Groundbreaking music, in classical and pop traditions, has been recognised in this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Awards.
The Grand Bard’s award goes to writer Fiona O’Cleirigh and composer Ben Sutcliffe, whose magnificent ‘Stations of the Cross’ performed by the Breselor Ensemble was a highlight of the Cornish cultural scene and has added a very significant work to the canon of Cornish music.
The special Lowender prize, named for the annual festival, goes this year to Gwenno, for her groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed music in the Cornish language.
Reflecting the growing popularity of the Cornish language, The Mab Hirnans Award, in memory of Stephen Gainey, for outstanding contribution to the Cornish language, goes this year to broadcaster and writer, Matthi ap Dewi, who produces and presents regular independent television and radio programmes in Cornish.
The annual Gorsedh Kernow awards recognise excellent work that sustains or promotes the Celtic spirit of Cornwall both in Creativity and for Community. All winners will receive a specially commissioned Awen medal that features the Gorsedh Kernow symbol of inspiration. These will be presented at a celebration evening at St Petroc’s Church in Padstow. This will be on Friday 1st September as part of the Esedhvos festival of Cornish culture that culminates in the Gorsedh assembly of bards.
Grand Bard, Pol Hodge, who will present all the awards in September, commented: “We have been impressed by the quality and diversity of creative and community work nominated this year and it is a real pleasure to celebrate Cornish talent and commitment”.
Awen medals for Creativity are presented to individuals or groups for a body of work that embodies the Celtic spirit of Cornwall. Community award winners have all been nominated in recognition of outstanding work in sustaining the Celtic spirit of Cornwall in their communities, from protecting and promoting local heritage to encouraging greater use of the Cornish language. Highlights this year include Barbara Santi for her documentary filmmaking on Cornish subjects including Padstow, and the John Harris Society who have successfully sustained and promoted the legacy of the miner [sic] poet of Bolenowe.
The panel also award Certificates of Recognition designed to encourage new work in a range of categories. This award has swiftly become a quality mark for new creative work that celebrates the Celtic spirit of Cornwall.
The full list of awards for 2023:
Grand Bard’s Award: Fiona O’Cleirigh & Ben Sutcliffe
Mab Hirnans/Stephen Gainey Award: Matthi ab Dewi
Lowender Award: Gwenno
London Cornish Association Shield: Dick Richards (London Cornish)
Pewas MapTrevethan/Paul Smales Award: Jim Dagg (Toronto Cornish Association)
Community Awen Awards: Linda Beskeen, Becky Green, Sheila Harper, John Harris Society, Chris Trevena
Creativity Awen Awards: Barbara Santi, Taran Spalding-Jenkin, The Urban Playground Team
Certificates of Recognition
Yeth Kernewek/Cornish writing: Tamsin Spargo, Lianne Wilson
Dialect writing: Trevor Smitheram
Cornish Study: Rebecca Orchard
Creative Work: Bec Applebee, Seamas Carey, Cornwall Heritage Trust, David Greeves, Kellyann Horsburgh, Little Hearts Nursery team, Sian Esther Powell, Edward Rowe, Barbara Santi