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WOMEX Award 2005
Bi Kidude

This year´s WOMEX Award will go to Zanzibar´s most famous cultural ambassador, Bi Kidude. In her 90´s now, she started her career as a Taraab singer in the 1920´s. Since then, she not only helped to maintain the cultural heritage, but also reinvented it, infusing it with local rhythms, Swahili language and matters of everyday life. She has performed in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Japan working with a vast range of artists.

Coming from a short tour of Europe, Bi Kidude will join us to receive

the WOMEX Award 2005 at The Sage Gateshead on Sun 30 October. The celebration starts at noon, renowned expert World Music author and radio producer Banning Eyre will do the tribute to the woman whose "energy, humanity and achievement through a century of turbulent history in East Africa, has made her an inspiration to all Tanzanians, all Africans, and all of us". The WOMEX Award gala will also shortly introduce the documentary "As Old As My Tongue. The Myth and Life of Bi Kidude", produced by Screenstation in collaboration with Busara Promtions due for festival release in 2006. Gracing the Award ceremony will be the living legend of Oriental piano, official WOMEX Showcase artist Maurice El Médioni.

Another chance to meet Zanzibar´s original barefoot diva at WOMEX will be the interview and Q&A session with WOMEX Jury member Rita Ray who invites us to take a closer look on Bi Kidude´s remarkable story. The session takes place on Sat 29 October from 11:00 - 11:45 in The Barbour Room at The Sage Gateshead and will be translated by Rita´s fellow Jury member Yusuf Mahmoud.

In 2006, Bi Kidude will not only be present with the above mentioned documentary, but Buda Musique will also release the album "Zanzibara 4: Bi Kidude", produced by Jahazi Media. It will contain songs recorded between 1988 and 2005 by GlobeStyle, Piranha Musik and Jahazi Media and include the documentary trailer of "As Old As My Tongue". The release will be complemented by a tour in summer 2006.

2005 is the seventh year of our WOMEX Award - an award for honouring quality, creativity and success in the name of this world´s music. We give this to honour and respect the recipient, and in doing so, hope to honour and respect the culture and community that is represented by the recipient. In publicly offering an honour such as this, we have the opportunity to affirm and demonstrate that respect to all. The laureates are selected by the WOMEX Jury of each year.

So far we - you - have honoured Juan de Marcos and Nick Gold (1999), Mahotella Queens (2000), Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (2001) and Jivan Gasparyan (2002).

Since 2003 we took two steps further : In 2003 we honoured with Freemuse - The World Forum on Music and Censorship, for the first time an institution rather than an individual. Followed by the sixth WOMEX Award in 2004 which was dedicated Marc Hollander and Crammed Discs for 25 years of pioneering label work in the field of world music. (see our archive)

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