The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for 2011 kicked off, rather appropriately some might say, at The Bewery in London. There was some great moments as well as some amusingly bad ones. As for the music: Double wins came in for Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy as well as Chris Wood and Bellowhead! Ewan McLennan picked up the Horizon Award and Andy Cutting finally got his day! Find out the rest:
The BBC Folk Award ceremonies kicked off with Bellowhead’s lively rendition of New York Girls. There is no shadow of a doubt that Bellowhead are a ‘must see’ live act. Whilst Hedonism was bound to bring rewards their way, it is on the stage where they come alive!
The selection of some of the presenters was, to say the least, puzzling in some cases. Both myself and Amanda ventured cries of “how much longer are they going to go on” more than once.
Best Duo Award – Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
Charles Hazelwood (conductor) presented the Best Duo Award and made a mention of Arts funding cuts and quoted an Ivor Cutler poem that no one seemed to get. The Award went to Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, who like most winners of the night, were humbled by the award. James thanked Nancy for an incredible 15 Years, and with the material they have been producing to date he will be thanking her for many more to come.
Nancy Kerr & James Fagan – Queen of Waters. Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2010
Best Traditional Track – Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy (Poor Wayfaring Stranger)
There were some strong contenders for this category, including Andy Irivine. Maddy prior presented the award and gave the winner away immediately by telling a story about when she first met Norma Waterson and heard The Watersons sing. The award went to Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy for Poor Wayfaring Stranger, from the album Gift. Despite the strong contenders I was pleased that Norma and Eliza picked up the award. Eliza accepted the award on her mother’s behalf who has been in intensive care for the last three months.
Best Group – Bellowhead
Next, Laura Marling performed a live solo set, she had been a nominee for the Best Original Song (Rambling Man), after which Tamsin Greig stepped up to announce the Best Group Winner. Her game of ‘can you guess who it is yet’ went on a bit too long but she gave the game away when she announced “I love a horn section…my husband can vouch for that!” After that is was a slow death in front of a silent crowd until she announced Bellowhead as the winners.
Laura Marling – Flicker And Fail Live Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011
BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award – Moore/Moss/Rutter
The BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards were combined with the main Folk Awards this year due to spending cuts which was a real shame as we didn’t get to see all the nominees perform. Seeing as these are the artists who will often carry a tradition forward it would have been good to see more. Ten acts were whittled down in a series of workshops in November until four remained. Thankfully, Tim Van Eyken took the stage to present this award which was a refreshing change from the last presenter, you can see a theme already…The winners were Moore/Moss/Rutter
Moore,Moss & Rutter@Shepley Spring Festival 2010
Musician of the Year – Andy Cutting
Chris Wood performed Hollow Point after which Roger Daltry took to the stage to announce Musician of the Year as Andy Cutting. A worthy award, seeing as his self-titled debut took him nine years (see our review here) and he is one of the best known musicians on the British folk circuit whose name crops up on numerous sleeve notes.
Best original song – Chris Wood (Hollow Point)
The Best original song award went to Chris Wood for Hollow Point. He was presented the award by Chris Difford of Squeeze fame which Chris seemed quite honoured by. Like Eliza Carthy he kept his words short but was clearly humbled by the award.
Chris Wood performing Hollow Point at Folk Awards 2011
Horizon Award – Ewan McLennan
Barbara Dickson performed her version of My Donald before the Horizon Award was announced by Andy Irvine who told a great story of working as an actor for the BBC as well as performing a Blind Boy Fuller number on TV back in 1961. Andy was clearly pleased at the award outcome as he announced he ‘was pleased to be awarding it to a fellow Celt’. I was over the moon that Ewan McLennan got this award! Great news! We featured Ewan back in January 2010 as a great new talent so we were naturally very happy.
Album of the Year – Eliza carthy and Norma Waterson (Gift)
Kate Rusby performed with two members of her band, including husband, Damien O’Kane before author Joanna Trollope announced Eliza carthy and Norma Waterson as winners of Album of the Year for their album Gift. Another worthy award the news of which I hope will bring some cheer to Norma and hopefully closer to the road of recovery.
Norma Waterson & Eliza Carthy Live at MusicPort 2010
Lifetime Achievement – Donovan
The Lifetime Achievement Award was no surprise having already been announced. Donovon told many stories as did Mark Radcliffe who presented the award who is no stranger to folk music. What gave everyone a laugh was Mark’s mention to Donovon of foolishly losing both daughters to members of the Happy Mondays. Donovan gave a few stories including a mention of his upbringing and his memories of his Scottish roots and his father singing ballads. He also gave great praise to Martin Carthy before announcing that he “watered the roots of the young ones branching out today”.
Best Live Act – Bellowhead
Best Live Act was presented by Frank Skinner who seemed to have a problem keeping his Folkie jokes in which became a bit tiresome, especially as he did the same thing two years ago. Obviously the BBC felt it was a good entertainment to invite him back again. The award went to Bellowhead, who seemed by this point to be getting into the spirit, some more than others. All good fun!
Good Tradition Award – Fisherman’s Friends
Kate Rusby presented the Good Tradition Award, just a shame they didn’t have the manners to adjust the microphone for her as it loomed above her head…anyway…it went to Fisherman’s Friends who netted a £1m contract with universal recently. Enough said on that one…although their speech was brilliant!
Roots Award – The Levellers
Jeremy Vine presented the Roots Award to none other than The Levellers. The title of the award was maybe misleading. It’s aimed at acts who have kept true to ‘their’ roots, which in the case of The Levellers you cannot argue. They have been performing religously the songs of protest and making their voices heard since the release of A Weapon Called the Word in 1990. Likewise, their Beautiful Days festival has been going since 2006 which has included both progressive and traditonal folk acts.
Folksinger of the year – Chris Wood
The Folksinger of the year Award was presented by Joan Armatrading to Chris Wood. Another humble appearance from Chris for the second time of the night. You can’t help but like the man as he announced that he just sat at home and wrote these songs from his soul.
The night was rounded off by an amazing double perfomance by The Levellers:
Until Next year then…
Best Duo: Nancy Kerr and James Fagan
Best Traditional Track: Norma and Eliza: Poor Wayfaring Stranger
Best Group: Bellowhead
BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award: Moore/Moss/Rutter
Musician of the Year: Andy Cutting
Best original song: Chris Wood – hollow point
Horizon Award: Ewan McLennan
Album of the Year: Eliza carthy and norma – Gift
Lifetime Achievement: Donovan
Best Live Act: Bellowhead
Good Tradition Award: Fisherman’s Friends
Roots Award: The Levellers
Folksinger of the year: Chris Wood
For a limited time you can watch the Folk Awards Live on BBC Watch Again here