WOMEX 17 has announced two of its upcoming Award-winners: Malian activist and singer, Oumou Sangaré, will receive the World Music Expo’s Artist Award while Czech radio journalist, Petr Dorůžka, will receive the Professional Excellence Award.
Having sung professionally from an early age, Oumou Sangaré is famous not only for her Wassoulou pop music but also for staying true to her original style in her many musical projects – including collaborations with Tony Allen and Herbie Hancock. With a strong onstage presence, her song lyrics address women’s rights, which she mirrors offstage with her work organising festivals and community projects.
Oumou Sangaré said:
‘This award is for all African women and people from all of Africa. They are the ones who have encouraged me to keep singing and writing songs. I am so glad and honoured to receive this award from WOMEX, one of the festivals that always believed in my music, and this is really the icing on the cake of my career. Thank you!’
As well as writing for many publications, Petr Dorůžka presents world music programmes on Prague Radio and Czech National Radio. His website is a much frequented go-to pool of information among global music experts.
Through his lifelong efforts to pass on his passion for world music, Petr Dorůžka has become a key journalist and a member of numerous panels. He has been a part of World Music Charts Europe almost since its inception, has served in fRoots magazine’s critics’ poll since 2001 and has participated on the jury of the Sayan Ring festival in Siberia.
Petr Dorůžka suggested using the attention created by the awards to support a discussion on music journalism at WOMEX 17, saying:
‘I am aware how many other music writers deserve this honour – and I accept the award only if we can read it as a statement: Even if you live in a small country and speak a minority language, still you can have a vision. You can build bridges between yet unknown music and the adventurous audience. Let’s see how this works in real life – on a panel discussion, Heritage & Future: Reclaiming Roots, in Katowice.’
Header photo: Oumou Sangaré © Benoit Peverelli