by Mark Radcliffe in the Folk Show on Wednesday November 20. The categories include: Folk Singer of the Year, Best Duo, Best Group, Best Album, Horizon Award, Musician of the Year, Best Original Song, Best Traditional Track and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. The awards show will also include the presentation of Lifetime Achievement and Good Tradition Awards.

Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said: “Folk Music is an integral part of the BBC Radio 2 schedule. It is a much loved genre by our audience and we remain committed to bringing our listeners the widest possible range and choice of music. This year The Radio 2 Folk Awards reach an important milestone in their history. And what better way to celebrate their 15th anniversary than them taking place in the very special location that is the Royal Albert Hall. I’m sure it will be a night to remember.”

Mark Radcliffe, presenter of the Radio 2 Folk Show, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Folk Awards again this year, particularly on the event’s 15th anniversary and in the very grand Royal Albert Hall. Folk music is in rude health, and we’re all relishing the chance to make a big fuss about the genre’s vibrancy, diversity and sheer quality.”

Drivetime presenter Simon Mayo will be broadcasting a special programme live from the Albert Hall (5pm). The interval will feature performances from the nominees for the Young Folk Award 2014.

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Radio 2 from 8pm, and in vision via the Red Button and online at bbc.co.uk/radio2, with video highlights to follow the next day. The audience can also follow the event and get involved via the Radio 2 website.

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Bellowhead release their new single, ‘Christmas Bells/Jingle Bells’ today

bellowhead_christmas13Bellowhead release new single, Christmas Bells/Jingle Bells today.

This follows three successful singles from their top 20 album ‘Broadside’ which was released in October 2012 and went on to win Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Jon Boden says “‘Christmas Bells’ is based on the mummers play ‘Christmas : his Pageant Play, or Mysterie of St. George’ written down by a Mr. H Slight and published in 1842. It seems perfect for Bellowhead, linking Father Christmas with the tale of St. George & the Dragon. Mummers plays were found all over England up until the Second World War and many Christmas mumming traditions carry on to this day. ‘Jingle Bells’ is rather better known as a song, though what is not so well known is that it was initially written in the 1850s for American Thanksgiving day celebrations. It’s ours now though!”

Folking at Cambridge Folk Festival 2013 – Day 2

Foxy Fri 300x400Blimey, its 6.00am and I’m in the shower… what the folking heck is going on. It’s not what your thinking… unless you are talking about it being “probably the best festival shower block in the world“… hot water at daybreak – on a campsite – who’d have though it, but after all, this is the 49th Cambridge Folk Festival, so they have had plenty of practice getting it right.

Due to the time it takes putting these things together, I didn’t actually get to see yesterdays opening act on the main stage as I was working on the folking day 1 review, but could hear, from the press office that it was lively set by a band called Korrontzi.

So my first visual act of the day was Finland’s frigging brilliant Frigg. A blend of Nordic folk and American bluegrass dubbed “Nordgrass”. See them in action below.

I then needed to head off and sort out the accommodation arrangements for the folking new resident photographer, who had finally turned up… the son of Clicker… for those old enough to remember the intensely focused original, he has got a lot to live up to.

LAPD 300x224Got back just in time to see the final number from Patty Griffin and then rushed down the front to wait in anticipation for one of the highlights of my weekend, LAPD, which for those of you in the know, are three quarters of Planxty (Liam O’Flynn, Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny) and the original Bothy Band fiddler (Paddy Glackin). We were treated to the Sweeney’s Men’s classic, My Heart’s Tonight In Ireland  and the Planxty standard, The Blacksmith. What a set, from one of the original Irish boy bands!

Now with son of clicker joining the folking team we raced round for the next hour or so and managed to catch Amadou & Mariam, for a bit African electric blues and then SOC (Son of Clicker) made it over to see Darrell Scott, of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy fame doing his own improvisational set. SOC thought it was brilliant and I was folking pissed I missed it!

Ross Couper & Tom OakesSOC headed for the club tent and shot some great footage of Ross Couper and Tom Oakes, a dynamic young, fiddle player and guitarist duo, adding a modern touch to the Scottish and Irish tradition.

Then we plunged into the double whammy of the Levellers followed by Bellowhead, two headliners in one night!

Levs1 300x225The Levellers played a storming set of old favorites and newer numbers, finishing with the unique experience of a stage full of Levs and Bellowhead for ‘The Recruiting Sergeant‘. How they get them all on the stage I don’t know!

Bellowhead followed with their own set with tracks from their latest ‘Broadside‘ release and Jon Boden’s ever natty suit jacket!

Emily Barker 300x225 Cams FFWe also managed to get over to Stage 2 to see the angelic Emily Barker , a compelling singer-songwriter and mesmerising live artist, who along with her band The Red Clay Halo blend classical, rock, country and folk influences to stunning effect. Emily’s appearance recently on the BBC Radio 2 Dermot O’leary show and performance with Frank Turner at the London 2012 Olympics in front of a global televised audience is certainly moving her and the band up the musical genre food chain.

Roving Crows 300x224Then over to the Club Tent to see the Roving Crows, we covered the last album Bacchanalia back in May last year and I had been itching to see them ever since.

Here is the link If you missed NANCY DUNHAM’s review: http://folking.com/the-roving-crows-bacchanalia/

They gave a great closing performance to the Friday night in the club tent and any festival organiser reading this, I urge you to book them as soon as possible as they are a folking brilliant live act!

The queue to the bus back to Coldham’s Common campsite was huge so we decided to reenact the Richard Thompson song and walk those long miles home. The temptation of bed was calling but the lure of another beer and the campsite stage was too strong and as we watched the current act finish, we found a seat and a beautiful young girl took to the stage, with a solitary guitar and opened her mouth, and wow, what came out made my night, a sound somewhere between Janis Joplin and Sandy Denny. Sue Marchant, from BBC Radio Cambridge had arranged the last minute slot and boy am I glad she did! We’ll feature one of her own compositions called “Fall across the sea” as a later feature, but to wet your appetite now, here is her version of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the devil blues”… Ladies and gentlemen and general reprobates, I give you Leila Jane… The end to what Lou Reed would describe as “a perfect day”.

The folkmaster

FAUSTUS – The Guildhall, Leicester 26th April 2013

faustus bandThe historic Guildhall in Leicester, currently next door to the highly prominent  Richard III museum, played host to folk trio Faustus on Friday 26th April.  A magnificent setting and deserved sell out as Faustus is made up of 3 superbly talented singer/songwriter musicians, 2 of which are well known in Bellowhead.  A rare treat when they are able to fit in a tour as Faustus due to other commitments, it was a real pleasure to be there.

Comprising of mandolin and acoustic guitar, fret board wizard Benji Kirkpatrick has played with amongst others – The Oysterband, Seth Lakeman Band, Eliza Carthy and Cara Dillon and is a member of highly acclaimed and multi award winning Bellowhead.  Paul Sartin, another member of Bellowhead, and founder of Dr Faustus and Belshazzar’s Feast, has impressive theory and studying credentials behind him, including a 1st in his Masters Degree studying Traditional Music.  He plays a might fine Oboe, sings in various choirs and apparently is a stand up comic too!  Saul Rose is one of the finest melodeon players in the country and was spotted by Eliza Carthy in the early 90’s. Saul is very involved with traditional music and has played the melodeon for most of his life.  He spent most of 2011 in Warhorse which was playing in the West End.  He has worked with an impressive list of prominent people.

The set list comprised of mainly songs but we were treated to some tunes as well.  7 for the first half and 7 for the second, finishing up with Willow as the encore.  The audience were singing along to Faustus most of the time, and clearly appreciated the talent, humour and musicianship coming at them from the stage.

On speaking to them afterwards, they were very happy with the evening, and had enjoyed themselves. I did send Benji off to see the Richard III exhibition, which the staff had kindly left open for the evening, and felt guilty when Paul couldn’t find him!

They do have two albums out for your delectation in-between gigs!

I hope it won’t be too long before they tour again.

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Campie

Artist’s website: www.faustusband.com

FAUSTUS – Broken Down Gentlemen

FAUSTUS Broken Down GentlemenMy mum had a turn of phrase for the opening track of the latest Faustus album and that was ‘rumpy-pumpy’. Although some may see this as disparaging I do know what she meant (she even wondered why I liked ‘folk’ music at all) but ever since I first heard the original Albion Band I’ve been sold on this quintessentially ‘English’ approach to our genre of music. The opening track “Broken Down Gentlemen” is the kind of song that responds well to the squeezebox/fiddle led introduction which punctuates the lyrics sung (presumably) by Benji Kirkpatrick. The ‘Penny Dreadful’ style dramatization of our hero who loses his coach and six to his landlord (a bit like the Sheriffs in the current daytime BBC TV series) is full of established folklore just ripe for modern interpretation. Personally I’m pleased to see there’s no namby-pamby arrangements just good, honest workman-like let’s-get-stuck-in rhythm and lead lines topped by equally impressive vocals and another song worth checking out is the seemingly indestructible shanty “Og’s Eye Man/Ring Her Bell” which has managed to avoid the heavily clichéd reggae arrangements of shanties that are proving so popular at the moment. On a slightly negative point I would like to say that the lack of lyrics, song notes and information in the accompanying booklet is sorely missed but then again this would perhaps be better suited to a page on their website. Other than that, this is a very good album well worth a space in your ‘folk’ collection.

PETE FYFE

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Artist web link for latest tour dates: www.faustusband.com

Bellowhead reveal video for new single ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’

Bellowhead Broadside Fresh from their victory as winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album, 11-piece folk super-group Bellowhead reveal their new video for their already incredibly successful single, Roll The Woodpile Down. It’s no secret that Bellowhead are one of the best live bands around (as their 5 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Live Band will attest) and this brand new video showcases the band in their element – live at a sell-out show in Glasgow.

Roll The Woodpile Down is the second single to be taken from the band’s new, Top 20, album Broadside. Vocalist, and arranger, Jon Boden explains a little more about the track:

This is a song I’ve known for ages – I think I first heard it sung in the pub in Durham where I used to hang out. I came up with the basic idea backstage in Birkenhead on the tour before last – I was a bit bored so started doing a bit of fiddle singing in the dressing room. It’s often just a little thing that’s gives you a door into an arrangement – with Woodpile it was adding an extra beat to the ‘Georgia Line’ so that you can get more vocal impact out of it. From there it was just a case of finding a second melody line to set against the song tune (this ended up being a simple oboe riff) and then putting it all together with the band. It’s been working really well live, particular since all the airplay on Radio 2 – people really know the chorus now!


Paul Johnson interviewed Jon Boden at the Broadside Album Launch back in October. If you missed it, you can click on the player below and have a listen…

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