The Polar Music Prize 2023 is awarded to Angélique Kidjo from Benin. A unique and unstoppable artist and songwriter.
Marie Ledin, managing director of the Polar Music Prize, said: “We are delighted to honour these three Laureates who have all made such a global impact with their music. Angélique Kidjo is an inspirational artist, she constantly explores and challenges and is one of the greatest singer-songwriters in international music. We are thrilled to be recognising her talent and shining a light on her important work with the Batonga Foundation.
On being awarded the Polar Music Prize, Angélique Kidjo said: “My passion for music has always been unwavering. Being on stage for me is like being in paradise – it’s my sanctuary. It’s my place to link and to connect with my fellow human beings. That is something that I’m grateful for every day.
“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 in which we can all live in peace.Thank you so much for making me part of this prestigious Prize, in such prestigious company.”
Angélique Kidjo speaks and sings in five languages: Fon, French, Yorùbá, Goun and English. Angélique grew up in Cotonou, surrounded by the dynamic Beninese culture and listening to music from all over the world: soul, jazz, reggae, afrobeat, pop, classical. When a communist dictatorship tried to silence her, she moved to Paris and became even more active. Angélique Kidjo invented the word batonga, a response to those who think girls don’t belong in schools, and runs the Batonga Foundation, which seeks out girls and provides them with education. Bono has said of her, «In Africa’s new morning, Angélique Kidjo is the warmth of the rising sun».