Mari Boine awarded the Nordic Music Prize

Renowned Saami vocalist Mari Boine is awarded the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize 2003.

Mari Boine

One of the most sought-after distinctions for Nordic composers and performers, the Nordic Council Music Prize, will this October be awarded to Norways’ best known and most central world-music performer: Saami vocalist Mari Boine.

Boine, who released her last album Eight Seasons (Emarcy/Universal) in 2002, is currently on tour in Germany. Says the proud winner of the prestigious Nordic Council Music Prize: I’m very happy. I feel that my music has a universal character that speaks to the heart and the soul. I think that my music manages to remind us humans to be human – something we need to be in today’s technologically advanced world.

Head of the Sametinget – the Norwegian Saami parliament, Johan Mikkel Sara, is elated: This is fantastic - Mari Boine deserves this prize more than anybody does!

Mari Boine has been a vital Saami performer for more than 17 years, and is internationally seen as one of Norway’s most central artists. She has collaborated with such diverse artists as Jan Garbarek, Youssu N’Dour and Peter Gabriel.

The Nordic Council Music Prize, which was initiated in 1965, is awarded to Nordic composers and performers operating at a high artistic level. This year’s prize was to be awarded to a multi-cultural performer within the world/ethnic/folk/ethnic genres. This is the first time the prize is awarded to a performer with a background in the Nordic minorities.

Last year’s Nordic Council Music Prize was awarded to the Faeroes Islands composer Sunleif Rasmussen.

The Nordic Council Music Prize 2003 will be awarded to Boine parallel with the Literature Prize ceremony during the Nordic Council session - October 27-29.

So reads the reasoning for the Nordic Music Committee’s decision to award Mari Boine the Music Prize: “Mari Boine has been one of the outstanding ethnic musicians in the Nordic Region for the last quarter of a century. Her work is characterised by its high artistic quality and she has put Saami music on the national, Nordic and international musical maps. She has managed to stick to the music's roots but also endow it with a contemporary idiom that reaches out to an enormous public all over the world. Boine has achieved international recognition for her many recordings and tours all over the world. Her musical curiosity and openness have also led to partnerships with some of the most important artists from a large number of different cultures. Boine possesses an ethnic intuition, an artistic strength and powers of communication that touch us all, irrespective of cultural background”.

The Nordic Council Music Prize includes a grant amounting to NOK 350 000 (€ 42 950). Boine welcomes the financial support: I’m in the process of recording a new album and the grant from the Nordic Council makes the process a bit easier. But I’m also planning to buy a new riverboat – I want to go fishing on the Finnmark rivers!
Other nominees to the Nordic Council's Music Prize 2003 were Denmark's Pierre Dørge & New Jungle Orchestra and Outlandish, Norway’s Solo Cissokho, Kàri Sverrisson from the Faeroe Islands, Kimmo Pohjonen and Gjallarhorn from Finland, Sigurdur Flosason, Pètur Grètarsson, Steindòr Andersen, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and Sigur Ròs from Iceland, Swedes Ellika Frisell and Ziya Aytekin as well as Anna Thastum Kuitse from Greenland.

Read the full press statement from the Nordic Council here.

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