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WOMEX Awards
Excellence, Creativity, Impact


WOMEX Award






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:

Join us for the celebratory WOMEX Award Ceremony (delegates only!) on Sunday, 21 October from 12:00 - 14:00 (venue tba) and the Networking Breakfast - courtesy of WOMEX - starting at 10:00, marking the end of full five days of music, business and friendly networking at WOMEX.





WOMEX 12 Artist Award


Värttinä WOMEX is proud to announce the winner of the WOMEX 12 Artist Award: Värttinä from Finland.

They will perform on Sunday morning, 21 October 2012
, during the WOMEX Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only. The laudation will be offered by Fiona Talkington (UK), BBC Radio Presenter, Curator.

2013 marks Värttinä’s 30th anniversary. They have toured worldwide, have a huge global fan base, they have won awards, recorded 14 albums, sold thousands upon thousands of them, collaborated with the great A.R. Rahman writing music for The Lord of the Rings musical. They are outstanding ambassadors for Finnish music around the world, and are text-book examples of how to remain true to the roots of a tradition yet find a new voice and excellence in performance.

You don’t have to be a Finnish speaker to have been intoxicated by their tales of fishwives and lovers, murder and revenge, from ancient blood-curdling spells to heartbreaking songs of betrayal and loss, and still find yourself smiling and laughing at the sheer joy and exuberance of their music. Read on...

(Photo: Philip Ryalls)




WOMEX 12 Professional Excellence Award


Alexander Cheparukhin WOMEX is proud to announce the winner of the WOMEX 12 Professional Excellence Award: Alexander "Sasha" Cheparukhin from Russia.

He will receive his Award on Sunday morning, 21 October 2012, at the WOMEX Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only. The laudation will be offered by Lemez Lovas (UK), Producer, Lyricist, Artist.

What is the WOMEX Award? A small way in which we can give praise to someone who deserves recognition at the highest level for a lifelong contribution to our community. But it is more than that. It is an opportunity for us at WOMEX to think about the values that we try to uphold. World music is not just another sector in the music industry: for one, we don’t attract money men looking for a fast buck (or at least they tend not to stick around too long) – and for that we should be grateful. So who does stick around? People who have a specific set of values and ideas about the way the world should be. These common values are what makes WOMEX and our music community, and what keeps us coming back time and time again to what is unashamedly one of the most colourful, diverse and friendly group of international music lovers on the planet.

The WOMEX Award is also about how our community responds to events outside. This past year has seen a great deal of political upheaval and tension – uniquely in our collective history, hardly a single member country has been unaffected by rising economic and social tensions. There is no better moment for all of us at WOMEX to step back and think about what we can contribute at a time when music can seem like a luxury. And so, in honour of this unsettling time, the WOMEX 12 Professional Excellence Award is for someone who underlines those values that we at WOMEX seek to uphold in good times and bad – a deep awareness and respect for our environment, an open-mindedness and constant desire to expand boundaries, and an unfailing dedication to freedom of expression on every level. Read on...

(Photo: Alina Vlasova)




WOMEX 12 Label Award

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

The WOMEX 12 Label Award goes to...

Lusafrica (France)

Lusafrica








Lusafrica will receive their Award on Sunday morning, 21 October 2012, at the Award Ceremony accompanied by a WOMEX Networking Breakfast, both open to WOMEX delegates only.

An independent world music label on the Paris scene, Lusafrica was founded by José da Silva in 1988 to produce Cesária Evóra’s first album. Her success introduced Cape Verdean music to the world and paved the way for a host of new names, including Lura, Teofilo Chantre, Tcheka, Mario Lucio and, most recently, Nancy Vieira...
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?




WOMEX Awards 99 - 11

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. Last year, in 2011, the WOMEX Awards were presented to Hugh Masekela, South Africa, and Francis Falceto, France.

The Top Label Award launched in 2006 has been presented to the following labels: World Circuit (2006), Stern's (2007), Cumbancha (2008), Crammed (2009), world village / harmonia mundi (2010) and world village / Le Chant du Monde / harmonia mundi (2011).

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

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