Youssou N’Dour’s work for harmony lands Swedish music prize

(Reuters) – Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour has won a share of Sweden’s $150,000 Polar music prize – awarded in the past to Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and violinist Yo-Yo Ma – for promoting understanding between faiths as well as for his music.

The award committee said the Grammy Award-winner was “not just a singer, but a storyteller, poet, singer of praise, entertainer and verbal historian … (who) has worked to reduce animosities between his own religion, Islam, and other religions”.

N’Dour shares the 1 million Swedish crown ($153,200) prize with the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, who has written chamber music, orchestral works and operas and is known for combining acoustic instruments with electronic sounds.

“Saariaho is a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and stirrups to fall in love,” the committee said.

The Polar Prize was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, publisher, lyricist and manager of ABBA.

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