Senegalese artist Youssou N’Dour, who has collaborated on numerous occasions with Peter Gabriel and other artists, has been named one of the two winners of the 2013 Polar Music Prize.
The Polar Music Prize was started in 1991 by Stig Anderson, the mastermind behind ABBA, to recognize artists who have "exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music." Past winners have included Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Paul Simon and Ravi Shankar.
The citation for N'Dour reads:
The Polar Music Prize 2013 is awarded to Youssou N’Dour from Senegal. A West African griot is not just a singer, but a storyteller, poet, singer of praise, entertainer and verbal historian. Youssou N’Dour is maintaining the griot tradition and has shown that it can also be changed into a narrative about the entire world. With his exceptionally exuberant band Super Étoile de Dakar (Dakar star) and his musically ground breaking and political solo albums, Youssou N’Dour has worked to reduce animosities between his own religion, Islam, and other religions. His voice encompasses an entire continent’s history and future, blood and love, dreams and power.N'Dour entered music in 1979 with his group Étoile de Dakar and, later, Super Étoile de Dakar. He went on to become one of the most celebrated African musicians in history collaborating with the likes of Gabriel (Shaking the Tree), Sting, Nenah Cherry (the international hit 7 Seconds), Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Tracy Chapman. His voice may be best known to Americans as part of Gabriel's group during the Secret World Tour.
Also receiving the prize was Finish composer and conductor Kaija Saarhiaho.