This year’s famous Polar Music Prize was awarded to singer Angelique Kidjo from Benin, British producer Chris Blackwell and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Kidjo is “one of the best singer-songwriters” in the world, and Sweden’s Polar jury justified its decision on the five-time Grammy winner on Tuesday.
Kidjo, who was born in Benin and has lived in France for years, sings in her native languages, Fon and Yoruba, as well as French and English. Known above all for her hits “Agolo” and “We Are We”, “Time” magazine honored her as “Africa’s Leading Singer”.
Along with Kidjo, 85-year-old Brett Blackwell was honored. In 1959 he founded the legendary record label Island Records in Jamaica, which signed such stars as Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music and U2. The 87-year-old Pärt, described by the Polar jury as “the most performed living composer”, was honored for his “unique” compositional technique, tintinnabuli, which he invented in the 1970s.
The Polar Music Prize was created in 1989 by Stig Anderson, who is best known as the director of the ABBA Musical Ensemble. Last year, punk icon Iggy Pop and songwriter Diane Warren was honored. This year’s awards, worth 600,000 kroner (53,500 euros), will be presented on May 23 in Stockholm.
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