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Buskers win prizes....

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Eddie Mair | 13:02 UK time, Tuesday, 9 September 2008

...or Nigel Wrench writes that they "just might do this evening at the Nationwide Mercury Prize. They're called Portico Quartet, rank outsiders among the 12 nominees, former stars of the pavement on the South Bank in London.

porticoblur.JPG

porticohang.JPG
Nick Mulvey plays an odd instrument called the hang, invented just a few years ago in Switzerland, looks, I thought, rather like two woks put together. Sounds a bit like a steel drum, as you'll hear on PM tonight.

As I snapped these pictures, the drummer, Duncan Bellamy, started using a pillar as an extra piece of percussion.

porticodrum.JPG

The conventional wisdom is that a jazz band is always nominated for the Mercury Prize but never wins. Portico Quartet are surprisingly optimistic though.

I go with the dark urban love songs of Burial, though, a dubstep artist who until a few weeks ago was anonymous. Portico's manager thinks Elbow will win. And there's always Radiohead.

The judges traditionally decide at the last minute as they watch the nominees perform. Thoughts?

Live, anyway, on BBC2 at 10pm and here "

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