Grandmaster Flash wins Polar Music Prize
"It is such an honour because a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked."
A pioneer of hip-hop, a violin virtuoso and a street music charity are the winners of the 2019 Polar Prize, the prestigious Swedish music equivalent of the Nobel prize. Joseph Saddler, aka Grandmaster Flash, the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and The Playing For Change Foundation, will receive their awards from the Swedish king in Stockholm in June.
The winners will each receive one million Swedish kronor (95,700 euros, $108,000) at a gala in Stockholm on June 11 in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf.
Grandmaster Flash, whose real name is Joseph Saddler, is best known for his 1982 hit "The Message" about inner city violence, drugs, and poverty, and for developing DJ techniques such as scratching, backspinning and punch phrasing.
Grandmaster Flash, who with his Furious Five group were the first hip hop act inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, said in a statement that winning the Polar Music Prize was "such an honor, because a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked".
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Saddler was a founder member of Grandmaster Flash and the 3 MCs whose 1981 single, The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel, is the first documented incident of scratching on a record.
"It is such an honour because a lot of times in our culture, what we do as DJs gets overlooked," said Saddler, reacting to news of the win.
"So for these people to say, Lets give this to someone who doesnt necessarily use a microphone as their gift, for me to be picked out of so many people, I am so, so deeply honoured."
"It is a huge honor to be in this illustrious group of musicians who have received the Polar Music Prize," Anne-Sophie Mutter, the German violinist said. From a small village in the Black Forest, Mutter auditioned for Herbert von Karajan at 13 years-old, playing with him and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra the following year, and debuting with the New York Philharmonic at just 17 years of age. In March, she will perform the world premieres of Unsuk Chins Gran Cadenza for Two Violins and Sebastian Curriers Ghost Trio at Carnegie Hall.
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