As previously noted in these pages back in 2015, Ríoghnach Connolly let the music do the talking on Matt Owens’ The Aviators’ Ball with her spine-tingling version of the Appadlachian folk song ‘Black is the Colour (of My True Love’s Hair)’ covered famously by Nina Simone and Joan Baez in the 1960s, Cara Dillon and Christy Moore more recently. Ríoghnach [pronounced “ReeOna”] and The Breath (her duo with Stuart McCallum) have picked up BBC Folk Awards nominations. From County Armagh, and for some years since part of the Manchester music scene, she entered the spotlight for real as part of a duo on Carry Your Kin, which was her highest profile release and appeared on jazz-friendly world music label Real World and on which she teamed up with one of the north of England’s most creative jazz-into-electronica guitar stars Stuart McCallum who is pictured with Connolly, above.  

Full list of nominations, below. (The awards ceremony will be held at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Wednesday 16 October during the Manchester Folk Festival.)

Folk Singer of the Year

•              Gwilym Bowen Rhys

•              Lisa O’Neill

•              Olivia Chaney

•              Ríoghnach Connolly

Best Duo or Group

•              Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita

•              Stick in the Wheel

•              The Breath

•              The Rheingans Sisters

The Horizon Award

•              Brìghde Chaimbeul

•              Kinnaris Quintet

•              Kitty Macfarlane

•              The Trials Of Cato

Best Traditional Track 

•              Factory Girl by Lisa O'Neill ft. Radie Peat

•              Ffoles Llantrisant by VRï

•              The Foggy Dew by Ye Vagabonds

•              The Reedcutter’s Daughter by Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith

Best Original Track

•              Blackbird by Lisa O'Neill

•              I Burn But I Am Not Consumed by Karine Polwart

•              Spells Out by Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening

•              Scapa Flow 1919 by Kris Drever

Best Album 

•              Ancora by Flook

•              Heard a Long Gone Song by Lisa O’Neill

•              Hide and Hair by The Trials of Cato

•              Soar by Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita 

Musician of the Year

•              Jenn Butterworth

•              Mohsen Amini

•              Sam Sweeney

•              Seckou Keita