Damon Albarn praises ‘healing nature and magic of music’ as Blur win Silver Clef

Damon Albarn has praised the “healing nature and magic of music” as Blur received the O2 Silver Clef award for outstanding achievement.

The award was presented to Blur by UK music charity, Nordoff and Robbins, which Albarn praised for helping people to “find that path through the dark forest” into music.

Blur were one of the premier bands of the Britpop era, releasing their debut album, Leisure in 1991, before rising to fame with the number one album, Parklife, in 1994.

Last year, the band reunited after an eight-year hiatus, to release their ninth album, The Ballad Of Darren, and play two sold-out nights at Wembley Stadium.

Blur on stage
Blur won the O2 Silver Clef award for outstanding achievement (Ian West/PA)

Albarn told attendees: “We’ve heard some really beautiful sentiments expressed about the healing power and the magic of music.

“I wonder, if you were in this room and you had no idea the language that’s been spoken, so you could only hear it in cadences and meters, what you would think?

“And I imagine you’d be a bit bewildered, but you’d still kind of get the impression that you were listening to music.

“So I think Nordoff and Robbins is … a force for good.

“It kind of allows people who, maybe, have a difficult route into music to find that path through the dark forest.

“It’s a great honour to be here.”

He went on to say he “hated” not seeing instruments being played, and encouraged attendees to pick up the flutes, triangles, and bells which had been placed on their table, creating a noisy end to proceedings.

Albarn took to the stage alongside bandmates, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree, who failed to be selected after standing as the Labour candidate for Mid Sussex at the General election on Thursday.

The Silver Clef has previously been won by the likes of David Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Roger Waters, Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Dame Shirley Bassey, Kylie Minogue, Stormzy, the Rolling Stones, Oasis and Coldplay.

Other winners at the event at London’s Grosvenor Hotel included Chaka Khan, AC/DC and Jessie Ware.

Nordoff and Robbins is the UK’s largest music therapy charity, and uses trained music therapists to help people living with autism, dementia, learning difficulties, brain injuries, life-limiting illnesses, mental health challenges, and grief and trauma.

The event raised more than £760,000 for the charity.