A BAND with strong links to Wrexham and Chester have just scooped one of the top awards at the BBC Radio 2, 2019 Folk Awards.

The winners were announced in a ceremony presented by Mark Radcliffe at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.

The award for best album — presented by musician and songwriter Graham Gouldman, of 10cc, went to 'Hide and Hair' by The Trials of Cato.

The band — with one member from Rossett and another from Rhos, are very familiar to local audiences having held the launch show for the album at The Storyhouse in Chester last November.

The remarkable rise of The Trials of Cato on the UK folk-scene has been the subject of massive critical attention in the past three years.

The trio formed as the members worked as English teachers in Beirut, Lebanon just a few years ago. They have since torn a shape very much their own into the canvas of the UK folk scene.

Originally from North Wales and Yorkshire, while living in Beirut, they spent a year boiling down the roots of their sound into a hybrid of traditional influences that intrigued Lebanese audiences in the country’s biggest venues.

The Leader:

They moved back to the UK and spent a tireless year performing up and down the country, leading to BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe hailing them as “one of the real discoveries on the folk circuit in recent times”.

The trio have been playing at major UK festivals this summer and returned from an American tour in time for the BBC awards evening in Manchester on Wednesday. The band are suitably delighted with scooping one of the major folk awards of the year and thanked their many fans for voting for them from an initial shortlist of four that had been decided by judges.

With a clear nod to the musical revivals of the sixties and seventies, Hide And Hair is rooted in the folk traditions of Ireland and Britain but the themes remain decidedly contemporary. Recorded in the spring of 2018 at Penylan studios in mid-Wales, the array of material is hugely diverse, the album almost being treated as a journey across both time and continents. Album opener Difyrrwch is their own arrangement of three traditional tunes, two Welsh, one English (Hen Ferchetan, Difyrrwch Gwyr y Gogledd, The Parson’s Farewell) and Kadisha – the title of which was taken from the name of a spectacular valley in northern Lebanon. Hide And Hair is as much about characters as it is places, however. Gloria is a story of self-discovery and a celebration of being true to oneself and the song Gawain takes its inspiration from the medieval tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

It was mixed by Donald Richard in Toronto and mastered by John Davis (who re mastered Led Zeppelin and termed the Trials of Cato ‘ The Sex Pistols of Folk') of Metropolis Studios in London.

The Trials Of Cato are:

Robin Jones – Mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals

William Addison – Irish bouzouki, vocals

Tomos Williams – Guitar, vocals