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Welsh Music Prize 2011

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James McLaren James McLaren | 07:47 UK time, Monday, 24 October 2011

Over the years various Welsh music awards have been set up, with varying degrees of good intention; I enjoyed their hospitality and applauded the winners of such categories as 'Best Live Venue (Under 500 Capacity)'. But they didn't really mean very much in the grand scheme of things. The inaugural Welsh Music Prize is a far more focused affair - 12 artists, 12 albums, one award. And on Friday evening it went to Gruff Rhys for his third solo album Hotel Shampoo.

Gruff Rhys accepts his Welsh Music Prize

Gruff Rhys accepts his Welsh Music Prize

Rhys beat competition from big rock hitters like Manic Street Preachers, The Blackout and Funeral For A Friend. At the ceremony for the prize, which was fed into the schedule of 6 Music, Gruff said: "I'm really surprised. It was a really strong list of albums and it could have gone to anyone.

"I really didn't expect to win, so I didn't prepare anything," he said as he mounted the dais and accepted the prize from Radio Wales presenter Adam Walton.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Radio 1's Huw Stephens - one of the brains behind the prize - said: "People need to be introduced to new music that's on their doorstep sometimes. Welsh music has come a long way in terms of getting itself out there and making connections with the world so hopefully it's just another way of getting new music out to people."

Among the judges was Radio Wales DJ Bethan Elfyn who said: "It was tough because I know all the people involved. I really respect what they do and they all created really amazing, crafted albums. That in itself is an achievement today."

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