Five-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt have won the 2023 Swedish Music Awards.
Mary Ledin, executive director of the annual awards, said Tuesday when announcing the winners that the three “have made a global impact through their music”.
Blackwell, 85, who founded his own independent label in Jamaica and has signed the likes of Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music, Tom Waits, Grace Jones and Marianne Faithfull, managed to make Island one of “the most successful labels in music history”.
The awards committee said, “His distinctive voice, stage presence and command of multiple cultures and languages have earned him the respect of his peers.”
The 62-year-old singer-songwriter blended the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America.
Pärt, 87, was described by Ledin as “one of the most incredible songwriters the world has ever seen and his beautiful music has touched audiences around the world”. She noted that his musical style, a songwriting style Bart pioneered in 1976, “profoundly influenced the course of music over several decades”.
The Polar Music Prize is awarded annually to individuals, groups and institutions in recognition of exceptional musical achievement. It comes with a cash bonus of 600,000 kroner ($57,700) each.
The award ceremony is scheduled for May 23 in Stockholm.
Stig Anderson, the late Swedish record producer, lyricist and manager of ABBA, founded the award in 1989. The award was created on behalf of Anderson’s record label. polar music.
Past winners have included Icelandic singer Björk, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Chuck Berry, Ennio Morricone, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Iggy Pop, Ravi Shankar, Renee Fleming and Miriam Makeba.