A rare live performance by former Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews and lifetime achievement awards for both the Chieftains and Fairport Convention were among the highlights of the third annual BBC

A rare live performance by former Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews and lifetime achievement awards for both the Chieftains and Fairport Convention were among the highlights of the third annual BBC Folk Awards, held last night (Feb. 11) at London's Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square.

Matthews accompanied one of the genre's younger favorites, Eliza Carthy, as one of the nine acts performing at the event, highlights of which will be broadcast by BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday evening and cybercast via the station's Web site.

Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson was on hand to present Fairport Convention with its award, which marks the group's 35th anniversary. He told the audience he was delighted to have the chance to honor a band even older than his own. Fairport, whose bassist Dave Pegg is a former Tull member, recently issued the album "XXXV" on Woodworm, and is currently on an extensive U.K. tour.

The Chieftains' award comes during the band's 40th anniversary celebrations, and, as leader Paddy Moloney reminded Billboard.com before the evening's festivities, while the Irish veterans were in London on a brief hiatus from a North American tour. The group played a selection of favorite reels, accompanied by Cape Breton fiddler and dancer Natalie MacMaster, and closed the show accompanied by many of the event's earlier performers.

The folk singer of the year award went to Martin Carthy MBE, one of the most influential and best-loved of all English folk artists. He performed with double-winner Martin Simpson, who was named instrumentalist of the year and was presented with album of the year for "The Bramble Briar" (Topic) by the Rt. Hon. Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport.

Cara Dillon, the emerging Irish vocalist from Dungiven in County Derry, took home the Horizon Award for up-and-coming talent and best traditional track for "Black Is the Colour," from her current self-titled Rough Trade album.

Rory McLeod was named best live act and Kate Rusby's "Who Will Sing Me Lullabies?" was best original song. Irish-American troupe Cherish The Ladies won best group, while Ralph McTell won the lifetime achievement award for songwriting, presented by playwright and longtime folk fan Willy Russell.