Angelique Kidjo, a multi-award-winning Beninese music legend, is now the third African to receive the coveted Polar Music Prize. Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of the Swedish ABBA band, established the Polar Music Prize, also known as the Nobel Prize of Music, in 1989 with a gift to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. One classical artist and one contemporary musician each receive the honor each year.
Since its establishment, numerous famous musicians have received The Polar Music Prize, including BB King, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, and many others. Angelina Kidjo, a legendary musician from the Benin Republic, has just been awarded the Polar Music Prize. Along with Chris Blackwell of the United Kingdom and Arvo Pärt of Estonia, she was named the 2023 winner.
Regarding the award, Angelique Kidjo stated:
“To be awarded the Polar Music Prize is humbling. I have no words to say how important this is for me. It comes with a sense of responsibility that is bestowed upon me as an artist to continue to do great work. I will do my best to be a proud recipient of the Prize through my work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, on behalf of the children, and as an ambassador of music, to help create a world where we can all live in peace.”
Kidjo joins South African Mariam Makeba (2002) and Senegalese Youssou N’dour (2013) as the only African to have received the Polar Music Prize.