2021 International Folk Music Awards Recipients and Top Nominees Announced

Folk Alliance International (FAI) has announced this year’s next winners and Best of 2021 nominees for the upcoming International Folk Music Awards.

Originally scheduled for February, the live broadcast will take place on May 18 in Kansas City during the opening night of the FAI’s annual conference and will be streamed online.

Here are the recipients and nominees

The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award recipients – presented annually to honor the cultural impact of legendary figures in folk music: a Living, a Legacy and a Business/Academic.

Flaco Jiménez
Nanci Griffith
Swallow Hill Music

People’s Voice Award Recipient – is presented to a person who unabashedly embraces social and political commentary in his creative work and public career. (Past recipients include Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Buffy Saint Marie, Ani Difranco and Bruce Cockburn.)

Jason Mraz

Photo courtesy ISP

Nominees for Album of the Year:

They call me home by Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi
Suspicious + Strange by Amythyste Kiah
A Song for Mexico, Vol. 2 by Natalia Lafourcade
outdoor child by Allison Russel
The fray by John Smith

Nominated for Song of the Year (Sponsored by Yamaha):
“On Solid Ground” by Reggie Harris
“Painted Blue” by Sarah Jarosz
“We Believe You” by Diana Jones
“Call Me A Fool” by Valerie June
“Changemakers” by Crys Matthews

Artist of the year nominees:
The longest pants
Kalani Pe’a
Allison Russell
Arooj Aftab
John Francis Flynn

Spirit of Folk Winners – presented to honor and celebrate individuals and organizations actively involved in the promotion and preservation of folk music through their creative work, community development and demonstrated leadership.

Eugene Rodriguez of Los Cenzontles – musician, educator and documentary producer.
Lilli Lewis – songwriter, producer, performer and vice president of Louisiana Red Hot Records and head of A&R.
Gaelynn Lea – Winner of the NPR Tiny Desk competition, musician and disability rights activist.
Erin Benjamin – President and CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association.
Amado Espinoza – Bolivian-American multi-instrumentalist, composer and luthier.
Shain Shapiro – Founder of Sound Diplomacy.

Rising Tide Award Recipient – celebrates a new generation (under 30) of artists who inspire others by embodying the values ​​and ideals of the folk community through their creative work, community role and public voice.

Mali Obomsawin from the Lula Wiles group – journalist; and Founder and Executive Director of non-profit Bomazeen Land Trust

Clearwater Award Recipient – presented at a festival that prioritizes environmental stewardship and demonstrates public leadership in producing sustainable events.

Bluegrass Planet

Winners are determined by FAI voting members (voting is open until April 15). According to the statement, Folk Alliance International (FAI) was founded in 1989 to connect leaders in folk music aimed at supporting community and genre. Today, FAI is the leading international voice for folk music with a network of over 3,000 members: a global community of artists, agents, managers, labels, publicists, arts administrators, venues, festivals and concert series presenters.

Nanci Griffith photo courtesy FAI