Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour are the recipients of the 2013 Polar Prize.
“These are two prize-winners who are very appreciated. They have a huge fan base all across the world,” said composer and chairman of the Polar Prize Committee Alfons Karabuda.

Kaija Saariaho was born in 1952, and has written a string of works that often combine classical music with electronic elements. Saariaho has worked with several acknowledged musicians and is celebrated for her unique expression. Stockholm’s mayor Sten Nordin said at a ceremony, which presented the winners: “We would very much want to see Stockholm as a capital for the creative industries. We want to see a Stockholm pulsating with culture.”


Youssou N’Dour was born in 1959. “He’s a person who sees other people’s problems and wants to help, but his choice to work with music went against the will of his family as well as his surrounding,” Alfons Karabuda read in the statement. Peter Gabriel has described Youssou N’Dour’s voice as “liquid gold” and he’s worked with musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Bono, Sting, and Wyclef Jean. In the 1990’s N’Dour had the hit “Seven seconds” with Swedish/American singer Neneh Cherry.

“I’m very honored and very happy to join the long list of great musicians,” said N’Dour. “Thank you all kind people, all you in Sweden.” Apart from the prize sum of 1000 000 SEK ($153,612.00), the recipients of the Polar Prize also receive a sculpture by Jens Fänge.
For more information:,
Listen to Youssou N’Dour performing "Bitem rev" (Poor visuals but the sound is good) and a composition, "Lonh" by Kaija Saariaho