This year we were contacted by the BBC and asked if we would like to feature performances from the BBC Folk Awards night…which we of course agreed to! You can read through our take on the night as well as watch performance highlights etc. The winners are clearly shown throughout and summarised at the end. We’ve also included a full album stream (via Deezer) of the BBC Folk Awards 2013 album which features all the nominees.
Well it was a big night of the year for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards which took place during Celtic Connectons in Scotland’s Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. They were opened to rapturous applause as Mark Radcliffe and the lovely Julie Fowlis took to the stage to host the evening. Things kicked off quickly with a performance by the fabulous Treacherous Orchestra with the track ‘Hounds’:
PERFORMANCE: Treacherous Orchestra – Hounds
BEST DUO: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
The Best Duo award was presented by Julia Donaldson who is best known for her popular rhyming stories for children, especially those illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which include The Gruffalo. She was also once in a duo, she revealed, performing in the folk clubs of Brighton.
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman have worked together for twenty years now and Sean thanked everyone who goes to gigs at folk clubs and the village halls around the country…a theme that was raised throughout the night to remind people that it was this kind of touring that provides the life blood of the scene.
HORIZON AWARD: Blair Dunlop
The Horizon Award was presented by Green Gartside, frontman of the band Scritti Politti. He praised all the nominees and pointed out that the winner has a way with melody well beyond his years.
Blair Dunlop was incredibly humbled by the whole experience and thanked people and organisers who booked him two years ago and gave him a chance.
PERFORMANCE: Dougie MacLean – Holding Back
BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK: Lord Douglas by Jim Moray
Mark Radcliffe provided some unplanned entertainment as he struggled over the pronounciation of Kathleen MacInnes Tha Sneachd’ air Druim Uachdair which Julie Fowlis wasn’t going to let him forget.
The award was presented by Scottish Crimewriter Denise Mina and it went to Jim Moray for Lord Douglas…Jim is not a man of many words and his speech was very fast…I sipped my drink and he was gone!
FRUK LINK: Interview: Jim Moray – Skulk
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR: Kathryn Tickell
The award was presented by Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue whose jokes seemed to miss the mark (an annual incident of one or two presenters if look back on previous years).
I was very pleased that Kathryn Tickell picked this award up and she carried her speech off in her usual charming way…”I was just so looking forward to coming up to Glasgow to hang out with my pals and I wouldn’t have worn these high heels.” She ended with a reminder that it wasn’t just about her it was also about the generations of musicians that have kept the tradtion alive.
PERFORMANCE: Karine Polwart – King of Birds
This performance was magical, Karine Polwart dedicated the song to The Occupy Movement who inspired the song after occupying outside St. Pauls Cathedral.
FRUK LINK: Karine Polwart – Traces: Review & Interview
BEST GROUP: Lau
The awards saw their first footballer take to the stage to present the Best Group category. Patrick Nevin, now retired, has played for Clyde, Chelsea, Everton, Tranmere Rovers, Kilmarnock and Motherwell as a winger. He explained how as he has grown older that folk music has come closer to his foreground having been influenced by his Scots/Irish upbringing. Needless to say we were over the moon that Lau picked this award up. There was no missing Kris Drever as he took to the stage towering over everyone! Martin took the helm for the speech and thanked the fans and clubs that had booked them over the years!
PERFORMANCE: Lau – Torsa
FRUK LINK: Review of Lau – Race the Loser
ROOTS AWARD: BILLY BRAGG
Martin Carthy presented the Roots Award which was very fitting. Martin was by far the best at this role…he gave a great insight into Billy Bagg’s life and included a story or two about him. He recalled when they first met when Billy admitted to being a Watersons fan and that he and his roadie used to sing Waterson songs to eachother when crossing over to the continent wile touring…Although he didn’t say who the roadie was he did say that he later became a Radio One DJ…he was of course referring to Andy Kershaw!
He mentioned that Bragg had always been a political animal and mentioned Red Wedge (Bragg supported the miners’ during their 1984 strike, and the following year he formed the musicians’ alliance Red Wedge).
He also spoke of his work in prisons and the organisation he founded ‘Jail Guitar Doors‘ (taking its name from the song by The Clash) which supplies instruments to prisoners to encourage them to address problems in a non-confrontational way.
He priased for his directness when confronting issues, how he was never afraid to meet head on with something he believed in. He gave the example of his refusal to allow the Cross of St George to be used by the BNP.
He also reminded everyone of the honour Billy was given when Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora Guthrie allowed him to delve into her father’s song archives. From that project came Mermaid Avenue (1998 Bragg and the band Wilco), an album featuring previously unheard of songs by Woody Guthrie.
Billy was very humbled and mentioned that “I’m a bit of an outsider…but I fit in by writing topical songs that fit in.” He added that “It’s been the folk audience that has kept that alive…more power to them.” it was a powerful moment and it was great to hear him say it!…he went on to perform:
PERFORMANCE BY BILLY BRAGG: Ideology / Handyman Blues
BBC RADIO 2 YOUNG FOLK AWARD: Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
The award was presented by Scottish folk musician, record producer and composer John McCusker. He highlighted the rise in music schools teaching tradtional folk music and quipped that it was “now difficult to go into a bar in Glasgow and not hear the bagpipes which is annoying.”
Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar gave a great speech, it was light-hearted and their innocence in thanking their teacher for getting the day off school just went to highlight how massive a break this award is or them.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Hatchlings by Emily Portman
The award was presented by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Emily Portman’s path in music has always been very individual and her focus and take on myths legends and folksongs has always been unique. It’s a exceptional album.
PERFORMANCE: Mary Chapin Carpenter – Chasing What’s Already Gone
BEST ALBUM: Broadside – Bellowhead
This was presented by Cerys Matthews…who reminded everyone it had been a good year folk music (she does an equally good job of championing it on her own show on BBC 6 Music). She also said it had been a good year for the Roses and highlighted Sam Lee’s arrival onto the scene…and let’s face it, that was a mighty one to have gotten a Mercury nomination! The mighty Bellowhead won the day who have proven again that they are a powerhouse even when under the public vote!
LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Roy Harper
These were presented by Michael Eavis (head man of the Glastonbury FEstival)…he sported shorts which led to numerous tweets as you can probably imagine…the best coming from Karine Polwart who was taken by his bravery in the cold of Scotland: “I should add Michael Eavis Mr Glastonbury is wearing shorts AND a suit jaiket … In Glasgow. Is there an award for that?”
Anyway…it was great to see Roy Harper finally getting recognition. He was so chilled and he provided a good few laughs. He announced how honoured he was to be receiving the award any by the farmer who allows people onto his land to trample coke tins into his arable land…Eavis shouted from the side “IT’s DAIRY!”
Roy went onto voice what maybe many fans had long felt: “I don’t belong anywhere…I don’t know whether I’m grateful or not but the BBC have finally found somewhere to put me. It’s nice to be back and be accepted and honoured by your peers…it is truly a life moment, so whether its the BBC or anyone here within I’d like to say thankyou.”
PERFORMANCE: Roy Harper – When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease
FRUK LINK: Roy Harper Interview
FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR: Nic Jones
This was presented by Scottish actress and singer Clare Grogan, the reaction from all that it was Nic Jones was a happy one. He is a huge influence on many and his near fatal car crash in 1982 which saw him disappear to return and tour in 2012 (with musicians Joseph Jones – Nic’s son – and Belinda O’Hooley) was a tremendous feat of endurance.
Nic thanked everyone and espeically his wife who has been his “nurse” for so long. It was a touching moment.
LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Aly Bain
Two futher Lifetime Awards were given out, the next being for Aly Bain…a prolific artist who has been on the scene since the Sixties, he was a founding member of The Boys of the Lough and has collaborated and recorded with far too many to mention here. He went on to perform with his equally prolific pal Phil Cunningham!
PERFORMANCE: Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham – Herr Rolof’s Farewell
LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Dougie MacLean
Dougie was given the award in recognition for his contribution to songwriting and to mark this award an all-star cast took to the stage to perform Caledonia, what a tribute that was! Amongst them were Scottish and English folk artists and I noticed Steve Knightley made an extra effort as he sported a kilt. It was one hell of a band!
PERFORMANCE: Dougie Maclean and Friends – Caledonia
TOP TWEETER OF THE NIGHT
Top Tweeter goes to Tim Chipping (@timchipping)
Steve Knightley is swinging free beneath that kilt
Now the cameras are switched off and the distasteful orgy begins
This is Ross Ainslie’s first ever sober Celtic. He’s horrified
There is quite a sizeable support group forming to deal with the Eavis shorts trauma
The Results of the BBC Folk Awards 2013 (Winner in bold)
FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR
Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman
Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts
Hannah James & Sam Sweeney
O’Hooley & Tidow
BEST ALBUM [Public vote with five nominees]
Broadside – Bellowhead
Ground Of Its Own – Sam Lee
Race The Loser – Lau
Skulk – Jim Moray
Traces – Karine Polwart
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
BBC RADIO 2 YOUNG FOLK AWARD
Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
Graham Mackenzie & Ciorstaidh Beaton
BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK
Lord Douglas by Jim Moray
Tha Sneachd‘ air Druim Uachdair by Kathleen MacInnes
Unknown Air by Duncan Chisholm
Wild Wood Amber by Sam Lee
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Hatchlings by Emily Portman
King of Birds by Karine Polwart
Tailor by Anaïs Mitchell
The Ballad of Andy Jacobs by Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman