Folk Alliance International Awards Results

Photo: Shadow Scape Records

The International Folk Music Awards – presented by Folk Alliance International (FAI) – were announced on the 21st of February during a starry night of music and speeches (more of that anon) that opened the conference in Kansas City.  The best of the year nominees and winners (in bold) which are voted on by members of FAI were as follows.

Album of the Year
Amatssou – Tinariwen (Wedge Records)
City Of Gold – Molly Tuttle and Golden Highway (Nonesuch)
False Lankum – Lankum (Rough Trade)
Stand in the Joy – William Prince (Six Shooter Records)
Welcome to Whatever – Rainbow Girls (self-release)

Artist of the Year (sponsored by the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame)
Billy Strings
Digging Roots
Gaby Moreno
Nickel Creek
Madi Diaz

Song of the Year
“Changes” written by Joy Oladokun & Dan Wilson, performed by Joy Oladokun
“Keep It On A Burner” written and performed by Margo Cilker
“Tears Run Dry” written by Abraham Alexander, Ian Barter, Leo Stannard, performed by Abraham Alexander
“The Returner” written by Allison Russell, Drew Lindsay, & JT Nero, performed by Allison Russell
“Workin’ On A World” written and performed by Iris Dement   

The People’s Voice Award is presented to an individual who unabashedly embraces social and political commentary in their creative work and public careers. This year’s recipient was Alynda Segarra of Hurray For the Riff Raff.  Alynda Segarra  said of the award “I started writing songs as a way to have power in this world. I started a band to create a family. Since my first days playing music on the street in New Orleans, I’ve turned to the mysteries of songwriting to document, honor, and defend the people on the outskirts of society. Folk music drew me in because it tells the truth, it disgraces the warmongers, and it defends the innocent. It’s been enlivening to watch folk music become more visibly queer and radical.”
Lifetime Achievement Awards were granted to four-time GRAMMY Award-winner, thirteen-time GRAMMY nominee, and writer of a #1 Billboard Hot Country Song chart hit, Tracy Chapman; Chilean songwriter and activist Victor Jara; and McCabe’s Guitar Shop, which has been hosting concerts in southern California for over 50 years. (The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented each year to honour the cultural impact of legendary folk music figures: one Living, one Legacy, and one Business/Academic.) .  Tracy Chapman’s Award was celebrated with a performance by Joy Clark.
Photo: Shadow Scape Records
For The Rising Tide Award (sponsored by Levitt Foundation), FAI tapped Guatemalan songwriter, vocalist, and activist in defense of women’s and indigenous people’s rights, Sara Curruchich, who is the first musician to use Kaqchikel language of her people in popular music for an international audience. The Rising Tide Award was launched in 2021 to celebrate a new generation (under 30) artist who inspires others by embodying the values and ideals of the folk community through their creative work, community role, and public voice.

L-R Amanda Rheaume, Jennifer Roe, Joy Clark, Terika Dean
Photo: Shadow Scape Records

The Clearwater Award and Spirit of Folk Awards were also awarded and new members to the Folk Radio Hall of Fame were inducted. The Clearwater Award is presented to a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in sustainable event production and this year will go to LEAF Global Arts Festival. The Spirit of Folk Awards went to Lead Belly Estate’s Terika Dean; artist from the Métis Nation of Ontario, Amanda Rheaume; Jim Fleming, founder of the booking agency Fleming Artists; and FAI’s own Jerod Rivers, who has served in the organization for eleven years in a number of roles, presently as Conference Director.   Newly minted Folk Radio Hall of Famers include Folk Alley’s Linda Fahey; forty-plus year veteran Jan Vanderhorst; Mountain Stage founder Larry Groce; Bob Sherman, whose “Woody’s Children” show graced NYC’s airwaves for nearly 55 years; and Celtic music ambassador Brian O’Donovan. The Folk Radio Hall of Fame was established to recognize radio DJs who have made an outstanding contribution to the preservation, promotion, and presentation of folk music, and who have demonstrated and inspired leadership in the broadcast field.

Folk Alliance International interim director Jennifer Roe also announced from the stage that next year’s conference will take place February 19-23, 2025, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada at the Queens Elizabeth Hotel, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded ‘Give Peace a Chance.’

About Jonathan Aird 2689 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
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