The 2019 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2019 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated this year. The nominations, were in eight categories, and came from our ever-expanding team of writers and were collated into shape by the Folkmeister and the Editor over a pint or two, which also involved, a few arm-wrestles and a spot of beer-mat aerobics, in a convenient local watering hole.

There were five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2018.

As we said last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just about what we think, so once more, it was down to you, our ever-growing readership, to make the final call.

We will now compile the results and announce the winners of each category at some point next week.

*The Public Vote for each category closed at 9.00pm on Sunday 31st March (GMT+1).


Soloist Of The Year

Keith James
Reg Meuross
Rachel Newton
John Smith
Andy White


Best Duo

Gilmore & Roberts
Daria Kulesh and Jonny Dyer
Ninebarrow
Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar
Winter Wilson


Best Band

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Merry Hell
Skipinnish
Trials Of Cato
The Young’Uns


Best Live Act

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Grace Petrie
The Salts
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
Andy White


Best Album

A Problem Of Our Kind – Gilmore & Roberts
The Well Worn Path – Seth Lakeman
The Joy Of Living – Jackie Oates
Queer As Folk – Grace Petrie
Hide And Hair – Trials Of Cato


Best Musician

Martin Harley
Aidan O’Rourke
Marina Osman
John Smith
Richard Thompson


Rising Star

Burning Salt
Robert Lane
Kitty MacFarlane
Smith & Brewer
Vision Thing


Best International Artist(s)

3hattrio
Tyler Childers
Mary Gauthier
Kíla
Larkin Poe


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DARIA KULESH and JONNY DYER live at Cecil Sharp House

Daria Kulesh and Jonny Dyer
Photographs by Dai Jeffries

This wasn’t a launch event, more a pre-launch preview event for Daria’s forthcoming album, Earthly Delights, and a unique opportunity for fans to pre-order the record for delivery before Christmas. The rest of the world will just have to contain its impatience. Performing as a duo these weren’t the album arrangements but I asked Jonny what the full version of one particularly powerful song would be like. His answer: “like that only bigger and louder”.

Before the main event they started with five songs from Daria’s seasonal EPs beginning with Loreena McKennitt’s ‘The Mummers’ Dance’ from Spring Delights before moving into summer with ‘Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz’. Autumn was represented by an impassioned ‘No Man’s Land’ and Daria was really on fire but she calmed things down with ‘Les Feuilles Mortes’. Most performers use its English translation but Daria sang Yves Montand’s original French version before polishing off the hors d’oeuvres with ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes?’.

Daria KuleshIf the title Earthly Delights conjures up visions of Hieronymus Bosch, you’re not too far off. After the painful journey that led to Long Lost Home Daria says that this album will be playful and a celebration of human needs and desires but there is an inescapable sensuality about her performances and the title track is as much earthy as Earthly. “Sing a song of your soul” is the line that sticks in the memory while Jonny’s bouzouki powered through. ‘Shame Or Glory’ is about ambition but with a twist as William Topaz McGonagall and Florence Foster Jenkins are Daria’s role models here. The first set closed with ‘Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood’ in complete contrast.

The second half contained the real meat of the evening and was more exotic and more Russian, with elements of myth and fairy tale. I don’t want to give too much away now because Daria and Jonny played the whole album although, as Daria was at pains to point out, not necessarily in the right order. There were some songs we’ve heard before including ‘Rusalka’ and ‘Maid Of Light’ reworked from Kara’s first album together with ‘Pride Of Petravore’ which was just an instrumental back then. ‘Vasilisa’ was a single and is one of Daria’s big folklore ballads and finally they encored with Daria’s tri-lingual ‘Those Were The Days’ with the audience joining in with whatever language they could.

Jonny DyerIt has to be said that Jonny Dyer is the accompanist who is most simpatico as far as Daria is concerned and always brings out the best in her and I say that having heard them together three times now. This was a super show and I’m looking forward to the album and the band that has been assembled to perform it.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: http://www.daria-kulesh.co.uk/

‘Vasilisa’ – official video: