Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita win the world music category of the International Songwriting Competition

The International Songwriting Competition has announced its 2021 winners. The winners in the World Music category are:

first place
Omar Sosa, Allah Léno of Seckou Keita
Camaguey, Cuba / Ziguinchor, Senegal

2nd place
Mama Hé by Kelly Bardo
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

3rd place
Nashu – Richard Gannaway, Jay Oliver, Miriam Stockley (AO Music)
Asheville, North Carolina, United States

All of these world music winners are very accomplished and we are proud to honor them and celebrate the genre’s heritage,” said ISC founder and director Candace Avery.These artists will undoubtedly inspire up-and-coming artists and are destined to be part of the world’s musical heritage today and in the future. “

The grand prize winner is alternative pop artist Notelle.

Omar Sosa

One of Cuba’s most prolific and acclaimed artists, pianist Omar Sosa and Senegalese kora master Seckou Keita first met in 2012. They quickly realized they had an undeniable musical chemistry. 2017 released their critically acclaimed duo debut album “Clear Water”. Their second album SUBA (Sunrise at Mandinka) will be released in October 2021 and features the ISC winning song “Allah Léno”. This album is a hymn to hope, a new dawn of compassion and true change in a post-pandemic world, a heartfelt reaffirmation of humanity’s eternal prayer for peace and unity.

Sosa has released more than 30 albums during her remarkable career, including multiple Grammy nominations; Keita has won numerous awards, including the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year. Both artists are considered the most influential and inspiring players of their generation and role models for the latest generation.

Kelly Bardo

Influenced by her African heritage, French chanson and American gospel, Kelly Bado’s music crosses cultural barriers and brings people together in joy and hope. She discovered her passion for music and art in her youth when she performed in a local choir in her native Ivory Coast (Bado moved to Canada in 2007).

Bado’s songwriting reflects the beauty of language and rhythm she encounters on her personal journey. With lyrics inspired by love, celebration and social equality, Kelly is committed to realizing his vision of an inclusive world where we come together as citizens of this vast planetary village. Her striking voice and uplifting melodies have won the 2020 WCMA French Artist of the Year Award and SOCAN’s Chanson Prime Award. She is a favorite of La Voix (the Canadian show The Voice) and won a People’s Choice Award.

Richard Gannaway, Jay Oliver, Miriam Stockley (AO Music)

Richard Gannaway is a seasoned musician with 30 years of musical experience and the founder/vision of the world music group AO MUSIC. Richard travels the globe, expanding the horizons of AO and its extraordinary lineup of artists. He also founded AO Foundation International, which focuses on the needs of orphans around the world.

Miriam Stockley is a famous British singer, born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She brings strong vocal and co-writing skills to AO Music, and she attributes the incredibly youthful spirit in her repertoire to her upbringing in South Africa. Miriam joined Richard Gannaway in 2004 as co-composer/producer on the AO Music Project, where she mentors young, aspiring singers from her studio.

As a teenager, Jay Oliver was the youngest member of Mynard Ferguson’s band, having worked with idols Chick Corea, David Weckl and more. In 1996, Oliver started working with Richard Gannaway on the pan-cultural project AO Music, then traveled to Indonesia, Ireland, Georgia, South Africa, India, Nepal, and was specially invited to China. Commissioned by the Beijing Olympic Committee to create the theme song for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Honorable Mention

“Alavrostishiótis” – Antonio (Mr. Dumani) – Nicosia, Cyprus

“Amassa” – Armand Noel Ntoungchi Kamtchoua (Nda Chi) – Bafoussam, Cameroon

“Behind the Window” – Mohamed Gomaa (Tamer Hosny & Elissa) – Alexandria, Egypt

“Flight Of Joy” – Charu Hariharan, Panos Vassilopoulos (Charu Hariharan) – Trivandrum, India

“Guagua Taptap” – Perla Marola, James Vergneau Aka Rebel Layonn, Amin Dominguez (Azuy Movement) – Port-au-Prince, Haiti

“Hey” – Claudia Acuna, Ray Angry (Claudia Acuna) – Santiago, Chile

“Mi Santuario” – Juan Carlos Medrano, Wilman Jose Cogollo Cantillo, Chris Mckhool, Kevin Laliberté, Drew Birston (Sultans Of String) – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“Mother Nature” – Kingsley Tingwei Ngu (Dr Sley) – Buea, Cameroon

“Nagran” – Marzouk Mejri, Charles Douglas Ferris, Marco Dalmasso (Van Farah Station) – Tunis, Tunisia

“Pauna 6” – Maham Suhail (Maham Suhail) – Lahore, Pakistan

“Pokea Sifa” – Jean Pierre Nimbona (Kidum Kibido) – Kinama-Bujumbura, Burundi

“Selfish” – Borislav Milanov, Ayodeji Olowu (Boris Lav & Cracker Mallo) – Vienna, Austria

For more information on the competition and winners:

author: World Music Central News Department

World Music News from World Music Center editors



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