British folk veteran Bert Jansch, who now records for When!/Sanctuary, was tonight (Feb. 5) presented with the lifetime achievement title at the second annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, which were held at London’s Cumberland Hotel. Norma Waterson was named folk singer of the year while Taj Mahal took home the roots artist award. Jansch received his award from confirmed fan and former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.
Other guest presenters at the event included Billy Bragg, who with Shirley Collins gave the Go od Tradition award to 86-year-old folk patriarch Bob Copper, and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon. Chris Smith, who presented the Horizon Award for best newcomer to Belinda (Bill) Jones, a classically trained pianist who financed her own debut album, “Turn To Me,” on the Bedpsring label.
Shanachie act Danu was named best group, an award to be presented by fellow Irish folk favorite Mary Black, while Vin Garbutt won best live act. The Davy Lamp in Washington, northeast England, won the best folk club award.
The Topic label scored with album of the year, John Tams’ “Unity.” A track from it, “Harry Stone,” received the best original song award from long-serving troubadour Martin Carthy. Kate Rusby bestowed the best instrumentalist title on flautist Michael McGoldrick.
Highlights of the Folk Awards will be broadcast Wednesday night (Feb. 7) on Radio 2 in the U.K. and at the station’s official Web site.