Patti Smith wins Polar Music prize

Punk godmother shares Swedish award with Kronos Quartet

Patti Smith and US string group Kronos Quartet have received the 2011 Polar Music Prize.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented both artists with their one million kronor (£96,555) prize at the ceremony in Stockholm earlier this evening (August 30).

The Polar, the highest award in Swedish music, is usually shared by a pop artist and a classical musician.

Smith, generally considered the godmother of punk, thanked her fans and band members, said she was “humbled and inspired” to receive the prize. She also appealed for the audience to “turn their hearts, minds and resources” to the famine in Africa.

San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet incorporate avant-garde rock and elements of world music into their sound. Smith, meanwhile, describes her music – including the landmark album ‘Horses’ – as “three chord rock merged with the power of the word”. Her best-known song is perhaps ‘Because The Night’, co-written with Bruce Springsteen.

The Polar Music Prize was founded by Stig Anderson, the manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, in 1989.

It is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music. Last year’s prize was shared by Ennio Morricone and Bjork.

Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd and Stevie Wonder are among past winners.

Hear Patti Smith covering Adele‘s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ here.