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?
Beloved in Senegal, adored by world music fans and admired by musicians around the world, there is no doubt that Cheikh Lô is one of the giants of West African music.
Lô’s five international releases present a music that is rooted in Senegalese mbalax but with important and exciting sonic detours through Latin America, the Caribbean, the USA, Nigeria, DR Congo…his influences reach across the world.
Lô is a tireless musical innovator, pushing boundaries in both his own music and as a collaborator with many and varied artists. His stature and music have also brought much greater exposure and international recognition to the Baye Fall – the Sufi order to which he proudly belongs. It is for these reasons that we are delighted to be able to present Cheikh Lô with the WOMEX 15 Artist Award.
The work and efforts of Hermes Records founder Ramin Sadighi (Iran) within the Iranian music scene have ushered in numerous important milestones, helping to create one of the first legal ways for Iranians to purchase music from the West and, through Hermes, promoting Iranian music on a global scale.
The label's releases have been recognised with many awards including a Grammy nomination for ‘Best World Music Album’ in 2006 for the collaboration between Djivan Gasparyan and Hossein Alizadeh, Endless Vision.
In recognition of the growing and empowering nature of the international music scene in Iran, the WOMEX 15 Professional Award is presented to Ramin Sadighi.
They've done it again! Glitterbeat, who last year received the WOMEX 14 Label Award, will join us again in Budapest to receive the award for the second time! World Music Charts Europe has tracked the monthly charts of 45 radio broadcasters from 25 countries, and Glitterbeat is the label that has the most popular releases in this network this year – their success coming off the back of albums by Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, Samba Touré and Fofoulah.
See our Awards archive for more information on all WOMEX Award winners.
Photos: Cheikh Lô, by Bernard Benant; Ramin Sadighi, by Barzin Baharlouei.