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WOMEX Awards
Quality, Creativity, Impact


Since its introduction in 1999, the WOMEX Award has been honouring high points of 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:
For the third year running, the Roskilde Festival World Music Award will also be presented at the WOMEX Award Ceremony.

Join us for the WOMEX Award Ceremony (delegates only!) on Sunday, 30 October from 12:00 - 14:00 at DR Koncerthuset and the Networking Breakfast - courtesy of WOMEX - starting at 10:00, marking the end of full five days of music, business and networking at WOMEX.

WOMEX 11 Label Award

Already an institution in its 6th year, the annual WOMEX Label Award is hotly contested and warmly anticipated by all who value the contributions of independent record labels.

The WOMEX 11 Label Award goes to...

world village / Le Chant du Monde / harmonia mundi

world village / Le chant du Monde / harmonia mundi

world village / Le Chant du Monde / harmonia mundi will receive their Award on Sunday morning, 30 October 2011, at the Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only.

Founded in 2001, the winner of multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards and the WOMEX 10 Label Award - world village - has made an indelible mark on the international music scene. The world village catalogue is truly without borders... Read on...

WOMEX 11 Professional Excellence Award

Francis Falceto The recipient of the WOMEX 11 Professional Excellence Award this year is Francis Falceto, originator and curator of the Ethiopiques series of cds and the music of Ethiopia’s greatest champion.

He will receive his Award on Sunday morning, 30 October 2011, at the Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only. The laudation will be offered by writer and producer Joe Boyd (UK). We will let him take over from here:

Falceto has single-handedly brought Ethiopian music to the forefront of world music consciousness. In addition to the CD series that now numbers 27 volumes, he has organized concerts and tours, an annual festival in Addis Ababa, published the book “Abyssinie Swing”, created a documentary film of the same name and brought Western musicians intrigued by the music to Ethiopia.

Having first heard an Ethiopian recording in 1984... Read on...

WOMEX 11 Artist Award

Hugh Masekela WOMEX is proud to announce the winner of the WOMEX 11 Artist Award: Hugh Masekela, the trumpet prodigy, fiery denouncer of Apartheid and Afro-jazz pioneer from South Africa.

He will perform on Sunday morning, 30 October 2011, during the WOMEX Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only. The laudation will be offered by Francis Gay, Head of Music at WDR Funkhaus Europa in Cologne, Germany.

It's extremely demanding to encapsulate the remarkable career of Hugh Masekela in just one paragraph. After all, it's been more than half a century since he first picked up a trumpet and he shows no sign of putting it down yet. It was the instrument that helped him find his voice to sound out against the injustice and suffering inflicted on millions of South Africans by Apartheid and it helped him break out during those dark days to bring a musical communiqué to the rest of the world. From success in the US pop charts in the 60s, through the Afro-jazz experiments of the 70s, returning to Africa and touring with Paul Simon in the 80s and on until today, he has not stopped releasing albums, touring the world and engaging in new collaborative projects. At 72 years young, to paraphrase one of his album titles, the boy's still doin' it! Read on...

(Photo of Hugh Masekela: Mark Shoul)

Roskilde Festival World Music Award

rfwma For the third and, until further notice, final year the Roskilde Festival will present the World Music Award (RFWMA) to a fortunate recipient at WOMEX.

The winner of this year's Award is El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music

The board of the RFWMA has chosen the El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music as this year’s recipient of the Award worth €30,000. The El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music aims to spread knowledge and to document, preserve and develop a range of traditional Egyptian music genres. The centre receives its Award particularly for its effort to introduce traditional Egyptian music to youth and children.

The Award will be presented to representatives from the centre by the Director of the Oslo World Music Festival, Alexandra Archetti Stølen, on Sunday morning, 30 October 2011, at the Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only.

The El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music was founded... Read on...

About the WOMEX Award

Being the mother of all awards, and supporting musical creativity and fertility, it is only fitting that the mother of all and everything serves as the symbol for our tributes in the name of the WOMEX Award. Especially when it is represented by a statue that was created at a time when there was no such thing as Asia or Europe, black or white, first world or third. 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.

The WOMEX Award and the figure that represents it stand for life itself. Life is what music is all about … or should that be: music is what life is all about?

topWOMEX Awards 99 - 10

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). In 2003 we took two steps further: we honoured Freemuse - The World Forum on Music and Censorship - an institution for the first time rather than an individual. This was followed by the sixth WOMEX Award in 2004, which was dedicated to Marc Hollander and Crammed Discs for 25 years of pioneering label work in the field of world music. The 2005 Award was given to the energetic Taarab singer Bi Kidude from Zanzibar, who was then nearing a hundred years old. In 2006 the Award went to Colombia's incomparable Totó La Momposina , in recognition of her ground-breaking work for Afro-Caribbean music and dance. The Award 07 paid homage to Andy Palacio (1960-2008) and Ivan Duran, both of Belize.

In 2008 we refined the Award concept again and gave out two: one to Muszikás from Hungary and another one to the Folk Music Department of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. The group Staff Benda Bilili from DR Congo and French producer, festival organiser, label owner... Christian Mousset were each given a WOMEX 09 Award. In 2010 we awarded the artist Danyel Waro, La Réunion, and Ian Anderson, fRoots, UK, on behalf of the independent press.

The Top Label Award launched in 2006 has been presented to the following labels: World Circuit (2006), Stern's (2007), Cumbancha (2008), Crammed (2009) and world village / harmonia mundi (2010).

See our archive for more information on all WOMEX Award winners.

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