Welsh singer songwriter Martyn Joseph has received a top honour at the International Folk Music Awards in the USA.
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 35-year career.
Penarth-born 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’.
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 myriad grassroots projects all over the world from helping rebuild a demolished family home in Palestine to leading a 25-strong team in the creation of a music centre in a Guatemalan children’s village and 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.
Back in the UK, Martyn was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by FATEA Magazine in their annual folk awards.
FATEA’s Neil King said: “Martyn Joseph has done more than create great music for a long period; it’s about the way he uses music and the recognition built up to put back into the wider community, focusing his attention towards trade justice, third world debt cancellation and human rights.”
Just after receiving the award Martyn played the famous Half Moon, Putney and was joined on stage by friend and Welsh actor/comedian Rob Brydon to sing Bruce Springsteen’s Thunder Road.
- For further details on Let Yourself Trust visit letyourself.net