N’Dour, Saariaho Share Sweden’s Polar Music Prize

Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour and Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho have been awarded the 2013 Polar Music Prize, Sweden’s most prestigious award for musicians.

Photo: AP Photo
2010 file photo shows the Senegalese pop star, center, greeting government officials in Dakar, Senegal.

They will each receive 1 million kronor ($153,300) and an invitation to the prize ceremony in Stockholm Aug. 27.

The awarding committee on Tuesday described 60-year-old Saariaho as a “modern maestro,” praising her for combining acoustic instruments with electronics and computers.

It said 53-year-old N’Dour, who has collaborated with artists including Sting, Bruce Springsteen and Neneh Cherry, is musically ground-breaking and has a voice that “encompasses an entire continent’s history and future, blood and love, dreams and power.”

The award, founded in 1992 by the late Stig Anderson, manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician.