30 March 2007

And the winner is...Ali Farka Toure

The late Malian guitar wizard has won Album of the Year in the just-announced BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music. Other winners include:

Culture Crossing Award: Maurice El Medioni & Roberto Rodriquez
Club Global: Gotan Project
Newcomer: K'Naan
Middle East & North Africa: Ghada Shbeir
Americas: Gogol Bordello
Europe: Camille
Asia/Pacific: Debashish Bhattacharya
Africa: Mahmoud Ahmed

The winners will perform at a gala show May 27, at which the Audience Award will also be announced. You can hear samples of each artist and read more about the awards here.

Speaking of awards, does anyone know the status of the Kora Awards? These are (were?) the pan-African awards that often featured pop and flash over the kind of rooted music we prefer, but always provided at least some insight into the state of African music. Current info is not forthcoming, and even their website is defunct, though the site africanhiphop.com spoke positively of the awards as recently as last October. What's up?

Sure, one can learn something about the state of African music from the South African Music Awards (SAMA), which holds its awards ceremony April 14. But their website, though functioning, is tough to negotiate (it took me many frustrating minutes to discover the list of nominees buried in a poorly-labeled Word document). C'mon, Africa...the rest of the world is hungry for your music, and you're letting us down!

SAMA contenders for Album of the Year:
Bheki Khoza - Getting to Heaven Alive
DJ Sbu - Y-lens Vol. 1
Simphiwe Dana - The One Love Movement on Bantu Biko Street
Siphokazi - Ubuntu Bam
Vusi Mahlasela - Naledi Ya Tsela (Guiding Star)


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