This is the announcement of the Freemuse Award Winner during the Music Freedom Day celebrations at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo on 3 March 2008.
By Marie Korpe, executive director of Freemuse
I have the honour to announce the first Freemuse Award winner.
This award is given to a person or an organisation who “have worked for Freedom of Musical Expression in a remarkable way“ — or in a lasting manner.
Freemuse Award is sponsored by BAIK — the Björn Afzelius International Culture Foundation, which was initiated in memory of Swedish rock singer Björn Afzelius, who passed away in 1999.
Afzelius was a strong spokesman fro oppressed people and raised his voice and used his musical talent against injustice and inequality. In this spirit, the first Freemuse Award is given to Tiken Jah Fakoly, the outspoken Ivorian reggae singer, who has tirelessly denounced political corruption.
An idol for millions of Africans who feel disenfranchised and repressed, Tiken Jah has never compromised. He was forced to flee into exile in Mali after his popular protest songs about corruption and neo-colonialism in Africa prompted a serious of death threats in his native Ivory Coast.
In his last album he has also tackled taboo Pan-African subjects like genital mutilation and corrupt marabouts. Only recently – in December 2007 – he was declared “persona non grata” in Senegal, after criticising Senegal’s president and calling for democracy.
Tiken is at the moment on tour in Morocco and sent the following message when he was told about the award:
“This award touches me a lot since it’s like an international acknowledgement. It is acts as this that encourage me and provide credibility and strength to my fight for peace, justice and equality.”
U P D A T E
African singer receives Freemuse Award in Dublin
Working tirelessly to denounce political corruption in Africa, Tiken Jah has already given away half the award money to imprisoned African journalist Moussa Kaka. Tiken Jah will play at Dublin’s Festival of World Cultures. A press meeting will be organised on the day prior to his concert and the award ceremony.