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ACE has an eye for a winner




Half Fatea magazine awards go to musicians who have wowed the ACE Space crowd

(Tobias Ben) Jacob and (Lukas) Drinkwater
(Tobias Ben) Jacob and (Lukas) Drinkwater

STEPHEN OTTNER reports, pictures by RICHARD MARKHAM

ONCE it’s possible for live events to return, the place to head to for award-winning music is ACE Space.

The long established and highly regarded online magazine Fatea recently announced its awards for 2020 and half the awards went to musicians who have performed at ACE Space.

Album of the year was won by Emily Barker with her A Dark Murmuration of Words. Emily’s last gig before lockdown was at ACE Space with her husband Lukas Drinkwater. Lucas, in partnership with Tobias Ben Jacob, won the Band/Duo award in
2019 and their gig at ACE Space was recorded and recently broadcast on Kennet Radio. That programme is available to ‘listen again’ – the link can be found at www.kennetradio.com/ folk-ace. Emily has also appeared at Arlington Arts with Marry Waterson.

Female Artist of the Year went to Berkshire resident Charlie Dore. Charlie has also appeared at Arlington Arts and has made two guest appearances on Kennet Radio.

Male Artist of the Year went to a musician no stranger to winning awards – Steve Knightley, who has appeared twice at ACE Space. Steve’s partner in Show of Hands, Phil Beer, was due to make his second appearance at ACE Space last March – the fist gig to be cancelled due to lockdown. That gig was moved to March this year and has just, reluctantly, been moved to March next year. Show of Hands have appeared both at the Corn Exchange and Arlington Arts.

Band/Duo of the year went to Ma Polaine’s Great Decline, a particular favourite at ACE Space having played there twice and due to return last year, the gig has been rescheduled to July. Winner of the Innovative Projects Award was Minnie Birch for collecting and reworking songs that are inspired by football or can be heard sung on the terraces, resulting in the album You’re Not Singing Anymore. Minnie played ACE Space as part of Said The Maiden.

Other artists nominated for the 2020 awards with an ACE Space connection include The Last Inklings, Stick In The Wheel and Edgelarks. The incredibly versatile accordionist Murray Granger is a member of The Haar and Ciderhouse Rebellion, both of whom were nominated. Murray has played ACE Space as part of Hérétique (French music with a Yorkshire accent) and Monster Ceilidh Band (drum’n’bass meets ceilidh tunes).

Fatea has been going for more than 30 years and editor/founder Neil King explained “starting off as a fanzine in 1988, initially A5 and then A4.

“In 1996 it became one of the first publications to migrate to the internet which has been our home ever since.

“Fatea has tried to prioritise new artists over the years.

“Whilst Fatea started off as a post punk/indie publication, it has drifted towards being more towards acoustic-narrative-driven genres for the last 15 or so years”.

The annual Awards are chosen by the Fatea team.


Steve Knightley


Charlie Dore


Minnie Birch


Last Inklings



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