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?
Oumou Sangaré –internationally-beloved star singer from Mali – is to receive the WOMEX Artist Award 2017.
Singing professionally from an early age to provide for her family, Sangaré is not only famous for her Wassoulou pop music but for staying true to her original style in her many musical projects, including collaborations with the likes of Tony Allen and Herbie Hancock. Her presence is strong both on and off the stage. Her song lyrics address women's rights or vowing against suicide, which she mirrors off stage with her work organising festivals and community projects.
To honour her dedication to activism and advocacy for the underprivileged in Mali and beyond, her exciting and innovative developments in Wassoulou music and her longevity as an internationally-beloved star, the WOMEX 17 Artist Award is presented to Oumou Sangare.
Oumou Sangaré will not only be presented the Award but perform live on stage in Katowice’s renowned NOSPR concert hall on Sunday, 29 October.
Petr Dorůžka will receive the WOMEX 17 Professional Excellence Award. Petr Dorůžka is a shining example of the role great journalist's play in disseminating global music. He is well-known for his world music programmes on both Prague Radio and Czech National Radio, as well as writing for many publications. His website is a much-frequented go-to pool of information among global music experts.
Through his life-long efforts to pass on not only information but the passion for this worldwide music, Petr Doruzka has become a key journalist and a member of many important panels in world music. He’s been a part of the World Music Charts Europe almost since its inception (he got on board in 1992), has served in the fRoots Magazine’s critics’ poll since 2001, and participated several times on the jury of the Sayan Ring festival in Siberia…as well as serving as one of WOMEX’s 7 Samurai in 2007. He continues to earn himself the respect and praise of the musicians he writes about, promotes and consults.
The winner of the WOMEX 17 Label Award will be announced soon.
See our Awards archive for more information and a full list of all previous WOMEX Award winners.
Photos: Calypso Rose performs live after receiving the WOMEX 16 Artist Award, by Yannis Psatha.
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