Mark Radcliffe hosts Radio 2’s 20th annual celebration of folk and acoustic music, live from the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. Dervish, O’Hooley & Tidow, Edward II, Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita, Wizz Jones and Kate Rusby are among the performers. |Listen online
Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Ye Vagabonds and Kitty McFarlane also nominated; Dervish to receive Lifetime Achievement Award. Listen to our playlist of all 2019 nominees.
Irish folk singer Lisa O’Neill has been nominated for four awards: Folk Singer of the Year, Best Traditional Track (‘Factory Girl’ with Radie Peat), Best Original Track (‘Blackbird’), and Best Album for Heard a Long Gone Song. The album was released last October on the River Lea label and also received a nomination in the inaugural RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards.
Welsh harper Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita have received two nominations (Best Album and Best Duo/Group), and Keita has also received a third as Musician of the Year. Finch and Keita’s duet album Soar has already won ‘Best Fusion’ album in the Songlines Music Awards and the fRoots Critics Album of the Year for 2018. The other nominees in Best Album are Flook’s Ancora and Hide and Hair by The Trials Of Cato. Voting for Best Album is open to the public in the UK.
Along with Finch and Keita, the groups Stick in the Wheel, The Breath and The Rheingans Sisters also received a nomination in the Best Duo/Group category. The other nominees for Best Musician of the Year are Jenn Butterworth, Mohsen Amini and Sam Sweeney.
Emerging artists and songs
Scots piper Brìghde Chaimbeul, who released The Reeling last year, produced by Lau’s Aidan O’Rourke, has received a nomination in the Horizon award (for emerging artists), along with Kinnaris Quintet, Kitty Macfarlane (who features on the Topic 80th anniversary album), and The Trials Of Cato, who won Best Emerging Artist/Band at the first Wales Folk Awards in April.
Ye Vagabonds (below), who received two nominations in the RTÉ Folk Awards last year, have been nominated for Best Traditional Track with ‘The Foggy Dew’ from their new album The Hare’s Lament. ‘Ffoles Llantrisant’ by VRï (which won the equivalent Welsh Folk Award with the same song) and ‘The Reedcutter’s Daughter’ by Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith have also been nominated, along with O’Neill and Peat.
Singers and musicians
The nominees for Folk Singer of the Year are Ríoghnach Connolly from Armagh, Olivia Chaney who has released two albums on the Nonesuch label, Gwilym Bowen Rhys (also Best Solo Artist at the Welsh Folk Awards) and O’Neill.
Kris Drever from Lau has been nominated in the Best Original Track section for ‘Scapa Flow 1919’, about the scuttling of a German fleet in the Orkney Islands after World War I. Also nominated are ‘I Burn But I Am Not Consumed’ by Karine Polwart from her album Law of Motion, ‘O-U-T Spells Out’ by Kathryn Tickell and The Darkening (‘An ironic look at borders, walls, barriers, Brexit…’), and O’Neill’s ‘Blackbird’.
It has also been announced that Dervish will received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. Commenting on the honour, the band’s accordionist Shane Mitchell said: ‘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.’ The group will perform on the night.
The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards take place at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on 16 October as part of the Manchester Folk Festival. See the full list of nominees and listen to our playlist of all artists below. For more information, visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00yrkrj.
CHARLES Rennie Mackintosh’s Queen’s Cross Church, with its elegant synthesis of art nouveau, Scots baronial and Japanese influences, made an appropriate setting for the magical cross-cultural convergence of Welsh classical harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita.
The complementary timbres – the big, rounded tones of European pedal harp and bright chatter and whirr of west African harp-lute – shifted between urgent cascades, tidal pulses and mesmerising riff-spinning. Their opener, the stately voyaging of Clarach, was inspired by the migration of ospreys from Wales to West Africa (overflying the frightened, upturned faces of migrants in crowded boats, heading the other way) and introduced Keita’s mellifluous Mandinka singing.
In a further entwining of worlds, Bach to Baïsso swirled the familiar aria of the Goldberg Variations into another realm altogether, while an elegy for a drowned Welsh village had Finch intoning in reproachful Welsh over murmuring strings: “Remember Tryweryn”.
The luscious pulses and lively percussive dialogue of 1677 seemed almost inappropriately joyful for its subject, an infamous slaving station, while the encore strains of Keita’s Bamba cast their benignly hyonotic spell right to the end.
Two brief but engaging opening sets also skipped across cultures and genres. The spirited flute, Hardanger fiddle and accordion of the Snowflake Trio morphed a familiar Irish slip jig into a spry Norwegian dance, while solo harpist Rachel Newton drew on Gaelic song and fairy folklore, but finished with her own heartfelt metamorphosis of Dolly Parton’s Jolene. – JIM GILCHRIST