African Sounds Reign: Angélique Kidjo Takes Home The 2023 Polar Music Prize

Published 1 year ago
64th Annual GRAMMY Awards – Arrivals

Angélique Kidjo, five-time Grammy award-winning Beninese artist and songwriter, has been announced as one of the three winners of the 2023 Polar Music Prize.

The Polar Music Prize, often called the Nobel Prize of Music, is a Swedish international award founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, the manager of the band ABBA. The award ceremony will take place on Tuesday, May 23, in Stockholm.

“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,” said Angélique Kidjo in a statement on being awarded the prize.


“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.”

Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, one of the UK’s greatest independent record labels, and Estonian Arvo Pärt, known as the world’s most performed living composer, also won the award this year.

Previous recipients have included the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Miriam Makeba and Youssou N’Dour.

Each laureate will receive a prize money of 600,000 Swedish Kroner (approximately $57,384).


Since the inaugural ceremony in 1992, the Polar Music Prize has been renowned as music’s most prestigious honor. The awards committee that selects the laureates is an independent 11-member board. It receives nominations from the public as well as from the International Music Council.

Kidjo created the Batonga Foundation dedicated to supporting the education of young girls in Africa. She also travels the world advocating on behalf of children in her capacity as a UNICEF and OXFAM

Goodwill Ambassador.

She also made the 2023 50 Over 50 list on FORBES AFRICA in the February/March issue of the magazine.


She blends together jazz, hip-hop, zouk, Zairean rumba, samba, salsa, funk, gospel, Cameroonian makossa, and various Beninese traditions.