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YFA 2004/5

The semi-final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2004-5 took place at The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal, on Saturday 16th October 2004. 26 young musicians from as far afield as Devon and the Isle of Lewis participated in a fun-packed weekend of workshops, sessions and socializing centred around the Saturday evening competition concert. The six winners going through to the final in London in December are:

Solo singer aged 20 from Derbyshire.
Bella has been singing ever since she could, and started learning the fiddle aged 11. The highlight of her musical career so far has been meeting all her friends, playing Cambridge Festival main stage with The Pack and playing outside in a thunderstorm at a festival in Italy with OLA. Her family has been a great musical influence, along with Carole King, Theresa Tooley, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Kristina Olsen and The Watersons.

Trio aged 17 to 20 from Newcastle and Leeds.
Thomas Wright - guitar
Matthew Dean - flute & whistle
Will Lang - bodhran

Thomas, Matthew and Will have only been playing together for one month though they've been individual performers all their lives. Will won the Sidmouth International Festival Bodhran Competition in 2001 and 2003, and Matthew won the All Ireland Fleadh whistle category in 2003 and 2004 and was runner-up on flute. As part of his course at Leeds College of Music, Tom has been working on musical fusions; Will is a second year student on the Folk and Traditional Music degree course at the University of Newcastle and Matthew is hoping to join the course in 2006.

Solo singer aged 19 from Northumberland.
Kathryn began performing folk music four years ago after a school visit from a Folkworks tour inspired her to enrol in the Folkworks Youth Summer School. Highlights of her career so far have been singing at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with fellow students on the University of Newcastle Folk and Traditional Music degree Course and singing at a festival in Hälsingland in Sweden this summer. Her musical influences include Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Chris Wood, Catriona Macdonald and Sandra Kerr.

Fiddle duo both aged 18 from Kelso in the Scottish Borders.
Carly and Rachel met while performing in the Small Hall Band and have performed in various ensembles together; they've now worked as a duo for one year. The highlight of their careers so far was performing on the STV Hogmany Show with the Kelso High School Celtic Group at the first Scots Traditional Music Awards. They're both students on the University of Newcastle Folk and Traditional Music degree and have been selected for a project next summer which will involve sailing on tall ships from Shetland to Newcastle with Chris Stout and other young musicians. Their musical influences include Catriona Macdonald, Chris Stout, Aly Bain, Blazin' Fiddles, Fiddlers' Bid, Fluke, Altan, Shooglenifty and Gordon Duncan.

Lauren MacCollLAUREN MacCOLL
Solo fiddle player aged 18 from Ross-shire, Scotland.
Originally from the Black Isle and now studying fiddle and Scots/Gaelic song at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance in Glasgow, Lauren has been playing the fiddle for eight years, having learned through the Gaelic Fèisean movement in Ross-shire. The highlights of her career so far have been playing gigs in Italy and Ireland and most recently playing for the British Ambassador in Norway for the RSAMD. Among her musical influences have been the leading exponents of Highland/Gaelic music such as Aonghas Grant and Iain MacFarlane along with players from Shetland, Ireland, Cape Breton and the thriving Irish music scene in Glasgow.

4 piece ensemble aged 15 to 17 from Derbyshire.
Sam Sweeney - fiddle & djembe
Hannah James - accordion & vocals
Tom Sweeney - bass guitar
Chris Thornton-Smith - guitar

Kerfuffle have been together for two and a half years, inspired by each other to perform. Tom, Sam and Hannah met in the foyer of the Derby Assembly rooms and then met Chris in a pub in Wickersley; they played their first gig two hours later. The highlight of their musical career so far has been recording their second album K2 themselves. Their musical influences and heroes are numerous but include Dave Swarbrick, Joe Broughton, Dave Pegg, Eddie Morton and Karen Tweed.

Fourteen acts took part, and great performances were given by all. Congratulations for achieving the semi-final to guitarist Tom Chant, guitarist/singer Ben Church, duo Fotla, fiddle duo James & Kevin, clarsach duo Fiona & Kathleen Rutherford, fiddle duo Mike & Ali Vass, soloist Catriona Watt and trio XYZ.


The final of the Young Folk Award will be held at London's Union Chapel on Friday 3rd December. Tickets are free and can be obtained by ringing the BBC on 0208 576 1227 or emailing Doors open at 6.45pm and the show starts at 7.30pm.

  Young Folk Award 2004/5
  How to enter
  About the Award
  Report 2004/5
  Gallery 2004/5
  Interview 2004/5
  Audio 2004/5
  Finalists 2004/5
  Previous winners
  Young Folk Award 2003
  Folk Homepage

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Mike Harding
BBC Music Folk & Country

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