The Australian Folk Music Awards 2021 Results

Australian Folk Music Awards 2021

Cherie Harvey, FAA Board – Photo: Razan Fakhouri


Announced 14 October 2021 at Nexus Arts Centre Adelaide, South Australia 

120 Nominations for 8 awards Received
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Australian Folk Music Award Recipients 

Traditional Folk Music Album of the Year – Cloudstreet & The Little Cloud Orchestra (Qld)                

Contemporary Folk Music Album of The Year  – Bill Jackson – The Wayside Ballads Vol 3 (Vic) 

Solo Folk Artist of the Year – Ruth Hazleton (Vic) and Khristian Mizzi (Vic)  (Joint Award)         

Artists of the Year Duo/Group/Ensemble  – Weeping Willows  (Vic) 

Youth Artist of The Year  – Charm of Finches  (Vic)

Youth Artist of the Year – Runner Up – Sadie Mustoe  (Vic)

Community/Cultural Project of the Year  – Nicole Murray ‘Nicole’s Anywhere Choir’  (Qld)

Contribution to Folk Award  – David Di Santi (NSW)  

People’s Choice –  The Borderers (SA)

AFMA – Traditional Folk Music Album of the Year 

This Award is for – a Traditional Folk Music Album released between January 2020 and June 2021

Award Recipient:  Cloudstreet & The Little Cloud Orchestra (Qld)  

Cloudstreet and the Little Cloud Orchestra is Cloudstreet‘s final album, combining the band’s signature vocal harmonies with orchestral backing, developed from a performance of Adieu to All Judges and Juries with Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra, at Woodford 2019. John Thompson was so excited to play with an orchestra, he requested a whole concert. The live recording of Cloudstreet and the Little Cloud Orchestra was launched at the following Woodford Folk Festival. Sadly John is no longer with us. In recognition of his work, John received a special “Services to Folk Music” Award – READ MORE HERE


Cloudstreet & The Little Cloud Orchestra (Qld)

Fiona Ross & Shane O’Mara (Vic)

Liam Gerner and Luke Moller -The Bulletin Debate (Vic)

Paddy Fitzgerald & Lisnacrieve (Vic)

Perfect Pearls – Australian Pearling Songs  (Various Artists) (WA)

AFMA – Contemporary Folk Music Album of The Year 

This award is for a Contemporary Folk Album released between Jan 2020 and June 2021

Award Recipient – Bill Jackson – The Wayside Ballads Vol 3 (Vic)

The Wayside Ballads Vol 3’ was recorded during the grim months of Melbourne’s  2020 lockdowns. Jackson has released  seven solo albums, toured the US four times, had his song ‘Something in Blue’ covered by the legendary David Olney and shared FAA Album of the Year with Gurrumul in 2008 (‘Steel & Bone’).


  • Bill Jackson – The Wayside Ballads Vol 3 (Vic)
  • Kerryn Fields -Water (Vic)
  • Miriam Lieberman – Just Transforming (NSW)
  • Mzaza – The Birth and Death of Stars (Qld)
  • Xani – From The Bottom of The Well (Vic)

AFMA – Artist of the Year – Solo

This award recognises the activity, performance and achievements of artists in the period January 2020 through to June 2021

Award Recipients (Joint) – Ruth Hazleton (Vic) and Khristian Mizzi (Vic)

Ruth Hazleton is   an award-winning instrumentalist, singer and songwriter with a career spanning over twenty-five years. Equipped with an electric guitar tuned to DADGAD and a 5-string banjo, Ruth began her solo journey in 2019, releasing the album Daisywheel ,produced by Luke Plumb. Ruth’s repertoire includes a mixture of traditional and original material, exploring history, struggle & resilience in song.

With ‘one of Australia’s finest voices’ , Khristian Mizzi reaches the hearts of his audiences with performances that are joyful, uplifting, confronting, spiritual, comedic and vulnerable all at once. Originally from Moe, Victoria, he has been described as leaving listeners feeling as though they have experienced something truly special. Poetic lyrics, meandering melodies and ‘a voice which truly moves people’, along with a unique picking style, make him the complete artist. Other musicians love and admire him as much as the audience. He has a gentle, warm, humble and friendly presence on stage, yet, as former National Folk Festival Artistic Director Dave O’Neill says, ‘he owns the stage’.


  • Claire-Anne Taylor (Tas)
  • Daniel J Townsend (Tas)
  • Kaurna Cronin  (SA)
  • Khristian Mizzi (Vic)
  • Ruth Hazleton (Vic)

AFMA – Artist of the Year for Duo/Group/Ensemble 

Award Recipient – The Weeping Willows  (Vic)  

Victorian duo, The Weeping Willows (Laura Coates and Andrew Wrigglesworth) are a couple of old souls, steeped in Bluegrass tradition and draped in Gothic Americana imagery.  They regale their audiences with stories of sunshine and romance, God and The Devil, murder and decay.  That kind of description might make them sound like some carefully contrived concept-act but there’s something truly different about The Weeping Willows: they really mean it.  In recent years they have performed at festivals across Australia, the US and the UK. 


  • Bush Gothic  (Vic)
  • Montgomery Church  (NSW)
  • Rich Davies and the Low Road  (Vic)
  • Weeping Willows  (Vic)  
  • We Mavericks  (NSW)

AFMA – Youth Artist of the Year Award

The AFMAs are proud to be  supporting young folk music artists through these awards.

Award recipient – Charm of Finches

Charm of Finches are an acclaimed sister duo from Melbourne, Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes. They are about to release their third full length album “Wonderful Oblivion”. Their previous sophomore album, “Your Company” was nominated for the 2020 Australian Music Prize and won the 2020 Independent Music Awards Best Folk Album category. Charm of Finches have appeared at most major Australian Folk and Music festivals and have recently secured a UK agent following their successful appearances at the Folk Alliance International Conferences in 2020 and 2021 with a UK tour planned for 2022. Known for their signature ultra-tight harmonies, their music has been described more than once as evocative and ethereal.

Runner Up: Sadie Mustoe

Sadie Mustoe is a singer-songwriter from Melbourne who has grown up in the folk music world, performing at music festivals since the age of 9.  Now 17, she is finding her true voice both in sound and storytelling.  Accompanied by her guitar, keyboard and ukulele, her striking voice takes you on a musical journey through a powerful and colourful world.  As the winner of multiple awards for songwriting and performance, Sadie has released one album, an EP and lots of singles!  


  • Charm of Finches  (Vic)
  • Cooper Lower   (Vic)
  • Ella & Sienna   (SA)
  • Mel Taylor  (Vic)
  • Sadie Mustoe  (Vic)

AFMA – Community/Cultural Project of the Year

This award recognizes an outstanding folk music community/cultural project undertaken or completed between January 2020 and June 2021. The project need not be music performance but can be publishing, collection, media, recording or folklore.

Award Recipient – Nicole Murray ‘Nicole’s Anywhere Choir’  (Qld)

With her choirs in lockdown throughout 2020, Nicole Murray created a free online choir experience to maintain a sense of community, and keep vocal skills and spirits high. She combined weekly videos with Zoom rehearsals and shared access to those resources with people all over the world.


  • Darlene Proberts & Christine Mimmocchi –  ‘Singing in Language’ (NSW)
  • Haystack Mountain Hermits – ‘The Horses Stay Behind’ (Qld)
  • Illawarra Folk Festival (NSW)
  • Nicole Murray ‘Nicole’s Anywhere Choir’  (Qld)
  • Penola Coonawarra Acoustic Music Festival (SA)

AFMA – Contribution to Folk

  • This award recognizes an outstanding contribution to Folk Music in Australia by an individual, group or organisation in any folk music genre.
  • The Award recognizes  a significant contribution over a period of time in any aspect of Folk Music community/industry including performing/ organizing/ presenting/ collecting/ teaching/ collaboration.

Award Recipient : Dave De Santi

David De Santi musical background is from an Italian extract and was taught the piano accordion at around age 10 by his father. While at University he gained an interest in other folk music in 1984, especially the Australian tradition. His interest grew in the playing of Australian traditional bush music. He helped established one of the country’s most successful bush bands, Wongawilli in the Illawarra region of NSW. The band has since travelled all over the world and Australia. Since 1989 he became involved in the organisation of the Illawarra Folk Club and the Illawarra Folk Festival. This Festival is the largest of its kind in NSW as Festival Director, Artistic Director.
In 1991, David became convinced that further promotion of the Australian tradition was required and along with Rob Willis and the Wongawilli Colonial Dance Club embarked upon the Pioneer Performer Series, a series of publications and recordings. Since that time David has published and produced 11 publications and 4 recordings of various Australian performers. In recognition of the work in the Pioneer Performer Series he was awarded the 1992 Heritage Award at the Australian Bush Music Awards in Glen Innes.  He has contributed to many National Folk Festival dance programs, The inaugural Illawarra Folklorika Festival and the Illawarra Cultural Planning Steering Committee. – Co-ordinator for Bush Music By The Seaside, which was part of Kiama Seaside Festival. – co-musical director and performed in Italian Stories, a community based play from Theatre South – committee member of Folk Alliance Australia – coordinator for the 3rd National Convention held in Kiama in June 2000. He continues to be involved with organising folk music events including the Illawarra Folk Festival, Folk by the Sea, Peak Festival, Good Tunes Sessions and more recently the volunteer booker for performers for The BUG (Brisbane Unplugged Gigs).

AFMA – People’s Choice Award

This award was determined by Public Voting and well done Australia as nearly 4000 of you voted for our finalists. In the end there was only a few votes in it and we did have several recounts to determine this award.

Award Recipient : The Borderers (SA)

Through 27 years of continuous touring and word of mouth, Scottish / Irish / Australian band The BordererS have become the most successful & entertaining Celtic / Rock / Roots band in Australia! Even Tom Jones and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard have booked the band. Known for their high energy shows  they have a strong social justice and charity side to their performances. They have  performed in Denmark, USA, France Singapore and at festivals and huge community events all around Australia. They are currently working on a film about the legendary Australian boxer Les Darcy.


Alice Cotton  (NT)

The Borderers  (SA)

Hillbilly Goats  (Qld)

Montgomery Church  (NSW)

Sásta (Qld)

The Water Runners (NSW)

Weeping Willows (Vic)

Rebecca Moore (WA)

Ruth Hazleton  (Vic)


Nexus Arts

AV Plus

Stuart Coupe Media

Fleurieu Folk Festival

AFMA Panelists, Performers & Nominators

Parvyn & Josh Bennett (Compers)

Trad & Now Magazine

The folk community and supporters for their support and encouragement




Australian Folk Music Awards 2021

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Author: Rob Dickens

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