For reasons we haven't yet heard fully articulated, the BBC has decided to drop the awards. Ian Anderson, editor of fRoots magazine, is trying to keep the balls in the air by stepping up the stature of the fRoots Critics Poll Album Of The Year this year, with an eye toward developing a replacement awards ceremony later.
I'd like to point out that despite the financial meltdown, SoundRoots and partner radio show Spin The Globe continue to keep producing their own world music awards, which have also been taking place since 2002. Granted, we generally don't manage to get the musicians to come play for us the hits from their award-winning albums. But we hope you'll find the awards a confirmation of your own good taste, a starting point for discussion about the relative merit of various global releases, or simply a launching pad for your own exploration of the world's music. You can find the past winners at Spin The Globe's reviews page -- just click the year near the top of the page.
In that spirit and a spirit of compassion for the people of Zimbabwe, who seem to be undergoing wave after wave of bad news and worse leadership, I give you 2002 winner Oliver Mtukudzi. His soundtrack to the biographical documentary Shanda is full of the usual great music by Tuku, proof of the indominable nature of the human spirit.
[mp3] Oliver Mtukudzi: