Not just ‘one of acoustic music’s most original voices’, but also one of its most active humanitarians, acclaimed Welsh singer songwriter Martyn Joseph has received a top honour at the International Folk Music Awards in the USA.
Martyn was presented with a Spirit of Folk Award at the Folk Alliance International convention at the Folly Theatre in Kansas. These coveted awards are presented ‘to honour and celebrate people actively involved in the promotion and preservation of folk music through their creative work, their community building, and their demonstrated leadership’. Known for his astute and powerful songs of compassion and one of the finest live acts on the circuit, Martyn has become a celebrated artist on both sides of the Atlantic over his 33-year career and aptly been dubbed “The Welsh Springsteen”.
Five years ago Martyn met his wife Justine Ferland at Folk Alliance and together they developed the UK charity Let Yourself Trust which has been actively involved in combating social injustice, supporting a myriad of grassroots projects all over the world, from helping rebuild a demolished family home in Palestine and leading a 25-strong team in the creation of a music centre in a Guatemalan children’s village to getting involved in Advantage Africa’s Albinism project in Uganda.
Accepting his award from Folk Alliance International’s Barbara Manners, Martyn said he was humbled: “These are strange days and we need good songs to remind us of who we really are. The real danger is cynicism and fear. We are a big army and we should be making a hell of a noise right now and I’m proud to be part of that rumble”.
Let Yourself Trust, whose patron is broadcaster Bob Harris OBE, has raised some £250,000 since its inception with recent projects including helping to clean a mercury poisoned river on a Canadian reserve, aiding the homeless at a Swansea refuge, supporting a teenage mental health project in Boston, USA and backing a mobile school initiative which provides education for street children in 25 countries, check out their website here: http://letyourself.net/
Two years ago, Joseph was also nominated at the AIM Independent Music Awards in London – in the closely contested category of Hardest Working Band or Artist whilst he has also been recognised with an Amnesty International Award for his support of Brazil’s MST Landless Workers’ Movement.
A previous winner of the Best Male Artist title in the BBC Welsh Music Awards, Joseph’s story (over three decades of performance, five Top 50 hits, half a million album sales and 32 album releases) continues to grow and connect with audiences everywhere.
An exceptional singer songwriter and guitarist, Joseph, who was invited by the English Folk Dance & Song Society’s (EFDSS) to write and take part in the Parliament-instigated democracy-celebrating project Sweet Liberties, has recently started recording his 33rd album which will be produced by in demand Gerry Diver and released next autumn.
“Martyn is one of our most intelligent writers. He gets better and better like the finest of wines” Bob Harris
“One of the most charismatic and electrifying performers in Britain today” Tom Robinson, BBC 6