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Benin: Angelique Kidjo Wins 2023 Polar Music Award

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Angélique Kidjo, five-time Grammy Award-winning Beninese artist, and songwriter; Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, one of the UK’s greatest independent record labels, and Estonian Arvo Pärt, the world’s most performed living composer, are announced today as the recipients of the 2023 Polar Music Prize. The Polar Music Prize ceremony will take place on Tuesday 23 May in Stockholm at the Grand Hôtel. Watch the live broadcast in Sweden on TV4, or globally via YouTube, from 6pm (CET).

The Polar Music Prize has been recognized as the most prestigious award in the music industry since its inception in 1992. For over three decades, it has honored the achievements of some of the world’s most influential and inspiring musical icons.

The prize ceremony takes place in Stockholm in the presence of the Swedish Royal Family. Each Laureate receives 600,000 Swedish Kroner (approx. £47,681/US $57,384) as a prize.

Marie Ledin, the managing director of the Polar Music Prize, stated, “We are pleased to acknowledge these three Laureates who have all had a significant global impact on music. Angélique Kidjo is a motivational artist who constantly explores and challenges herself, and is one of the most outstanding singer-songwriters in international music. We are delighted to recognize her talent and draw attention to her significant contributions through the Batonga Foundation.”

“Chris Blackwell established and developed Island Records into one of the most successful labels in music history. He has had a significant influence on the music world, and we are delighted to celebrate his contributions.

“Arvo Pärt is one of the most remarkable composers the world has ever known, and his exquisite music has touched audiences around the world. We are thrilled to recognize him as part of the 2023 Polar Music Prize.”

Upon receiving the Polar Music Prize, Angélique Kidjo said, “My passion for music has never wavered. For me, being on stage is like being in paradise – it’s my sanctuary. It’s my place to connect with my fellow human beings. I am grateful for this every day.”

“I am humbled to receive the Polar Music Prize. I have no words to express how important this is for me. It brings a sense of responsibility to me as an artist to continue to do great work. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, on behalf of children, and as a music ambassador, to help create a world in which we can all live in peace, I will do my best to be a proud recipient of the Prize. Thank you so much for making me part of this prestigious Prize, in such prestigious company.”

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