A musical maestro from the University of Sheffield took centre stage at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards last night, where she scooped two prizes with her band The Full English.
Dr Fay Hield, from the University's Department of Music, won the Best Album and Best Group categories with the album and touring band – established as a result of a lottery-funded project to create a digital archive of source materials freely available online.
The critically-acclaimed musician and mum-of-two was also nominated for Best Folk Singer at the 15th annual awards, but lost out to Bella Hardy.
Speaking after the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, where she performed for an audience of 4,500 people, Dr Hield said: “I’m 'thrilled that The Full English won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. It's a wonderful project to be involved with.
“Thanks to the English Folk Dance and Song Society and many others. I’ve had the chance to work with a dream team of musicians, tour the UK with them and record an album of which we're all very proud.
“I hope that audiences will now be inspired to explore The Full English digital archive as we have, to see what an endlessly fascinating, amazing resource it is, available to anyone, anywhere.”
Professor Jackie Labbe, the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor of Arts and Humanities, said: "We are fantastically proud of Fay, but not surprised.
“Her talent has already been recognised by colleagues and students alike, who join together in admiring her dedication to her music and to her teaching across several areas in the Department of Music.
“We can't wait to see what height she scales next!"
Dr Hield released her debut solo album Looking Glass in September 2010 before launching her second album Orfeo last year as Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party.
She also features on The Full English album alongside other folk-world A-listers including Martin Simpson on guitar, Seth Lakeman on fiddle and Bellowhead's Sam Sweeney on the arcane nickelharpa – a Scandinavian cross between a typewriter and a violin.
BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music controller Bob Shennan said: “Congratulations to everyone who won an award last night.
“It was a wonderful celebration and a reflection of just how vibrant the UK folk music scene is.”
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