Veteran Ferrer scoops music award
Veteran Cuban star Ibrahim Ferrer has scooped the best Americas artist at the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards. The 76-year-old singer won the trophy at a ceremony at the world famous Ronnie Scott's club in London.

Iraqi star Kazem Al Sahir - dubbed the Robbie Williams of the Middle East - won the award for his region.

The winners will perform in Edinburgh on 9 March at a gala concert, where a special award chosen by Radio 3 listeners will also be presented.

Cuban singer Ferrer shot to fame in 1997 with the film release of the Buena Vista Social Club.

A group of ageing performers, including Ruben Gonzalez and Omara Portuondo, were propelled to international stardom and embarked on a series of concerts around the world.

Ferrer released his latest album, Buenos Hermanos, in 2003, and made an appearance at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Pianist Gonzalez died in December 2003 at the age of 84, while another Buena Vista star, Compay Segundo, died in July 2003 aged 95.

Iraqi singer Kazem Al Sahir has boasted 30 million record sales in the Middle East.

He was born in 1961 and forced to leave the country when the first Gulf War broke out in 1990, and pursued his musical career in Lebanon.

He sang about the suffering of the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein's regime and the struggle with sanction.

But his musical ability established him as a star throughout the Arab world.

Other Radio 3 World Music Award winners included Belgian fusion group Think Of One and Brazilian DJ Dolores - who is in fact a man.

Polish group the Warsaw Village Band triumphed in the newcomer category, but their compatriots Kroke missed out to Spain's Ojos de Bruno for the Europe award.

Malian singer Rokia Traore's album Bowmboi was judged the best release of the year by music critics.

The female artist is descended from a West African family of nobles, while it is the second time one of her albums has won an award.

Her 2000 release Wanita was also the recipient of the critics' award for the year's best release.

According to