The American protest singer Joan Baez and the folk music group Koma NurDil are the first laureates of the newly established Joe Hill Memorial Music Award. The awards were presented at a special ceremony at GEFLE GAS / Indie Sweden Music Festival & Conference in Gävle, Sweden – where the labour activist, songwriter and poet Joe Hill was born in 1879.
Joe Hill Memorial Music Award has been established to commemorate Joe Hill – born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund on October 7, 1879 in Gävle, executed November 19, 1915 in Salt Lake City. The award draws attention to people working in the area of music in the spirit of Joe Hill and shares his basic values. The main focus lies on the laureates’ importance on the music scene, but people’s community involvement and cultural policy action must also be weighed in.
Joe Hill Memorial Music Award / Laureates 2017
Jury motivation: ”For nearly 60 years, the American protest singer Joan Baez has been an indomitable voice in the fight against injustice and oppression. With her clear voice, she has captivated millions of listeners, not only with her appearances at the Woodstock Festival and at Live Aid, but also in all the many smaller – but not least important – concerts, meetings and other contexts in support of human rights that she has participated in through the years. Joan Baez’s community commitment is as genuine as her musicality, making her an extremely well deserved laureate of the Joe Hill Memorial Music Award.”
Jury motivation: ”The Joe Hill Memorial Music Award draws attention to people working in the area of music, in the spirit of Joe Hill and shares his basic values. The main focus lies on the laureates importance on the music scene, but people’s community involvement and cultural policy action must also be weighed in. Joel Hägglund – Joe Hill – grew up in Gävle, went to the United States and sang in his songs about how previously silenced people lived their lives. Originated in Kurdistan, the folk music group Koma NurDil was formed in Gävle, Sweden. In their songs, in several languages, Koma NurDil takes the position of the oppressed struggle for freedom and justice. Koma NurDil – Ferit, Nurfer and Dilem Aslan – are 2017 recipients of the Joe Hill Memorial Music Award.”
Other laureates at the award ceremony included the Swedish music business entrepreneur Carl-Marcus Gidlöf (Indie Sweden Award 2017), the Swedish artist Johanna Brun (COMEDIA Talent Award 2017) and the music magazine HYMN (SIMBA Media Award 2017).