Greg Russell (left) and Ciaran Algar (right) have won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.

Exeter Cricketer wins national folk award

Second year student and fourth team cricketer Greg Russell (International relations) has scooped the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. Russell took home the award with musical partner Ciaran Algar in a live ceremony on 30 January

A sell out crowd attended the show, hosted by Mark Radcliffe and Julie Fowlis, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The event, now in its 14th year, coincided with the annual Celtic Connections festival and was judged by industry representatives. 

The Radio 2 Folk Awards are a celebration of outstanding achievement in the Folk music genre throughout Britain and Ireland. The competition is split into twelve categories including Singer of the Year, Best Group and the Young Folk Award. The Young Folk Award offers musicians the chance to gain industry recognition and airtime to demonstrate their talent.

Greg commented: “Celtic Connections is a big get together of all of the bands who play together throughout the year. It was great to be there and see our friends; we really weren’t expecting to win. This is the start of a really exciting year for us. The show was broadcast live on Radio 2 which provided valuable airtime which is important to all young bands.”

The group, who teamed up in 2011, combine traditional folk music with contemporary elements to produce a unique style using guitar, fiddle, bouzouki, English concertina and vocals. In 2012 the duo released their first album “The Queen’s lover” and are now gearing up for a plethora of festival bookings over the summer.

Greg said: “Ciaran is an absolutely fantastic musician. He comes from an Irish music background, whilst my background is more English and contemporary. Our music is a mixture of the two. There is something very exciting about holding onto the traditional values of music, but it’s also important to keep it moving forward.

Next year Greg plans to take a year out to focus on his musical career and release a second album. He said “I really hope to gain as much as I can next year, before I come back to university. The University of Exeter has been incredibly supportive of my plans, things have really gained momentum in the last few months and they have encouraged me to go forward.”

Whilst not studying, or playing to sell out crowds Greg trains with the University’s cricket development squad twice a week. He said: “I absolutely love cricket and it’s done really well at Exeter. I’ve met some of my best mates through the cricket club and Adam Peters [cricket coach] is fantastic.”

Date: 7 February 2013