News - BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Nominations

The nominees for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018 were announced this week...

Now in its 19th year, this will be the first time the annual event has been held in Northern Ireland as this year’s Awards ceremony, presented by Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis, will take place at the Belfast Waterfront on Wednesday 4th April. 

Accolades will be awarded in the following categories: Folk Singer Of The Year, Best Duo, Best Group, Best Album, Horizon Award, Musician Of The Year, Best Original Track, Best Traditional Track and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. The Album of the Year category is open for public vote now on the BBC Radio 2 website and closes on the 16th of February.

Three out of four nominees in the Folk Singer of the Year category are female Scottish artists with Karine Polwart, Julie Folwis and Siobhan Miller all up for the award. Polwart is also nominated in the album of the year category for A Pocket of Wind Resistance with Pippa Murphy; while Siobhan Miller gets a second nomination in the Best Traditional Track Category for Bank of Newfoundland, taken from her Creative Scotland funded 2017 release, Strata.

The evening will welcome an array of special guests and will include performances from Cara Dillon, Paul Brady, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band and Lankum. An emotive and captivating performer, Dillon is celebrated for entwining traditional and contemporary elements in her music and has long been admired for her exquisite voice. Born in Belfast and raised in Strabane, singer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Brady is one of Ireland’s best-loved songwriters and enduringly popular artists, as well as one of the finest interpreters of traditional song.

Eliza Carthy MBE has been one of the stand-out voices in English folk music for more than 20 years. A natural storyteller and inimitable singer, Eliza combines grit and power with grace, and restlessly explores the potential of the folk genre.

Lankum, the band formerly known as Lynched, are a Dublin group making a big impression wherever they go. They combine unfiltered singing, instinctive playing and obsessive research to create vital music which reflects life in past and present Ireland.

Last year’s event saw performances by American roots-rock musician and songwriter Ry Cooder, who sang Jesus On The Mainline, and British singer-songwriter Al Stewart, who performed his 1977 song, On The Border. The evening also saw spectacular performances from Afro Celt Sound System, Shirley Collins MBE and Billy Bragg, plus folk icon Woody Guthrie was inducted into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame.

Mark Radcliffe said “I’m genuinely thrilled to be making my first ever visit to Belfast for the Folk Awards. I plan to spend a good few days absorbing the history and the culture and then what an honour it will be to take to the stage with home-grown legends Paul Brady and Cara Dillon - it promises to be a very special night.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister also expressed his delight at the city hosting the awards, saying “Belfast has such a strong musical heritage, and a really vibrant wave of new musicians coming through – so it’s the perfect choice. The theme for my year in office is ‘Global Belfast’, so I also really welcome the profile that the event will create for us amongst Radio 2 listeners, many of whom I hope will visit and experience first-hand the warm welcome that we’re renowned for the world over.”

Listen to some of the nominations with this playlist

Tickets are now available from

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be simulcast live from 7.30-9.00pm on Radio 2 and BBC Radio Ulster, and after the show selected highlights will be available to watch at Highlights of the Folk Awards will be broadcast on BBC Four/BBC Northern Ireland at a later date and the show will be available on BBC iPlayer.

Here's the full list of nominees:

Folk Singer of the Year

Cara Dillon
Julie Fowlis
Karine Polwart
Siobhan Miller

Best Duo

Chris Stout & Catriona McKay
O’Hooley & Tidow
Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton

Best Group

Elephant Sessions
Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys

Best Album

Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band – Big Machine
Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy – A Pocket of Wind Resistance
Lankum – Between the Earth and Sky
The Young’uns – Strangers

Horizon Award

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
Georgia Lewis
Ryan Young

Musician of the Year

Martin Simpson
Mohsen Amini
Ross Ainslie
Tim Edey

Best Original Track

Be The Man - The Young’uns
Cân y cŵn - Gwyneth Glyn
The Granite Gaze – Lankum
The Great Saint Lawrence River - Declan O’Rourke

Best Traditional Track

Banks of Newfoundland - Siobhan Miller
Lisa Lân - Alaw
Lowlands of Holland - Ye Vagabonds
The Life of a Man / Greensleeves - Chris Foster

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

Jack Warnock
Josiah & Ludwig
Mera Royle
The Drystones

The Radio 2 Folk Awards are a 7digital Creative production for Radio 2 and produced by Kellie While and Jon Lewis.

Images - BBC