Rokia Traoré's Foundation Passerelle Wins Inaugural Roskilde Festival Award

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Thursday October 29, 2009

Foundation Passarelle, the organization founded by singer/songwriter Rokia Traoré to help her fellow Malians prepare for careers in music, has been awarded the inaugural Roskilde Festival World Music Award. As a result, the foundation will receive 30,000 euros (currently around $45,000). Peter Hvalkof, who programs the Roskilde Festival’s world music line-up, calls the selection “an obvious choice.”

The recipient of the newly created Roskilde Festival World Music Award is determined based on recommendations from Roskilde Festival, the European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals, and Womex, the world’s largest international conference and expo for world music. Traoré performed at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival earlier this year as she had previously done in 2001 and will receive the award, on the foundation’s behalf, during the forthcoming Womex, which will be held in Copenhagen October 28 through November 1. Ritt BjerregÃ¥rd, Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor, will present her with the award at the Bella Center on the expo’s closing day. Traoré had already been scheduled to attend this year’s Womex, in part to speak about Foundation Passerelle.

The aim of Foundation Passarelle, through its current programs and several still in the works, is to provide performers and other aspiring music professionals with practical experience to lay the groundwork for careers in music. Among the existing programs are one that provides training and equipment for sound and lighting engineers and another that offers vocal training for disadvantaged young singers. The foundation’s overall goal is to professionalize Mali’s rich musical culture, which, according to Traoré, now lacks the structure needed for sustained growth.

For more information on both the award and the presenting organizations, visit or

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