Since 1998 the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award has been kickstarting the careers of some of Britain's most talented young folk and acoustic musicians. Read on to find out where they are now.

    Tim Van Eyken
    1998 - TIM VAN EYKEN

    Acclaimed singer and melodian player.
    Soon after winning the first Young Folk Award, Tim van Eyken was snapped up by top British group Waterson:Carthy. He spent six years recording and touring with them both in the UK and abroad, before forming the highly original English group Dr Faustus alongside Benji Kirkpatrick, Robert Harbron and Paul Sartin. In 2007, his album Stiffs Lovers Holymen Thieves earned him four BBC Folk Award nominations and he took away the much-coveted Best Traditional Track Award for Barleycorn. Tim is currently reprising his role as Songman in The National Theatre’s production of Warhorse.

      Sam Pirt of 422
      1999 - 422

      Five piece band from the north of England.
      422 are Emily Ball on fiddle, Sophy Ball on fiddle and foot percussion, Joey Oliver on whistle, Ian Stephenson on guitar and Sam Pirt on accordion. Shortly after winning the Young Folk Award, their debut album One was acclaimed as an excellent piece of work brimming with energy, drive and excellent musicianship. More recently, Joey Oliver and his father David Oliver came up with the idea for the Big National Ceilidh to raise money for Water Aid. In October 2008, 422 provided music for one of the 85 Big National Ceilidh events which helped to raise £40,000 for the charity.

        John Parker
        2000 - BLACK CAT THEORY

        Four piece band that spawned the chart-topping Nizlopi.
        Black Cat Theory won the 2000 title as a duo with their jazz-tinged readings of traditional tunes for banjo and keyboards before blossoming into a punchy four-piece by adding bass and drums. Unfortunately they then disbanded to pursue further education. Bassist John Parker went on to form the duo Nizlopi and enjoyed chart topping success with JCB Song, while banjo player John Dowling won the USA Bluegrass Banjo Championship against huge competition in 2002, becoming the first European to ever win the award.

          Give Way
          2001 - GIVE WAY

          Four piece featuring two pairs of Edinburgh-based sisters.
          The Johnson sisters Fiona, then aged fifteen, Kirsty, thirteen, and twelve-year-old twins Mairi and Amy took away the Young Folk award in 2001. They play fiddle, piano accordion and keyboards in a rousing traditional Scottish style. The sisters went on to support top musical acts including Karen Matheson, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham and perform alongside Cherish the Ladies, Natalie MacMaster, Kate Rusby and Fiddler’s Bid. Their 2003 debut album Full Steam Ahead, and follow-up Inspired (2005), were both released to widespread international acclaim. A new album is due for release soon.

            2002 - UISCEDWR

            The duo that became a trio, and then a big band.
            Uiscedwr, headed by Anna Esselmont (fiddle and voice) and Cormac Byrne (bodhrán) had been playing together for only four months when they entered the Young Folk Award. Since then the band has recorded two albums, toured extensively and had several line-up changes (including a spell with legendary folk guitarist Kevin Dempsey). In 2005 Anna was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia and for 18 months had to undergo treatment which culminated in a bone marrow transplant. Thankfully all went well and Anna is fit and playing again with the Uiscedwr Big Band, which features accordion maestro Karen Tweed and acclaimed trumpet player Neil Yates.

              Jarlath Henderson
              2003 - JARLATH HENDERSON

              Uilleann piper from County Tyrone.
              Three-time All-Ireland Champion Uilleann Piper Jarlath was 17 years old when he became the first Irish musician to win the Young Folk Award. Since then he has gone on to teach music with the renowned Armagh Pipers Club, and has both taught and performed at a number of international piping festivals on television and radio. He is currently playing in a duo with fellow piper and whistle player Ross Ainslie and the two of them released their debut album Partners in Crime earlier this year on the Vertical label.

                Lauren MacColl
                2004/05 - LAUREN MACCOLL

                Scottish fiddle player.
                Since winning the Young Folk Award, Lauren has gone from strength to strength, now fronting her own trio with guitarist Barry Reid (Croft No. 5) and pianist Mhairi Hall. She released her debut solo album When Leaves Fall last year (described by Irish Music Magazine as 'an exquisite debut') and is just about to start work on her second. Her playing has taken her far and wide, gigging with the likes of Calum Stewart, Julie Fowlis, Finlay MacDonald Band and the late, legendary Calum Kennedy. This year, she’s toured extensively with folk supergroup The Outside Track, a band which showcases the finest young talent from Scotland, Ireland and Canada.

                  2005/06 - BODEGA

                  Five-piece band from Scotland.
                  Bodega began as a sextet with an innovative, global approach to Celtic music and a particular love of Gaelic language material, who came together as students at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton. Since winning the Young Folk Award they scaled down to a five-piece and to date have recorded two acclaimed albums for the Greentrax label as well as playing at Cambridge Festival, Heb Celt Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. The band have also played in France, Italy and America and are looking forward to touring America.

                    Last Orders by Lieve Boussauw
                    2007 - LAST ORDERS

                    Instrumental quartet from Cumbria and Northumberland.
                    Joe O'Connor, David Jones, Matthew Jones and Kevin Lees' intelligent and mature arrangements of traditional music from Ireland, Scandinavia and beyond won them the 2007 Young Folk Award. Having met as members of Folkestra, The Sage Gateshead's renowned Youth Orchestra, they are now establishing themselves as a popular folk club and ceilidh band and their debut CD Last Orders was released in 2007 to critical acclaim on the Fellside label.

                      Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller
                      2008 - JEANA LESLIE & SIOBHAN MILLER

                      Duo from Orkney and Penicuik.
                      Jeana and Siobhan were third year students on the BA Scottish Music course at Glasgow’s Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Earlier this year they signed with Scots label Greentrax and brought out their debut album In A Bleeze. They took away the Up And Coming Artist Of The Year Award at the recent Scots Trad Music Awards and have been nominated for the Horizon Award at the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

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