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Local favourites are national stars at last

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

  • Dynamic duo: Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman below, and receiving the BBC2 Best Duo Award, top

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WE here in Devon have always appreciated the talents of two of the folk scene's most accomplished musicians – but now, finally, the rest of the UK agree.

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have just been awarded this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo.

They collected their award this month at a ceremony broadcast live on BBC television and radio. And the distinctive wood and metal trophy is destined to take pride of place on the kitchen shelf at their home in the Dartmoor village of Horrabridge, where they live with their five-year-old twins Poppy and Lily.

"We are really thrilled," said Kathryn, 37, who in 1995 was the first-ever BBC Young Folk Award winner as a solo singer. "It was such a strong category and winning was a very nice surprise. We are very proud."

Kathryn and Sean have been lynchpins of the UK's acoustic and folk revival for two decades, beginning as teenagers in the Devon group Equation.

Recently, while Kathryn has been a full-time mother to the twins, Sean, 38, has been producing records for his younger brother, Seth, and touring the world a guitarist in his band.

The couple have now hit the road together again following the release of their critically-acclaimed new album Hidden People. A track from the LP – Kathryn's composition, The Ballad of Andy Jacobs – was also shortlisted for Best Original Song.

They are delighted to be touring again and looking forward to a return to Otterton Mill on February 28.

But why now? For a start the couple's twins have just turned five and started school, affording mum time back in the studio again.

"They suddenly seem to have hit the realisation that it's okay for mummy to do what daddy does," explains Kathryn. "They've seen us play gigs a couple of times and if I look like forgetting the words, they prompt me. They've been to lots of festivals and I've caught them introducing songs and doing little shows for each other."

Kathryn became a teenage sensation as one half of a duo with Kate Rusby and the pair won BBC Folk Album of the year in 1995, before teaming up with the Lakeman Brothers to form Equation. Sean and Kathryn formed the duo soon after Equation split in 2005.

While Kathryn is largely responsible for the lyrics she says her husband has a pair of 'golden ears' that seem to hear precisely the right music to create and how to produce it."

The concert at Otterton Mill is sold out, so it is returns only on 01395 568521 or visit www.kathrynrobertsand seanlakeman.com for more dates.

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