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Life after the Young Folk Award: Jeana Leslie

Jon Lewis | 20:36 UK time, Monday, 22 November 2010

Past winners of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller, are our bloggers this week. Here's Jeana:

"Friday 7 December 2007 at the Queen Elizabeth Hall was where it all began for myself and Siobhan, when we were announced the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners for 2008. Anyone who knows us will vouch for me when I say, neither of us are ever really stuck for words, but when the result was announced we were both speechless!

"Since then we have had a fantastic time. We signed to Greentrax and made our debut album, and we've been lucky to perform at some great festivals like Cambridge, Cropredy and Towersey. The Orkney Folk Festival is always a favourite of mine (not biased in any way!). A highlight for us was in January 2009 when we were asked to do support at Glasgow City Halls for Judy Collins as part of Celtic Connections.

"In Autumn 2009 we did a three and a half week tour of Austria which also took us to Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Norway was also a very enjoyable place to perform. On St Andrew's day that year we were asked to perform at the Homecoming Scotland Finale, collaborating with Phil Cunningham, Aly Bain, Julie Fowlis and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. That was a terrific experience for us both. Being used to having guitar and piano backing our voices it was very surreal to have a whole orchestra.

"Following the success of our first album we won Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.We also won the Hancock Horizon Award and were nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Horizon Award.

"Separately we have both gone on to do great things as well. I was asked to join the Germany-based Irish band CARA in March of this year. We went on to record an album, Long Distance Love, which was released on our autumn tour of Germany this year following a successful tour in the States in the summer. Coming up in December this year I will also be performing with The Chair at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards. Siobhan, at Celtic Connections this year, took part in the A Scottish Songbook concert, which had Karine Polwart at the helm as Musical Director. This December Siobhan has been nominated for the Citty Finlayson Scots Singer of the Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards. She will also be appearing on the Scottish Hogmanay Show with Phil Cunningham.

"Looking into the New Year we are honoured to be supporting the legendary Andy Irvine and John Doyle at Celtic Connections. March will be busy too as we have a tour organised in Germany. And, of course, we are looking forward to getting feedback and reviews for our new album Shadows Tall!"


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