Ghanaian-born Blitz wins US music prize
New York-based Vilcek Foundation on February 7, 2013 announced Ghanaian-born Mr. Samuel Bazawule, also known as Blitz the Ambassador, as one of three winners of the 2013 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Contemporary Music.
In a statement, the Foundation said Blitz is being recognized for his work as an MC, composer, and producer.
“As his stage name suggests, he is a cultural emissary, seeking the intersections between American hip-hop and West African musical traditions, citing amongst his influences Highlife, funk, and Afrobeat music, and rapping just as fluently in Twi as in English,” Vilcek said.
Blitz’s prize which came as a result of his career contributing to the American arts and sciences will come with a cash prize of $35,000.
“I never thought my background as a Ghanaian immigrant would give me an advantage in hip-hop. But somehow, as the world becomes more global, so has hip-hop,” said Blitz.
He added “My goal is to continue to push more global voices in hip-hop through collaborations and tours. Hip-hop gave me a voice, and I intend to use it to give others a voice.”
Blitz is backed by a horn section, known as the Embassy Ensemble, and has collaborated with a number of well-known artistes from both Africa and America, including Les Nubians, Chuck D, Shad, and Cornielle.
The rapper has released two albums – Stereotype in 2009 and Native Sun in 2011. He is reportely working on his third album, Afropolitan Dreams.
Other recipients of the Vilcek Prize in Contemporary Music are internationally renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Songwriter James “JHart” Abrahart, and pianist and composer Tigran.
They will receive their prizes during an awards ceremony in April 2013 in New York City, the Foundation said.
By Ekow Quandzie