BBC World Music Awards 2003

Now in its second year, the BBC World Music Awards are continuing to attract increasing attention from around the globe. This year's award ceremony is once again being hosted at Ocean. Hackney's premier music venue has played host to a wide scope of musicians, opening its doors to acts as diverse as the Fun Lovin' Criminals, Baaba Maal, Joanna Macgregor, James Brown, and One Giant Leap. Aside from various artists and ensembles, the venue has also embraced music education, and technological progression with VJ-ing exhibitions and music workshops. Fitting then, that such a diverse venue should be hosting an award ceremony for a genre whose contributors are often so difficult to categorise. Variety was the unifying theme at last year's ceremony with Nitin Sawhney, Manu Chao and Taraf de Haidouks amongst those heading their categories. The evening also saw the likes of Johnny Depp, Joe Strummer, Damon Albarn, Brian Eno and Sanjeev Bhaskar step up to present awards.

The panel deliberating over this year's nominations has been formed from various music industry types. A handful of record producers, broadcasters, DJ's and presenters have been selected to trawl through the nominees and produce a winner for each category. As with most award ceremonies, the public get the chance to vote for the winner of at least one category - this year the 'Audience Award' gets the vote of radio 3 listeners and BBC Four viewers.

The whole concept of an official industry awards scheme for world music was hatched by fRoots editor Iain Anderson. With organisations such as WOMEX, fRoots, Songlines, Serious and the Rough Guides stepping on board to become partners of the scheme, the concept became a reality last year, with the first World Music Awards Ceremony taking place.

Think of world music, and often people's first response would point towards African and Indian influences, but this year's panel have been careful to select categories by geographical placement to ensure a faithful representation of 'world' music. The other reason for this approach is largely due to the fact that world music, quite unlike western music, encompasses so many styles and sub genres that it would be impossible to impose stylistic boundaries on such a diverse range of musical fields.

Aside from this industry accolade being a celebration of diversity and progression in music, it's also recognition of the fact that the once lesser-known genre of world music now generates enough interest to warrant its own awards ceremony. Last year's event was hailed as 'an electric night'. Understandable really, if you think about the kind of atmosphere that's going to be created when you have the likes of Djelimady Tounkara, Susheela Raman, and the Afro Celt Sound System in the same room. This year's ceremony is creating a buzz before it has even begun, and with the benefit of last year's success behind it, the 2003 BBC World Music Awards is rapidly establishing itself as an event not to be missed in the music industry calendar.

- Helenka Bednar

BBC World Music Awards 2003 Nominees

Bembeya Jazz
Kasse Mady Diabate
Orchestra Baobab
Tony Allen

Asia / Pacific
Mahwash & Ensemble Kaboul
Te Vaka
Trilok Gurtu
Alka Yagnik

Los de Abajo
Susana Baca
Lila Downs

Ojos de Brujo
Kimmo Pohjonen
Sergey Starostin

Middle East
Kayhan Kalhor
Omar Faruk Tekbilek
Yair Dalal
Samira Said

Gotan Project

Boundary Crossing
Papa Noel & Papi Oviedo
Ellika & Solo
Oi Va Voi
Gotan Project

Critics Award
Eliza Carthy
Orchestra Baobab
Salif Keita
Youssou N'Dour

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