Benin singer Angelique Kidjo won the 2023 Polar Music Prize, one of Europe’s top music prizes on Tuesday along with Britain’s Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, and Estonian composer Arvo Part.
The five-times Grammy winner, described by the organisers of Sweden’s Polar Music Prize as “one of the greatest singer-songwriters in international music”, sings in native Fon and Yoruba languages as well as in French and English.
Dubbed “Africa’s premier diva” by Time magazine, she is best known for her hits “Agolo” and “We We”.
Blackwell established the Jamaican record company Island Records, which went on to sign legends like Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music, and U2.
The committee singled out Estonian composer Arvo Part, who they referred to as “the world’s most played living composer,” for developing the “unique composing technique, tintinnabuli,” in the 1970s.
Former ABBA manager Stig Anderson established the Polar Music Prize in 1989, which last year recognized US songwriter Diane Warren and Iggy Pop.
The winners will be presented with their 600,000 kroner ($58,000) award on May 23 in Stockholm.