Press Office


Newcastle University graduates triumph in Radio 2 Folk Awards


The outstanding achievements of two Folk Music graduates over the past year were recognised at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in London.

Bella Hardy (pictured) won Singer of the Year in the BBC2 Folk Awards 2014 on Wednesday night (19 February) at the Royal Albert Hall; while Fay Hield’s group, The Full English, scooped both best band and best album. Nancy Kerr, a fiddle tutor on the Folk and Traditional music programme also plays in the group. Fay was also nominated for Singer of the Year.

Bella Hardy, who graduated with an MA in 2007, has been described as bringing a ‘strikingly self-controlled energy and intelligence’ to her performances. Her last album Battlefield received rave reviews.

Dr Fay Hield was part of the initial intake of students on England's first performance-based folk and traditional music degree course at Newcastle University back in 2001.

She is curator of  'The Full English' a project where a group of formidable musicians are helping to make the most important folk song collections of the 20th century widely available for the first time. An archive of English folk tunes, songs, dances and customs is now digitised and freely available online. The Full English also performed at the awards ceremony.

She said: “I'm thrilled that The Full English won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. It's a wonderful project to be involved with.

“I hope that audiences will now be inspired to explore The Full English digital archive as we have, to see what an endlessly fascinating, amazing resource it is, available to anyone, anywhere.”

Also nominated for Musician of the Year in the awards was another graduate from the University’s Folk and Traditional Music programme, Will Pound. A recent Daily Telegraph review said Will’s latest album ‘cements his status as one of the world’s top harmonica players’.

According to his website, Will plays both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas and creates sounds not usually heard on this little instrument in styles varying from bluegrass, folk, jazz and Arabic to blues, rock, pop and funk.

Acting head of performance in Newcastle University’s music department, Catriona Macdonald said: “We’re absolutely delighted with their success. This is a continuation of what’s happened since the very beginning of this course which is unique in England. Our graduates have a real impact on the folk music scene.”

The nominees are chosen by a panel of music industry representatives, including broadcasters, journalists, festival organisers, record company directors, agents and promoters.

Picture of Bella Hardy by Louis DeCarlo.

published on: 20 February 2014