The 2023 International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has announced the winners in the World Music category. Selected by a panel of judges composed of prominent music artists, songwriters, and industry experts, these winners demonstrate remarkable creativity, cultural depth, and songwriting proficiency. ISC takes pride in acknowledging these individuals for their exceptional achievement.

Established in 2002, ISC serves as a leading global platform dedicated to celebrating and honoring outstanding songwriting talent worldwide. With a mission to promote the art of songwriting, ISC awards over $150,000 in cash and prizes, including a $25,000 cash prize to the overall Grand Prize winner. Renowned for providing a stage for artists to showcase their skills, winning ISC represents a significant milestone for any songwriter.

The winners in the World Music category are:

First Place

Wenge Yongo” – by Dieudonné Rakotomamonjy (Donné Roberts) – Diego-Suarez, Madagascar

Second Place

“Ololokwe” by John Oriwo – Nairobi, Kenya

Third Place

“Hasn’t Gotten Home” by James Vasanthan – Chennai, India

World music enriches our lives by promoting understanding, preserving heritage, fostering unity, and providing a platform for artistic expression and social change,” said Founder/Director Candace Avery. “These winners stand as examples of excellence and celebrate their various cultures from all over the world.”

The World Music judges panel comprised Ashwin Batish, James McNally, Jacob Edgar (Founder, Cumbancha), Sarah Wanstall (ARC Music Productions International), and others. Notable figures among the additional judges included Mariah Carey, Reba McEntire, Tom Waits, Jennifer Hudson, Linkin Park, Shooter Jennings, Rosanne Cash, Danilo Perez, Stephen Curtis Chapman, and many others.

An additional 12 World Music songs have garnered an Honorable Mention. Previous World Music winners have included: Claudia Acuna, BélO, Mira Awad, Moana Maniapoto, Omar Sosa, Seckou Keita, Ricky Kej, Baaba Maal, Seydina Insa Wade, Daby Toure, Ibrahim Maalouf, and many more.

Overall, ISC winners hail from all over the world (50% of this year’s overall winners come from outside the USA) and range from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 24 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from World Music to Blues to Rock to Pop to EDM and more.

For a complete list of all ISC 2023 winners and to hear the winning songs, go to:

Entries are now open for the 2024 competition. For more information and to enter, go to

Author: World Music Central News Room

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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