India's Zakir Hussain and Pakistan's Zarsanga among Aga Khan Music Awards 2022 winners

The triennial event aims to preserve musical heritage stretching from the Middle East and North Africa to South Asia

Indian tabla player Zakir Hussain performing in Mumbai. AFP
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The Aga Khan Music Awards 2022 announced its 10 winners with an eclectic list of artists spanning genres ranging from Pashtun folk to West African blues.

All winners will receive cash prizes totalling $500,000 in a glittering ceremony to be held at the Royal Opera House Muscat from October 29 to 31.

First awarded in 2019, the triennial celebration is held under the auspices of the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslim community, with the aim of supporting artists and preserving the musical heritage in areas such as the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and North Africa.

“Music can serve as a cultural anchor, deepening a sense of community, identity and heritage, while simultaneously reaching out in powerful ways to people of different backgrounds,” reads the award statement.

“While contributing to the preservation and ongoing development of musical heritage, many of the laureates draw on the power of music to raise awareness about social and environmental issues.”

The winners were chosen by a jury consisting of international arts professionals including Sheika Hala bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, the director general for Bahrain's Authority for Culture and Antiquities, and British dancer and choreographer Akram Khan.

Here are five of the winners from this year’s Aga Khan Music Awards.

1. Afel Bocoum (Mali)

The singer and musician combines acoustic guitar with local instruments to develop a sound described as “desert blues.” Bocoum also collaborated with Blur singer Damon Albarn on the successful 2002 album Mali Music.

2. Zakir Hussain (India)

The musician has been acknowledged for his three-decade career that saw him elevate the status of the Indian percussive instrument, the tabla, and building cultural bridges through various world tours.

3. Peni Candra Rini (Indonesia)

Her expert knowledge of traditional Indonesian performing arts made Rini an in-demand educator at home, in addition to being an acclaimed artist abroad.

4. Zarsanga (Pakistan)

Known as the “Queen of Pashtun Folklore”, Zarsanga’s five-decade career has been devoted to the traditional music and poetry of tribal Pashtuns.

5. Yahya Hussein Abdallah (Tanzania)

The dynamic singer and composer of devotional Islamic songs has released pieces in Swahili and in more than a dozen of Tanzania’s 126 local languages.

The full list of winners is available at www.the.akdn

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Updated: October 06, 2022, 9:01 AM
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