Singer PJ Harvey scoops second Mercury award

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The Independent Culture

Eccentric British singer PJ Harvey on Tuesday became the first artist to win the country's prestigious Mercury Music prize twice, living up to her billing as pre-event favourite.

The 41-year-old songwriter claimed the award for her album "Let England Shake", which was inspired by the country's long and bloody history of war.

Harvey last won the award on September 11, 2001, but was unable to pick it up as she was in Washington on a tour.

"It's really good to be here this evening, because when I last won 10 years ago I was in Washington DC watching the Pentagon burning from my hotel window," she said on picking up the gong and £20,000 (31,800 dollars, 22,700 euros) prize.

Dressed in a full-length white dress, Harvey also thanked the audience for "the recognition of my work on this album".

The multi-instrumentalist said she had tried to create something "meaningful" that "would last", and won over the judges with her poetic lyrics and individual sound.

Jazz singer Corinne Bailey Rae, one of the judges, said it was "a tough decision", but added all the panel were in agreement.

Bailey Rae credited the "really imaginative, almost cinematic" lyrics for the album's success.

Other pre-award front-runners included soul superstar Adele and up-and-coming electro artist James Blake.

Previous winners of the prize, set up in 1992, have included Primal Scream, Suede, Pulp, Ms Dynamite, Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys.

The award, which is known for its eclectic range of nominees, covers music by British or Irish artists and is judged solely on the music of one album.

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