Benin’s Angelique Kidjo to receive Polar Music Prize
Angelique Kidjo, the five-time Grammy-winning singer from Benin, has been announced as one of three recipients of the prestigious 2023 Polar Music Prize.
The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on May 23, in Stockholm, Sweden, and will be held in the presence of the Swedish royal family.
The Polar Music Prize is regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in music and has been awarded annually since 1992 to individuals, groups, or institutions that have made significant contributions to music.
The award aims to celebrate the power and importance of music in the world and to promote musical excellence across different genres.
This year’s laureates include Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records, who played a significant role in promoting reggae music worldwide, and Arvo Pärt, the Estonian classical composer, who is renowned for his minimalistic and spiritual compositions.
Each laureate will receive prize money of 600,000 Swedish Kroner, which is approximately £47,681 or US $57,384.
Kidjo expressed her gratitude for being awarded the Polar Music Prize, saying;
My passion for music has always been unwavering. Being on stage for me is like being in paradise. It’s my sanctuary. It’s my place to link and connect with my fellow human beings. That is something that I’m grateful for every day. To be awarded the Polar Music Prize is humbling.
With this achievement, Kidjo joins the ranks of two previous recipients of the award from Africa, including South Africa’s Miriam Makeba, who won the prize in 2002, and Senegal’s Youssou N’Dour, who received the award in 2013.
Angelique Kidjo is a renowned singer, songwriter, and activist who has been a leading voice in African music for more than three decades.
Her music blends African rhythms, jazz, funk, and soul and explores themes of identity, culture, and social justice.
Kidjo has collaborated with numerous musicians from around the world, including Carlos Santana, Alicia Keys, and Bono, and has been recognized for her contributions to music with numerous awards and accolades, including the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album five times.
The Polar Music Prize is a significant recognition of Kidjo’s immense talent and influence on the global music scene.
It is a testament to her commitment to promoting the diversity and richness of African music and culture and to using music as a tool for social change and solidarity.