Egyptian singer Ramy Essam received the Freemuse Award 2011 at a ceremony held on November 21st of 2011 at the Södra Teatern in Stockholm, Sweden.
“My dream is to spread the voice of Egypt all over the world. Thank you for helping me in that,” said Ramy Essam when he entered the stage in Stockholm, arriving straight from the airport after a long flight from South Africa where he had received another award, the Freedom to Create Prize, the day before.
“A-salaam aleikum. Thank you everyone for waiting for me. I’d like to thank everyone for giving me this chance to be here. And thanks to Freemuse and SKAP especially. I was extremely excited when I heard that I’d receive this award. Any artist would wish to be in my place now.
I’d like to thank my mum, my stepfather, my sister, and my brother. I wish my dad could have been here with me, but I am sure that he is somewhere, smiling, and proud of me.
I’d like to dedicate this award to the revolution and the Egyptian protesters. Please, a moments silence for the martyrs.
My presence here [in Sweden] doesn’t mean that I have forgotten what is happening in Egypt. We have understood that the Egyptian revolution is not finished yet. The 18 days [at Tahrir Square in February 2011] were just the beginning. We will stay protesting in the streets until freedom, democracy and social equality has been approved. I am looking forward to getting back there, so I can be with them.”
Ramy Essam gave a performance as well as a moving speech about his hopes and dreams for Egypt.
The Freemuse Award Committee stated: “Ramy Essam played an important role during the Egyptian revolution and suffered severe beatings and torture as a consequence. He personifies the powerful role that music played in the Arab Spring.”
Ramy Essam received the Freemuse Award in Stockholm on 21 November 2011 as part of the international conference and concert ‘Right! Freedom of Music & Speech’ organized by the Swedish Society of Popular Music Composers (SKAP) at Södra Teatern.
The Freemuse Award is sponsored by the Björn Afzelius International Culture Foundation (BAIK). Björn Afzelius, who died in 1999, was a Swedish rock singer who became a passionate spokesman for suppressed people around the world combining his musical career with political activism.