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2018 LAA Nominees

2018 Lifetime Achievement Awards

Each year during the International Folk Music Awards, Folk Alliance International presents three Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards. Named after the organization’s co-founder, the awards were created to honor the cultural impact of legendary folk music figures, one Living, one Legacy, and one Organizational/Academic.

Past recipients include: Living - David Amram, Peggy Seeger, Tom Paxton, Odetta; Legacy - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Bessie Jones, Stan Rogers, Malvina Reynolds; Business/Academic - The English Folk Dance and Song Society, Folkways Records, Canadian Society for Traditional Music. For a comprehensive list of award recipients, visit our website.

Click this link to submit your vote.

The 2018 nominees are:

Living Award

Candidate Information

Calypso Rose

Calypso Rose is a professional calypso music artist. Born McCartha Linda Monica Sandy Lewis in the village of Bethel, on the island of Tobago. Calypso is a folkloric style and integral part of Trinidadian culture that merges roots music from Trinidad and Tobago together with elements of African and French music.  African slaves, who were forced to remove all ties to their homeland and families and weren’t allowed to talk with one another, would use this form of music to communicate.


 Calypso Rose began writing songs as a teenager and emerged as a professional calypso artist in 1964.  Rose has recorded more than 20 albums; her first gold record, “Do Dem Back” was released in 1974. She earned the title of “Calypso Queen” after winning numerous Calypso competitions during five consecutive years during the 1970s and carries the distinction of being the first woman to win the Trinidadian Road competition (in 1977). She has been given numerous awards and honors, including the International Award of Caribbean Music, the title of Ambassador at Large of Liberia, and in 2017 she won the Best Album in the World award at Victoires de la musique (“the French Grammys”).


“The sharp-tongued first lady of calypso,” Calypso Rose is nominated for her role representing the music of her people and for popularizing calypso music beyond its Caribbean birthplace.



During an era that witnessed the intersection of the Civil Rights Movement, the tensions of the Cold War and the Vietnam War, American folk music pioneers Peter, Paul and Mary provided a voice for a generation during uncertain times.  An iconic folk music group from a historical time, Peter, Paul and Mary’s musical and social contributions span about five decades.  

The group emerged as a premier act in the 1960s New York folk scene, an era in which folk and other forms of music provided a source of solidarity amid social and political turbulence and division. Their debut album, Peter, Paul and Mary, was released in 1962 and remains their most popular record. It maintained the No.1 place in the charts for more than a month and reached double platinum status.  

Mary Travers passed away in 2009, yet the group remains one of the longest lasting folk acts in history, as Peter and Paul still perform to this day.  They have earned over 15 Grammy nominations, five platinum albums, an International Advocate for Peace Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

For the group’s massive contributions to the folk genre and culture, Peter, Paul and Mary are nominated for their music and the voice they gave to generations of folk music lovers.


Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie gave his first public performance at age 13 and quickly became involved in the music that was shaping the world during the 1960s. The eldest son of one of America’s most beloved singer/writer/philosophers Woody Guthrie and Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, a professional dancer with the Martha Graham Company, he grew up surrounded by dancers and musicians: Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Fred Hellerman and Lee Hays (The Weavers), Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

With the premier of “Alice’s Restaurant” in 1967 at the Newport Folk Festival, Guthrie’s indelible voice was included amongst a crowded community of singer-songwriters and political-social commentators. In 1969, the album and its message of social consciousness and activism was memorialized in a Hollywood film version directed by Arthur Penn and at the Woodstock Festival.

A multi-instrumentalist and natural-born storyteller, Guthrie has toured throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia for over four decades. His album “An American Scrapbook” is a collection of Guthrie’s symphonic arrangements of his own songs and other American classics. Guthrie published for many years the newsletter The Rolling Blunder Review and is the author of the children's book Mooses Come Walking.

Arlo Guthrie is nominated for his enduring contributions to folk music and for his role as a cultural emissary from the past and present of American music.

Legacy Award

Candidate Information

Rosalie Sorrels (1933 - 2017)

Rosalie Sorrels was an American folk singer-songwriter. Sorrels’ first big performance was at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966.  She would go on to record over 20 albums, including the Grammy-nominated “My Last Go Round.” She has been featured on NPR, and famously collaborated with folk legends including Dave Van Ronk, Utah Phillips, and Pete and Peggy Seeger to name a few. Well established on the national folk scene for decades, many of Sorrels’ albums mixed traditional with original, progressively introspective material.

Sorrels, who passed on June 11th, 2017, had an affinity for language and storytelling inherited from a tradition of folk music in her family.  In addition to songwriting, Sorrels penned three books including, Way Out in Idaho, a collection of stories, pictures, recipes, and songs gathered while she traversed the state of Idaho. For her talent as a unique observer, Sorrels received the National Storytelling Network of Excellence Award in 1999.  She also received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts in 2000 from the University of Idaho.

For her natural storytelling abilities and introspective music, Rosalie Sorrels is nominated as one of folk music’s foremost artists in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Kate Wolf (1942 - 1986)

American folk singer and songwriter, Kate Wolf was born Kathryn Louise in San Francisco on January 27, 1942. Wolf’s life was cut short by leukemia at age 44 in 1986, before her passing she had great influence on the folk music scene.

Kate Wolf got her start with the band, Wildwood Flower, that she founded with her husband Dan Coffin. Following the commercial success of the band, she formed her own record label, Owl Records. Her first self-produced record, Back Roads, was inspired by the community in which she grew up. Wolf published twelve studio albums, she was twice nominated for “best folk singer” at the San Francisco Bay Area Music Awards. Many artists including Laurie McClain and Nanci Griffith have covered and recorded some of Wolf’s original music.

The Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival began in 1996 to celebrate the musician’s beloved songs. Now in its 21st year, the festival continues to draw several thousand attendees, folk performers and Kate Wolf fans to Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, California. Each year, the festival ends with a crowd singalong Wolf's song, "Give Yourself to Love."

Kate Wolf is nominated for her enduring imprint on folk music and culture during her short but impactful career.


Richie Havens (1941 - 2013)

Richie Havens was a popular American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Known for his diverse musical palette, which includes genres of folk, pop, and rhythm and blues.

Havens started his career in Greenwich Village, an area in New York City known for its progressive culture and social openness.  He released his official debut album, Mixed Bag, in 1966 to critical acclaim.

He made history with a legendary three-hour performance that opened the Woodstock Festival in 1969,  ending with  an impassioned improvisation of an old spiritual that was later released under the name “Freedom.” In the 1970s, Havens starred in two films, Greased Lightning with Richard Pryor and as the title character Othello in Catch My Soul, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello.  

Some of Havens’ most notable achievements include performing at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, being awarded the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award, and receiving the American Eagle Award by the National Music Council for his role in American music culture. Richie Havens passed away on April 22nd, 2013 after a heart attack in Jersey City, New Jersey.  Haven’s ashes were scattered at the original Woodstock site.

Richie Havens is nominated for his role and stature in some of the most iconic moments and scenes in American music.

Business/Academic Award

Candidate Information

The Association for Cultural Equity

The Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), based in New York City, is an organization concerned with archiving, preserving, and thoroughly acknowledging the legacy and work of famed ethnomusicologist and musician Alan Lomax.  Founded in 1983, the mission of the ACE is “stimulate cultural equity through preservation, research, and dissemination of the of the world’s traditional music, and to reconnect people and communities with their creative heritage.”

Through web-based and community-based programs, ACE facilitates capacity building through partnerships with cultural centers, libraries, and universities domestically and around the world.

In addition to its diligent work to share Lomax’s prolific collection of materials, one of the core functions of the ACE is to manage the Global Jukebox label founded by Lomax. The Global Jukebox uses the study of geography, music, science, dance, language, and the intersection of many of these studies with anthropology to capture the essence of humanity and its cultural expressions. This comprehensive, cross-cultural assortment of data from around the globe promotes equity by drawing links and similarities from a multitude of locations. Through its publishing arm, the Global Jukebox “repatriates artists’ rights and royalties to their estates and families” and ensures media collections are returned to the creators’ communities of origin.


For its encompassing philosophy and broad ambition, The Association for Cultural Equity is nominated as an important warehouse of past, present, and future human history.

The Elphinstone Institute

The Elphinstone Institute is a prominent educational center, at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland that focuses on the study of ethnology, folklore, and ethnomusicology.  Established in 1995, the institute is primarily a center for graduate and research study and  aims to promote the awareness of these subjects and their individual and collective value. Through these studies, the Institute strives to address important issues in contemporary society in Scotland and beyond.


Students and educators at the Elphinstone Institute employ ethnographic research to dive deep into the cultures and regions they investigate. This highly intimate form of study methodology enables the researchers to deeply consider the many intricacies of customs and culture including folklore, language, creative expression, identity, heritage, and story. The amount of rigor, depth, and passion that the institute invests into its work, imbues the student body and faculty with a similar ethos of caring awareness.

The Elphinstone Institution is nominated for their efforts to expand humanity’s breadth of knowledge about itself especially through the research of folklore and music.


Elektra Records

Elektra Records, founded by American businessman Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt helped spawn the growth of contemporary folk music. The label began in Holzman's St. John's College dorm room in Annapolis, MD in 1950. During the first decade of the company’s history, the record label focused primarily on folk music releasing best-selling albums from Oscar Brand, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Theodore Bikel, and Judy Collins. Now based in New York City, these groundbreaking artists from the label’s early days became fixtures in an era known to many as the American folk music revival.


A collaboration between Elektra Records and Folkways Records created a boxed set featuring 83 previously unreleased recordings by highly respected folk artists and a 48-page booklet called The Folk Box. The box set is revered for its distinctive collection of rare recordings, and also for documenting the rebirth of the presence of singer-songwriters who record and perform their own compositions.

After years of releasing primarily folk music albums, Elektra Records, produced and popularized some of the most iconic acts of the 70s such as The Doors, Queen, and Love which helped to pioneer the genre of rock music.


For its myriad accomplishments as a music industry leader, Elektra Records is nominated for its groundbreaking work to bring folk music to the mainstream.


Click this link to submit your vote.


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