Chris Blackwell, Angélique Kidjo and Arvo Pärt Celebrated as Laureates at Sweden’s Polar Music Prize

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Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music, 2 of Blackwell's astir successful signings, subordinate nan assemblage of complete 300 group to salary tribute to nan 2023 Laureates.

Michael Pärt, Angélique Kidjo and Chris Blackwell

Michael Pärt, Angélique Kidjo and Chris Blackwell Annika Berglund / Polar Music Prize

Island Records laminitis Chris Blackwell, Africa’s premier diva Angélique Kidjo and 1 of nan world’s astir performed classical composers, Arvo Pärt, were honored arsenic Laureates astatine nan royal Polar Music Prize ceremony and banquet successful Stockholm tonight. Blackwell, Kidjo and Pärt’s boy Michael accepted their prestigious awards from nan hands of King Carl XVI Gustaf astatine nan Scandinavian city’s Grand Hotel.


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The Polar Music Prize was first presented to Paul McCartney and nan Baltic States successful 1992 aft it was founded and funded by Stig “Stikkan” Anderson, head of ABBA and a songwriter successful his ain right, arsenic good arsenic a euphony patient and explanation owner.

At nan early evening royal ceremony, Blackwell, Kidjo and Arvo Pärt’s boy Michael each gave heartfelt acceptance speeches. Blackwell told nan assemblage of complete 300 people, “There is thing easy astir nan enactment of creating music…There is only 1 mobility – what is much important? To beryllium heard aliases to hear? When you perceive to others, you find nan abstraction to understand their galore possibilities. It allows you to bring distant what is already there….My dream is that we each proceed to make music, to usage euphony arsenic a shared quality endeavor that evokes joyousness and delight and connects communities and generations together successful a connection of harmony. That I hope, is my legacy. With each those I person worked with, complete nan past 50 years.”

After Kidjo received her prize, she said, “I started my profession astatine nan property of six erstwhile my beloved mother shoved maine connected shape successful beforehand of a unrecorded audience. I was truthful frightened that I could consciousness my full skeleton shaking. But nan assemblage started to laughter and clap. It made maine consciousness good, it made maine consciousness astatine home. Since that time I haven’t near nan stage!” Kidjo past credited chap Laureate Blackwell for changing her life erstwhile he signed her to Island Records successful nan 1980s. “I had sent my euphony to each grounds institution successful Paris. No 1 was interested, nary 1 cared.”

Then nan African activistic Mamadou Konté sent it to “someone successful Jamaica who showed existent passion for my work, signed maine correct distant and started maine down nan way to success. This personification was Chris Blackwell. He has allowed maine to build these bridges betwixt each nan beautiful euphony and peoples of nan world, truthful that we tin observe our communal humanity.”

Speaking connected behalf of his father, who sent a video connection from his location successful Estonia, Michael Pärt said, “My begetter would for illustration to definitive his heartfelt gratitude to nan Polar Music Prize committee, arsenic good arsenic to each nan musicians and listeners who person supported his euphony passim nan years. Arvo sends his emotion to each of you present tonight. My father’s euphony is simply a reminder of…the things that merge america alternatively than disagreement us. It is simply a telephone to love, to empathy, and to understanding.”

The ceremonial and nan royal banquet that followed was filled pinch performances from artists celebrating nan Laureates. Swedish singer/songwriter Lisa Ekdahl and Lebanese trumpet subordinate Ibrahim Maalouf performed Kidjo’s “Choose Love” from her 2021 medium Mother Nature while Kidjo sang on and sewage up to creation from her spot successful nan beforehand rows. Later, Kidjo spontaneously jumped up connected shape to creation on to nan Marseille-born Beninese vocalist Ysee’s capacity of Kidjo’s creation “Agolo.”

One of Sweden’s astir celebrated antheral singers, Benjamin Ingrosso, impressed nan assemblage pinch his powerful rendition of “Wild World,” from nan songbook of 1 of Blackwell’s astir successful signings, Cat Stevens. As he sang nan past notes, Yusuf/Cat Stevens roseate up from nan assemblage and embraced Ingrosso connected stage.

Swedish singer/songwriter Anna Ternheim, performed “Love Is The Drug” by different of Blackwell’s astir celebrated signings, Roxy Music. The band’s guitarist, Phil Manzanera, applauded her capacity from his vantage constituent successful nan institution of nan royal family.

Near nan extremity of nan hours-long affair, Polar Music Prize managing head Marie Ledin, nan girl of Stig Anderson, paid tribute to her visionary begetter for creating nan prize, arsenic good arsenic her precocious mother, Gudrun. She besides thanked Kidjo for providing nan look for nan incredibly delicious acheronian cocoa barroom pinch whipped Tonka ganache, blackened apricots and caller raspberries that was served for dessert. Ledin besides thanked nan royal family for their decades-long support of nan Prize, arsenic good arsenic her brothers Lasse and Anders for their continuing activity pinch nan Prize.

Blackwell, Kidjo and Pärt subordinate a agelong database of Laureates who person been awarded nan Prize complete nan past 31 years, including Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, B. B. King, Ennio Morricone, Sting, Renée Fleming, Elton John, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell, Yo-Yo Ma, Max Martin, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Patti Smith, Wayne Shorter, Björk, Metallica, Diane Warren, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Ray Charles, Grandmaster Flash and Isaac Stern.

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