The American artist Patti Smith has been awarded this year’s Joe Hill Memorial Music Award. Last night Patti Smith received the award at her sold-out concert at Stockholm Waterfront in Sweden.
Joe Hill Memorial Music Award was founded in 2016 and has been established to commemorate Joe Hill – born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund on October 7, 1879 in Gävle, Sweden executed November 19, 1915 in Salt Lake City, USA. The award draws attention to people working in the music area in the spirit of Joe Hill and based on his fundamental values. The importance of the Laureate’s contributions in music life must be in focus, but in the selection of these, people’s community involvement and cultural policy action must also be weighed in.
The jury’s citation:
They call Joe Hill ”the man who never died”, and more than 100 years after his shameful execution his flame still burns. Among his last words were: ”Don’t waste any time mourning. Organize!”.
The Joe Hill Memorial Music Award draws attention to people working in the musical area in the spirit of Joe Hill and whose own principles are based on his fundamental values. Not only in her music, but in all her writing, performances and art, Patti Smith stands for the same values that Joe Hill sacrificed his life for: solidarity, equality, brotherhood, sisterhood, humanism, freedom, and hope. ”We all have a responsibility”, Patti Smith once said when asked whether she felt that she had a special responsibility as an artist.
For all the inspirational strength Patti Smith gives us through her work, she is an extremely well-deserved Laureate of the Joe Hill Memorial Music Award 2019.
”The people have the power… The power to dream, to rule / to wrestle the world from fools… I believe everything we dream / Can come to pass through our union / We can turn the world around / We can turn the earth’ s revolution / We have the power / People have the power!”
This year’s prize is created by the Swedish artist Eva Österberg and was presented to Patti Smith by Claes Olson, founder of the award and chairman of the jury. The jury’s citation was read by the Swedish artist Sofia Härdig.
Previous Laurates of Joe Hill Memorial Music Award are Joan Baez, the Swedish-Kurdish music group Koma Nurdil and the Swedish artist Stefan Sundström.