World Shaker Award 2008:
In 2006 Thomas Brooman, WOMAD director and co-founder, became the first recipient of the new "World Shaker" Award. In 2007 the award went to Yusuf Mahmoud and Hildegard Kiel.
This award recognises the enormous contribution made to World Music by those who are rarely in the public eye - but whose work is invaluable nonetheless.
The 2008 Award goes to the Frenchman Francis Falceto, the man responsible for the Ethiopiques series of CDs now running to 23 volumes on Buda Records.
Since they first appeared in the late 90s, these recordings have acquired an astonishing cult following - Jamie Cullum and Roberto Plant, are fans and Elvis Costello describes them as the Ethiopian equivalents of James Brown and Elvis Presley but says the music comes "from a strange and wonderful place all of its own".
At the heart of the Ethiopiques series is music from Addis Ababa's musical Golden Age from the late 60s to the mid 70s when it was silenced by Mengistu's military dictatorship. Whilst this music is the mainstay of the series, Falcetto has also included folk performers and tribal music in the series, including musicians from the Assosa region in the West of the country.
Alongside the recordings, Falceto has managed to revive careers and get several of the artists noticed in the Awards for World Music - notably the singer Mahmoud Ahmed who won the Africa category last year. He was the memorable closing act at the Poll Winners' Concert at London's Barbican in May 2007.
With the sounds of Swinging Addis, World Shaker Francis Falceto has truly shaken and stirred the world music scene and put Ethiopian music on the map.
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