Donovan will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards 2011 on Monday 7 February, as well performing an acoustic version of one of his classic songs.
A legendary folk-pop troubadour, Donovan began his career as an itinerant folk musician, creating acoustic hits in 1965 with the gentle Catch The Wind and Colours and his version of Buffy Sainte Marie’s protest anthem Universal Soldier. He collaborated with The Beatles and influenced Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison in their guitar styles; and during his enduring career has played with folk music greats including Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan.
This year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards also has a special honour – the Good Tradition Award – for shanty choir, Fisherman’s Friends, whose album Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends made history in 2010, being the first ever album of traditional folk music to debut in the top 10 of the network album charts.
The Radio 2 Folk Awards, now in their 12th year, will be co-hosted by the network’s weekly folk show presenter Mike Harding and folk singer and West End star, Barbara Dickson, from The Brewery in London on Monday 7 February 2011.
For the first time, the event will be broadcast live on Radio 2 following a special edition of Simon Mayo’s Drivetime which will also be broadcast live from the venue from 5-7.45pm. The ceremony will also be streamed live online and on the BBC Red Button from 7.45–10pm, with highlights on the Radio 2 website and the Red Button the following day.
As well as performances from Donovan and Fisherman’s Friends, there will be performances from The Levellers, Bellowhead, Kate Rusby, Chris Wood, and the evening’s co-host Barbara Dickson. Guest presenters include actress Tamsin Greig (who is currently starring in BBC Two comedy Episodes alongside Matt Le Blanc), conductor Charles Hazlewood and best-selling novelist Joanna Trollope who included a reference to the awards in one of her most recent books.
Head of Music for Radio 2 and 6 Music, Jeff Smith, comments: “Radio 2 supports an eclectic mix of over 20 music genres, and folk is integral to this offering. And in 2011, for the first time The Folk Awards ceremony is combined with The Young Folk Award. By doing this, the network aims to celebrate and capture the very essence of folk music – the bringing together of generations to share and celebrate this hugely important music scene.”
This year, exuberant folk big band Bellowhead are leading the way with four nominations following the release earlier this year of their album Hedonism, which was recorded at the iconic Abbey Road studios and produced by legendary producer John Leckie. They are nominated in the categories Best Group, Best Live Act, Best Album for Hedonism and Best Traditional Track for New York Girls. Their front man, Jon Boden, is also nominated in the Folk Singer of the Year category.
Making his mark once again on the event, having won two Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2009, Chris Wood is short-listed for Folk Singer of the Year, Best Album for Handmade Life and Best Original Song for the affecting ballad Hollow Point.
A debut duo album for mother and daughter Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson has seen them gain three nominations this year – Best Duo, Best Album for Gift and Best Traditional Track for Wayfaring Stranger. Vocal trio Coope Boyes & Simpson pick up nominations for Best Group and Best Album for As If…; and the hugely popular duo Nancy Kerr & James Fagan are in the running for Best Duo; while Nancy’s Queen Of Waters makes the final four in the Best Original Song category.
There are several artists this year receiving their first ever Folk Award nominations. Following the release of her latest album The Last Star, Irish singer Heidi Talbot is nominated for Folk Singer of the Year and Best Traditional Track for Willie Taylor; prodigious talent Laura Marling is nominated for Best Original Song for Rambling Man; and Cornish shanty choir Fisherman’s Friends are nominated for Best Group.
Following another year of great live performances, The Unthanks and The Demon Barbers are both again in the running for Best Live Act. Also short-listed in the Best Live Act category are two of last year’s festival hits – leading exponents of Shetland’s rich fiddle tradition Fiddlers’ Bid and Bellowhead.
Promising traditional singers Ewan McLennan and Fay Hield make the final four in the Horizon award for best emerging artist alongside Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell and Emily Portman.
This year by combining for the first time The Folk Awards and The Young Folk Award, Radio 2 aims to create an event that truly celebrates folk music and give burgeoning young musicians the unique opportunity to mix with their musical heroes and influences.
The Young Folk Award is Radio 2’s annual search for the most promising young folk artist in the UK. The initiative is open to anyone aged 15 to 20 who performs folk, roots or acoustic music with roots in any culture as a band, duo or soloist.
The four nominees were selected by a panel of judges following a semi-final weekend of workshops and performance in November. At the Awards ceremony, the winner of the thirteenth Young Folk Awards 2011 will be announced. The nominees are:
Adam Holmes – aged 19 from Edinburgh is a singer-songwriter and guitarist
David Gibb & Elly Lucas – aged 20 and 19 from Derbyshire who play guitar, fiddle and sing
Mairi & Steaphanaidh Chaimbeul – sisters aged 16 and 17 from the Isle of Skye who play clarsach, saxophone and sing
Moore/Moss/Rutter – a trio aged 16, 16 and 18 from across England who play fiddle, melodeon and guitar