Throughout its existence of 29 years, WOMEX has remained steadfast in its mission to challenge stereotypes and dismantle perceptions propagated by mainstream popular culture. Serving as a guiding light, it continuously uplifts and advocates for exceptionally talented artists and music professionals from diverse corners of the world, shining a well-deserved spotlight on their incredible contributions. Today, with great pleasure, we reveal the two distinguished awardees of the esteemed WOMEX 23 Awards.

And, The Award Goes To…


WOMEX A Coruña, 25 – 29 October 2023

Berlin/A Coruña: The WOMEX Awards are an annual celebration recognising and honouring outstanding global music achievements internationally. This accolade acknowledges musical excellence, social impact, commercial success, political significance, and lifetime achievements, making it a comprehensive recognition. Since its inception in 1999, the list of impressive award recipients has continued to grow, highlighting the immense talent and dedication within the global music community. The upcoming 2023 edition of WOMEX is thrilled to announce the addition of two extraordinary recipients for the coveted Artist and Professional Excellence Awards.

As the WOMEX team eagerly anticipates the upcoming event, they are proud to continue their tradition of celebrating exceptional talent and dedication in the global music community. The awards not only commend the past achievements of artists and professionals but also inspire and encourage a new generation of musicians and advocates to push the boundaries of music, creativity, and positive social impact.


The WOMEX Artist Award

The Artist Award pays tribute to the exceptional accomplishments of an individual artist or a musical group. It celebrates those who display unparalleled mastery of musical craft, embody artistic distinction, demonstrate dynamism and creativity, and utilise music as a potent medium for positive change. The recipients of this esteemed award represent a diverse range of musical genres and cultural backgrounds, with past recipients including luminaries such as Calypso Rose from Trinidad & Tobago, Cheikh Lô from Senegal, Mariza from Portugal, Oumou Sangaré from Mali, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan from Pakistan, Andy Palacio from Belize, the Kronos Quartet from the USA, Kayhan Kalhor from Iran/USA, among many others.


BCUC will receive the WOMEX 23 Artist Award

Based in Soweto, Johannesburg, Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC for short) epitomise the plurality of South Africa: their music reflects all the people around them, and they sing in all eleven of the country’s official languages. Their explosive live energy takes influence from hip-hop, rock, funk, gospel and Afrobeat, as well as from indigenous spiritual practices.

With their all-embracing musical philosophy, BCUC are inherently political. Their songs are shot through with political messages and lessons. They hold high their values and social responsibilities while being unafraid to criticise the wrongs around them.

For their dedication to their music, their people and their country; for embodying the strength, unity and progress proudly proclaimed in their band name; and for their sheer ability to raise any roof, it is with pleasure that BCUC are the recipients of the WOMEX 23 Artist Award.

Picture credit BCUC Shudufhadzo-Lubengo.
Find out more about BCUC here.


The WOMEX Professional Excellence Award

The Professional Excellence Award recognises outstanding achievements by an individual, group, or organisation in music. This accolade celebrates musical excellence, cultural significance, advocacy, activism, lifetime contributions, and commercial success without compromising artistic integrity. Past recipients of this prestigious award include Global Music Match from manywhere, l’Atelier des Artistes en Exil from France, Julie’s Bicycle from the UK, and Festival au Désert from Mali, all of whom have made profound contributions to the global music landscape.


On The Move will receive the WOMEX 23 Professional Excellence Award

A network and online platform that connects cultural workers of all disciplines with support, information and avenues to international mobility, On The Move takes many forms: extensive guides to institutions and opportunities in territories across the world; global listings of open project calls; mentoring schemes; data-driven research and analysis; and events, including their annual forum. 

The heart of On The Move’s mission is the democratisation of international art: by sharing knowledge and tools, it ensures that arts do not become the sole reserve of the powerful and privileged. 

For the global music scene and the wider arts ecosystem, mobility is not a luxury, but a necessity. In their commitment to providing this invaluable resource for artists and cultural professionals, On The Move opens the world to artists of all stripes. For this reason, we are delighted that On The Move is the recipient of the WOMEX 23 Award for Professional Excellence.

Find out more about On The Move here.


New Additions to the line-up for WOMEX 23

Unfortunately, the official jury-selected Barmer Boys (India) will not be able to make it to WOMEX this October, instead, Aleph Quintet (Tunisia/Belgium) will be joining us in A Coruña.

On the Regional Stage: Atlantic Connections, we will be joined by the recently confirmed Arnaldo Antunes and Vitor Araújo (Brazil) who are kindly supported by BM&A.

Check the program here