Since the introduction of the WOMEX Award in 1999, the list of extraordinary artists and professionals from our community deserving of this special praise has continued to grow. The WOMEX Award honours exceptional achievements in world music on the international level; musical excellence, social importance, commercial success, political impact, lifetime achievement– any or all of these might make one a worthy recipient.
WOMEX presents three Awards every year:
The WOMEX Award statuette was created at a time when there was no such thing as Asia or Europe, black or white, First or Third World. The Award figurine is an ancient mother goddess statue, dating back about 6000 years to the Neolithic age. It was found in Haçilar in modern-day Turkey and bears witness to the existence of a matriarchal society. Such a female goddess appears in many ancient mythologies as an initial primal figure, representing fertility and procreation either as the earth itself or as a mother giving birth to the world and all the creatures in it. Supporting musical creativity and fertility, it is only fitting that the mother of all and everything represents WOMEX’s tributes to the Award winners.
What better symbol for our widely varied fields of music?
Since her first album just 13 years ago, Mariza has become known as the greatest living exponent of Portuguese fado, as well as the most forward-thinking and innovative in the style. She has created her own unique sound that is equally at home in the tavernas of Lisbon or some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world, and is as much a superstar within Portugal as within the world music community.
For having brought the style to new levels of international recognition and for reaching new artistic heights within the genre, we bestow upon her the WOMEX 14 Artist Award. Mariza will also be performing a special Award-winner show as part of the Awards Ceremony to close WOMEX for another year.
Equally as skilled as a musician, singer, poet, lawyer, director of multiple arts foundations and even the Minister for Culture, Mário Lúcio Sousa is a man of many talents. As well as being a celebrated musician in Cabo Verde,Mário Lúcio's involvement in his country's Ministry of Culture (including his position as Minister since 2011) has seen him impact the music and the music business of the islands greatly, founding the Atlantic Music Expo (AME). That AME shares many of the same values as WOMEX and is an important tool in the promotion of world music, both within Africa and abroad.
For his invaluable contributions to the arts and culture of Cabo Verde and the increasing visibility of Cabo Verdean music on the world stage, we present Mário Lúcio the WOMEX 14 Professional Excellence Award.
A full video and transcript of Mário Lúcio's inspiring acceptance speech can be viewed on YouTube here.
Over the past year, the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE) have tracked the monthly charts of 45 radio broadcasters from 25 countries. The winners of this category are the label that has the most popular releases in this network. This year's top label is...Glitterbeat! With releases from Aziza Brahim, Tamikrest, Lobi Traoré, Noura Mint Seymali and Sonido Gallo Negro, Glitterbeat’s artists are both culturally committed and resolutely contemporary. Having only started releasing records in Spring 2013, it's a pleasure to be able to honour Glitterbeat's remarkable rise to the top of the list.
See our archive for more information on all WOMEX Award winners.
Photos: WOMEX 14 Award winners Mário Lúcio Sousa & Mariza, by Jacob Crawfurd; Mariza, by Isabel Saldanha; Mário Lúcio Sousa, by Chon Chan Wa