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103 f


humble. “With the talent around now, if Eddie and me were start- ing off now we’d be in big trouble…”


Gabrielle Drake delivers an eloquent and moving discourse to preface late brother Nick’s induction into the Hall of Fame, appro- priately quoting from his song Fruit Tree: “Fame is but a fruit tree, so very unsound/It can never flourish, ‘til its stalk is in the ground.” Visionary words indeed. “Nick gave breath to the songs but you cherished them, nourished them and took them out to the world when he was unable to do so,” says Gabrielle. Not sure who exact- ly she’s thanking, but she’s good, she’s very good… but then she ought to be, her an accomplished actress and all. Olivia Chaney then demurely sits at the piano to play his most famous song River Man, which is… nice.


Not that you could accuse the Young ’Uns of being polite and fair play to the Great British Public – who, let’s face it, don’t have a great track record in recent times for making wise choices – for selecting Strangers, a collection of stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things, as album of the year in the face of stiff opposition from Eliza Carthy, Karine Polwart and Lankum. They dedicate their award to anti-homophobe campaigner Matthew Oggleston, subject of Sean Cooney’s nominated best original song Be The Man, who is in the building proffering his support.


W


e get a good juicy solo wedding murder ballad from Paul Brady (Lord Thomas & Fair Ellender) which invites further reflections on folk music past (though, given the reception accorded Cara Dillon’s snatch of There Were Roses, he missed a


trick in not opting for his own plea for sectarian peace, The Island) before we get the sparkiest speech of the night from a slightly unexpected source. Karan Casey is long established as one of Ire- land’s finest singers – both from her time with Solas and in her solo work – and, invited to present the Singer Of The Year award to Karine Polwart – grabs the opportunity to make some pertinent points about the way women in music are regarded.


“All of us should be treated with dignity and respect,” she says, full of passion and emotion. “It’s taken centuries to get to the top and there should be more respect for female performers… ” See, that’s how to make a presentation speech, Van…


Always happy to speak her mind on such matters, Karine is certainly impressed… visibly moved even, grabbing the baton to talk about how her own music had always emanated from “the place of being a woman and a mother.” She pays tribute to Pippa Murphy, collaborator on the A Pocket Of Wind Resistance show and album which has essentially earned her this award, telling us that Pippa can’t be with us because she’s away “looking for orangutans in Sumatra”. Which must be the best excuse for not turning up at an awards ceremony ever.


It’s still a lovely event which contributes an enormous amount of good to the world of folk music. Lots of smiles, warmth, emo- tion, nostalgia, thoughtfulness and little blood-pulsing moments… but then you start to wonder… where’s the rock’n’roll gone? Where’s the daring? And start to yearn for the old days of heckles, bread roll fights, drunken speeches and raucous bands. The class of 2018 is very polite, too damn polite…


bbc.co.uk/events/em6v9r The Isle Of Man’s Mera Royle with her Young Folk Award F


Photo: © BBC


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