“The winner of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition 2023 is N’famady Kouyate!”

So declared Emily Eavis at the end of a swelteringly hot, three-hour, live final inside the Pilton Working Men’s Club, a stones throw (or minibus) from the Glastonbury Festival site.
I’d selected N’famady back in March as one of Music Like Dirt’s three nominations for the competition longlist, so I was particularly thrilled to see him come through against an incredibly strong line up of finalists.

The Guinea-born but Cardiff-based musician and his treasured Balafon (a traditional wooden xylophone, sacred to West African culture) will now feature on one of Glastonbury’s main stages, as well as receiving a £5,000 Talent Development prize from the PRS Foundation. Head to his website for more information and details of upcoming gigs.

In the decade or so I’ve been fortunate enough to act as one of the thirty initial judges, bands I’ve picked have become Glastonbury regulars despite not making it beyond the longlist (2013 The Slaves), while Early Ghost (2016) and Frankie Beetlestone (2020) made it through to the final in Pilton, and I remain convinced every artist I ever picked for the longlist more than deserved to play Glastonbury! 🙂 A shout out to Mystery Team who I also selected this year and got to see live in London last month.

VLURE and Prima Queen were runners up and benefit from a £2500 Talent Development prize as well as a slot at Glastonbury. It could be argued that VLURE got the crowd going more than any other act on the night and Prima Queen featured in my Top 200 tracks of 2022 with their beautiful ‘Butter Knife’ track. They played two of their other singles at the finals.

PRS For Music posted some highlights from the evening on their Instagram.