Adrian Barker and Ben Stephenson, two of Australia ’s finest young folk musicians, are this year’s joint winners of the National Folk Fellowship, organised by the National Library of Australia and the National Folk Festival.

The award was announced at the launch of the Folk Alliance of Australia Convention, the annual gathering of folk aficionados held at the National Library from September 2-4.

Adrian and Ben have been performing Irish traditional music for almost 10 years at festivals and venues throughout Australia , establishing a reputation as vibrant young musicians and educators.

Adrian Barker spoke about the duo’s trip to Ireland in 2001 to discover the roots of their music.

“By going on this trip we wanted to soak up the music at its source. Instead, our experiences in Ireland led us to more deeply consider and appreciate the distinctiveness of Irish music found in Australia .

“The Fellowship gives us a fantastic opportunity to immerse ourselves in the Australian sources to help us enrich, enliven and inform our performances,” he said.

The two musicians will use the National Library’s archival sound recording collections to research Irish traditional dance music in Australia . Their findings will be showcased at next year’s National Folk Festival to be held on 13-17 April 2006 in Canberra .

The Folk Fellowship, in its third year, was established with the aim of breathing new life into the myriad of traditional songs, tunes, dance and spoken word gems held in the National Library’s folklore archives.

The Library’s folklore collections are accessible on Discover Australia ’s folk music through MusicAustralia at

More information on the 2006 National Folk Festival at

Media contact:

Yvonne Kennedy
Director Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 02 6262 1353 or 0411 753 891

Jenny Simpson
Director National Folk Festival
Telephone: 02 62497755