The 2019 edition of WOMEX, the leading international World Music festival, took place from 23 – 27 October in Tempere, Finland, and was attended by over 2,500 music professionals from 83 countries.
Introduced in 1999, the WOMEX Awards recognise exceptional achievements in world music on the international level: the judges consider musical excellence, social importance, commercial success, political impact and lifetime achievement when choosing recipients.
Accepting the WOMEX 19 Artist Award, the renowned kamancheh player, Kayhan Kalhor (Iran/USA) said:
‘I am very touched and honoured and it’s nice to be appreciated during your lifetime when you can see it. However, I don’t see this as a personal achievement. I think a lot of wisdom, history and hard work went into this and I represent the great Iranian musician community here. I am honoured to represent them.
‘On behalf of the Iranian music community, I dedicate this award to Mohammad Reza Shajarian, the great master of Persian music who has been fighting a nasty illness for the past few years. We need his voice and we need him to be with us, so we wish him well and I hope the musical community accepts this from me.’
The winner of the WOMEX 19 Professional Excellence Award was the London-based environmental advocacy charity, Julie’s Bicycle (UK). Chiara Badiali, the organisation’s Knowledge and Sector Intelligence Lead, said:
‘We are really honoured to be recognised today and to be given the Professional Excellence Award, from a community of music, which is where our roots are and also in the very best of company, our global music community. There isn’t another recognition that could mean more to us.’
The next edition of WOMEX will take place in Budapest, Hungary from 21 – 25 October 2020.