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Polar Music Prize rewards bossa-nova and opera

Gilberto Gil. Photo: Melissa de SieniGilberto Gill in Stockholm

This year’s Polar Music Prize went to the Brazilian musician and cultural minister, Gilberto Gil, and to the German baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. This is the 14th year of the prize, which was awarded at Stockholm’s Concert Hall in the presence of royalty, Swedish celebrities and a Brazilian samba group.

This year’s winners will each receive one million kronor and the prestige of joining the list of other well known musicians such as Sir Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, B.B. King and Bruce Springsteen.

Dietrick Fischer-Dieskau was not able to attend the ceremony due to illness and was instead represented by his nephew, Dr. Tomas Fischer Dieskau. Now a retired opera singer, Dieskau began his singing career at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin and at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.

The other winner, Gilberto Gil, has been an influential artist in Brazil for 32 years. He has successfully renewed his music throughout the years, adapting and blending different rhythms such as reggae and bossa-nova with more modern tunes.

“I would like to thank the Royal Swedish Academy of Music for awarding me with this prestigious and honourable prize,” said Gilberto Gil at his acceptance speech.

“It is the first time South America has been awarded the Polar Music Prize and I would also like to offer thanks in Brazil’s name.”

Gilberto Gil will end his stay in Sweden with a concert at Stockholm’s Concert Hall, to promote his latest album, “Eletracústico”, recorded live from ONU in New York.

With the aim of awarding “individuals, groups or institutions, working in the international arena, and who have accomplished significant achievements in music and/or musical life”, the Polar Music Prize was founded in 1989 by Abba’s “fifth member”, Stig Andersson. It is organised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.