BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – the winners

Radio 2 Folk Awards

Leonard Cohen inducted into Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame
Dervish and Wizz Jones win Lifetime Achievement Awards

The winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2019 have been announced in a ceremony presented by Mark Radcliffe at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester as part of the Manchester Folk Festival. The ceremony was also broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.

The full list of winners

The Horizon Award for best emerging act – presented by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
Brìghde Chaimbeul

Musician of the Year – presented by Blue Peter’s Lindsey Russell
Seckou Keita

Best Original Track – presented by comedian, writer and musician Rich Hall
I Burn But I Am Not Consumed’, written by Karine Polwart and Steven Polwart

Best Duo or Group – presented by Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

Best Traditional Track – presented by award winning author, Joanne Harris
The Foggy Dew’ by Ye Vagabonds

Life Achievement Awards were given to:
Wizz Jones – presented by singer and founding member of The Hollies, Allan Clarke
Dervish – presented by journalist and BBC Breakfast presenter, Steph McGovern

Best Album – presented by musician and songwriter Graham Gouldman, of 10cc
Hide And Hair by The Trials of Cato

Folk Singer of the Year – presented by actor and comedian, Miranda Richardson
Ríoghnach Connolly

Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame
Leonard Cohen

During the evening, contemporary folk musician and singer Maddie Morris, who is based in Leeds, was presented with the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. It was presented to her by folk duo and former winners of the award, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar.

The Radio 2 Young Folk Award is an educational talent contest, open to musicians from the UK aged 16-21, that exists to discover the next generation of folk and acoustic acts. Eight shortlisted acts performed at a public concert at the HOME venue in Manchester on Tuesday 15th October and from those acts, Maddie was chosen as the winner by a panel of judges. This year marks the 21st annual Young Folk Award.

Leonard Cohen was inducted to the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame, joining such past greats like Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Woody Guthrie, Ewan MacColl and Cecil Sharp. Leonard (1934 –2016) was a Canadian singer best known for his seminal song, Hallelujah (1984) which has been covered by over 300 vocalists including John Cale, Jeff Buckley, k.d. Lang and Alexandra Burke.  He embarked on a world tour in 2008-2010, which saw him perform on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival (2008) and in 2018, he won a Grammy Award for best rock performance for You Want It Darker, joining the likes of David Bowie and Ray Charles who have also received awards posthumously. The BBC Two documentary Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love, which tells the beautiful yet tragic love story of Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

As a tribute, singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore performed Cohen’s 1984 song, ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’, during the ceremony at Bridgewater Hall this evening. Thea, who has just released her 16th studio album at 39 years old, has gathered a host of high-profile advocates from likes of Bruce Springsteen and Joan Baez to Neil Gaiman. Her latest album, Small World Turning, is an entirely independent album that echoes the changing political and social landscape of 2019 Britain.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 said: “A huge congratulations to all of the winners at the Radio 2 Folk Awards tonight. I am delighted that at Radio 2, we can keep celebrating the very best of folk music every year, and we’re honoured to have witnessed such an array of sensational performances on stage this evening in Manchester.”

Lifetime Achievement Award winners Dervish, who performed at the ceremony this evening, have been bringing Irish traditional music to the world for 30 years, and have played at festivals across the globe – from Rock In Rio to Glastonbury. The band features some of Ireland’s finest traditional musicians, and is fronted by one of the country’s best known singers, Cathy Jordan.

Shane Mitchell from Dervish says: “We are thrilled and so delighted to be receiving this very special honour at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, particularly as this is the 30th anniversary of the band.”

Influential folk and blues guitarist Wizz Jones, also a winner of a Lifetime Achievement Award this year, is admired and emulated by some of folk and rock’s greatest players. On the 1960s club scene, he was an early influence on the likes of Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. Bruce Springsteen is among the artists to have covered Wizz’s songs. At 80 years old, he still tours the country, regularly performing live with his son, Simeon Jones, and fellow guitarist Pete Berryman. Wizz also performed at the Radio 2 Folk Awards this evening.

Wizz Jones says: “I am so surprised to get this award so thanks a million to whoever suggested it!”

Opening the show was Manchester band Edward II, who fuse English and Jamaican influences. Young English voice Kitty Macfarlane joined the band on stage. There were also fantastic performances from Welsh-Senegalese duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, English folk singer-songwriter Kate Rusby and O’Hooley & Tidow, who performed their song Gentleman Jack, which featured in the BBC One TV show of the same name. Dervish were also joined on stage during their performance by Kate Rusby, for a version of Down By The Salley Gardens, which then exploded into thrilling Irish tunes.

Mark Radcliffe was also presented with a special Folk Award during the ceremony this evening by Ralph McTell, to celebrate his 40 years in radio. Mark started at Piccadilly Radio in 1979 as an assistant producer of drama and classical music, then in 1981 presented his first show, titled Transmission. In 1983 he become a producer at BBC Radio 1 and went on to present the Breakfast Show and Afternoon Show with Marc Riley, before joining Radio 2 in 2004 where, in 2007, he began co-hosting The Radcliffe & Maconie Show with Stuart. And in 2011 they joined the BBC Radio 6 Music family. Mark presents The Folk Show on Radio 2 on Wednesday evenings, 9pm-10pm.

The Radio 2 Folk Awards will be available to listen to for 30 days after the live broadcast on BBC Sounds. Plus, selected highlights can be heard the following week on BBC Radio 2’s The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe (Wednesday 23rd October, 9pm-10pm).

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards are produced by 7digital.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2019/folk-awards-winners

 

YE VAGABONDS – Ye Vagabonds (Inglenook Records YVB01)

Ye VagabondsI heard Ye Vagabonds supporting Roy Harper at the Festival Hall last year, and that is a hell of a gig for a duo who hadn’t yet released an album. They took it in their stride, however, and I was impressed with the way they sounded.

Ye Vagabonds are brothers Diarmuid and Brían Mac Gloinn from Dublin. Diarmuid plays guitar while Brían handles most of the decoration on bouzouki, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar. Both have strong voices and sing together as only siblings can. All the material here is original except for the traditional ‘Lowlands Of Holland’ which closes the set.

Pinning down a definition of their sound is difficult. They are supported by Alain Mc Fadden on harmonium and mandolin and Nicholas Cooper’s strings. The harmonium can provide a drone and the massed strings can give a sense of the ethereal, almost magical. ‘Lowlands Of Holland’ is certainly Irish and the boys borrowed their tune from Paddy Tunney. It’s the only time that their Irish accents are allowed to dominate but their original material seems to reflect their heritage.

The opener, ‘Go Where You Will’, is a big song to start with – nothing ethereal about it – but the imagery of the love story evokes for me thoughts of an old draughty castle and pictures of wild Irish weather. The second single, ‘Half Blind’, uses similar rural images of “irons in the fire” and “dangling on the line”. The first single, ‘Song Long Forgotten’, has a mysterious lyric, clearly a metaphor, but for what? Perhaps it’s just about morning, continuing the theme of the beautiful ‘Wake Up’. ‘Whistling Wind’ sets its cap firmly against religion which may still count as brave but my top track is ‘Way Up On The Mountain’, another enigmatic lyric. If you were to ask what it was about, I’d suggest that the answer would be “life” which is what most songs are about in some way or another.

Ye Vagabonds have made a fine debut album; beautifully played songs that will take you off somewhere in your imagination.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website: http://www.yevagabonds.com/

‘Go Where You Will’ live:

Irish duo Ye Vagabonds announce their debut album

Ye Vagabonds

Buoyed by the success of their debut EP Rose & Briar in 2015, and continuing support from respected musicians like Lisa Hannigan, Roy Harper and Glen Hansard; brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn, who form Ye Vagabonds, are set to release their highly anticipated debut album on Friday 13th October 2017, on their own label: Inglenook Records.

Expect harmony rich folk music, influenced by Irish traditional music, Appalachian singing, and the 1960’s folk revival. Ye Vagabonds’ album is comprised of ten mellow tracks weaved with thoughtful lyrics, thickly layered with strings and droning harmonium.

The album was recorded by Nick Rayner between The Meadow recording studios in Wicklow, and Rayner’s studio in West Cork.

The first single from the album ‘Song Long Forgotten’, with an accompanying video from filmmaker Myles O’Reilly and artist Conor Campbell, is out now. With the second single, “Half Blind” due to be released today

The official album launch will take place over three nights in Dublin and Carlow. The Dublin launch will be celebrated in the back room of The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin, on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th October (both nights are sold out). There will also be a special free lunchtime show instore at Marrowbone Books in the Coombe, Dublin, at 3 pm on Friday 13th.

A homecoming album launch will take place at the Pembroke Club D’Art in Carlow, on Saturday 14th October, with a following tour to be announced.

Artist’s website: http://www.yevagabonds.com/

‘Song Long Forgotten’ – official video: