WOMEX announced the winner of 2009’s WOMEX Award for Professional Excellence which goesd to Christian Mousset (France). As Yorrick Benoist of Run Productions notes, "For almost 35 years Christian Mousset and his Musiques Métisses Festival has kicked off the careers of greats such as Cesaria Évora, Salif Keita, the Mahotella Queens, the Super Rail Band, Danyel Waro, Johnny Clegg, and many others. His was arguably the first festival dedicated primarily to African music, starting a trend that many followed and few could match." Add to that his work first for Label Bleu and now for his own Marabi label, and this is a popular choice indeed.
Christian was instrumental in helping to launch the career of so many artists, Rokia Traoré, among them. She enthusiastically applauded the choice and will be on hand at WOMEX this year to present the WOMEX Award to him personally during the Sunday ceremony, 12:00, at Bella Center: "Thank you Christian for showing Africa, so beautiful and rich as you
see it, to all this part of the Occident who see it just as poor, starving and without culture," Rokia says. "Diversity is the the most beautiful richness of our world, you are part of those that are devoted to this task as pleasurable as it is arduous. That is your culture."*
fRoots editor Ian Anderson agrees. "Long before world music was so called, Christian Mousset was one of the hard working enthusiasts who made it all happen," Ian says. "He’s been a true unsung hero behind the scenes for three decades, and Europe would be much the poorer without his dedication to artists, their records, their touring and one of the best festivals we have. In these days when the world music business is turning ominously corporate and losing its soul, Christian Mousset is a shining example of how the good guys still do it better, with their hearts."
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Photo by Fred Pluviaud