Smith Lands Sweden’s Polar Music Prize

click image to enlarge
August 30, 2011 | 2:15pm EST

Rocker Patti Smith has been been lauded in Sweden after winning the country’s prestigious Polar Music Prize.
The Because The Night singer was honored alongside American string group, the Kronos Quartet, at a glitzy gala in Stockholm on Tuesday, when they were each presented with a cheque for one million kronar ($159,000) by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Smith admitted she was “humbled and inspired” to receive the award – Sweden’s highest musical honor – but she used the opportunity to turn the spotlight on famine-stricken East Africa, asking the audience to “turn their hearts, minds and resources” to the disaster.

The Polar Music Prize is awarded to musicians who have achieved outstanding achievements in the industry and has previously been handed to stars including Sir Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd.

Smith has been collecting major accolades in recent months – her critically acclaimed biography Just Kids won the singer/poet the 2010 National Book Award in America.