French signed artists excel in World music and this was reflected by their presence in the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards last week: Souad Massi and Amadou & Mariam were honoured in their category.
Amadou & Mariam won the 1st prize in the category "Album of the year" with «Dimanche a Bamako» and were distinguished as best artist in the category «Africa». On «Dimanche a Bamako», produced by Manu Chao, they have this rare ability to take the melodic essence of Malian music, add dashes of funk, reggae and soul to it and by somekind of magical mutation increase its appeal exponentially whilst keeping its soul intact. Souad Massi won the 1st prize in the category «Middle East and North Africa». The release of «Mesk Ellil» on Wrasse Records in 2005 is a beautiful success for the Algerian singer. The plenty of French signed artists among the nominated included also Rachid Taha, Lura, Seu Jorge, Salif Keita and Daby Touré. It shows the real interest of the UK audience for French world music productions. A compilation CD with all the nominees will be released on Union Square Music on Monday 27th March. A special concert with all the winners will take place at the Brixton Academy on Friday 7th April. TV highlights will be featured on BBC4 Saturday 8th April with the entire concert available via broadband soon after on the website. Radio 3 will broadcast the concert on Monday 10th April at 7.30pm. !