“This is an important homage for us,” said legendary Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango, as he accepted the reward, “since this box set brings to the fore dozens of African artists who are totally unknown to the French public. "I would like to thank the Academy on their behalf.”
Dibango's global hit "Soul Makossa” features on the collection.
The 187 recordings from 39 African states is the brainchild of RFI producer Pierre René-Worms and one of Africa ’s best-known producers Ibrahim Sylla.
Sylla’s daughter was on hand to accept the reward in her father’s name, saying the 18-month labour of love had accompanied him through a serious illness he is still recovering from.
“50 Years is admirable, its music unfailingly classy, and its very existence testimony to the much-changed perception of African music over recent decades,” wrote Neil Spencer in his review of the set for British newspaper The Observer. Coproduced by the French label Discograph, it has sold a record number of copies for an African box set.
The Charles Cros award for the triple-CD documentary Mémoires de tirailleurs, les anciens combattants d’Afrique noir racontent went to veteran RFI producer Théogène Karabayinga.
His remarkable research into the former combatants from sub-Saharan Africa during 20th century wars unearthed tales of sacrifice and hardship.