Nick Hart, a singer and multi-instrumentalist specialising in traditional English folk music, has been declared the winner of the Christian Raphael Prize 2021 in association with the Cambridge Folk Festival.
Launched at the Festival in 2018, this unique prize for developing young talent, contributes £2,400 for a year towards the travel and marketing costs of touring, as well as time in a rehearsal space or recording studio. Also guaranteed is a Showcase spot in the Club Tent at 2022’s Festival – one of five artists spotted ‘as ones to watch’ during the year – which leads to a slot on prestigious Stage 2 the following year.Cambridge Folk Festival Manager, Rebecca Stewart, said: ‘I’m thrilled that Nick won. He’s such an interesting performer who finds and sings little known songs and sings them in a really clever and engaging way. The panel was unanimous in the decision and felt that the prize would really help progress his career. I’m excited to see what happens next for him.’
Previous winners are Mishra and in 2019, Katherine Priddy who both played the Festival’s renowned emerging talent stage, The Den. A special guest this week on Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Show, Katherine talked about her debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath and Nick Hart was also announced as this year’s Christian Raphael Prize winner.
The prize has been established and funded by inspirational figure and keen supporter of Cambridge Folk Festival’s commitment to emerging young talent, Christian Raphael MBE. A 34 year-old man with severe and multiple learning disabilities who communicates non-verbally, Christian Raphael has been attending the Cambridge Folk Festival for many years.Newly announced winner of this year’s prize, Nick Hart said: ‘I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to Christian and the rest of the judges for choosing me as the recipient of this year's prize. The last 18 months have been difficult for musicians, our inability to play live meaning that, as well as struggling financially, most of us have also forgotten whether or not we're good at anything. Not only will the financial support assist with the varied costs of touring and recording, the panel's decision to award me the prize has provided a much needed vote of confidence as I return to gigging, and for that I am doubly grateful.’Talking about the prize, Christian’s mother Vicki Raphael said: ‘'After a hiatus in 2020 we have been so pleased to run the prize online this year. We watched so many fantastic artists and it was tough to choose a winner, but we are really looking forward to seeing how Nick Hart's career develops over the coming year.
‘It has been brilliant over the last few years for Christian and his family to follow the success of both Mishra and Katherine Priddy, the previous winners. This year's prize comes at a time when support for artists is greatly needed. We derive such joy from following the artists and are delighted to be involved'. The shortlist for this year’s prize was drawn from a list put forward by bookers at the Festival’s renowned emerging talent stage, The Den and the judging panel were: Festival Manager Rebecca Stewart; Festival supporters Christian Raphael and Vicki Raphael; Development Manager, Amie Hoyland; Eddie Barcan, Cambridge Folk Festival Programmer and Richard Wootton, Roots Music Publicist.