DONATE NOW   |   Print Page   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Become a Member
The People's Voice Award

The People's Voice Award

Presented to an individual who unabashedly embraces social and political commentary in their creative work and public careers.

FAI members can nominate a candidate here.

Folk Alliance International's People's Voice Award is not connected to, inspired by, or affiliated with any other entities that share the same name, or similar iteration of the title “The People’s Voice.”

2020 Award Recipient


A vocal activist and female icon, Ani DiFranco’s international career was made notable through meaningful songwriting that embraces and embodies social activism. DiFranco’s folk roots run deep. Pete Seeger (for whose passing she penned a tribute published by the Wall Street Journal) is among her most influential mentors. DiFranco launched Righteous Babe Records in 1990 and has released more than 20 albums to date. In 2013, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Winnipeg. Through the Righteous Babe Foundation, DiFranco has backed various grassroots cultural and political organizations, supporting causes ranging from abortion rights to gay visibility, and fair labor laws with the late Utah Phillips. In 2015, she recorded a version of Peter Mulvey’s song “Take Down Your Flag” with New Orleans musicians and jazz players, Ivan Neville and Terence Higgins, in support of the victims of the Charleston church shooting. In 2016, DiFranco urged election day turnout on her “VOTE DAMMIT” tour. Continuing her activism on and offstage, Ani regularly publishes guest articles in notable publications, and has recently written a memoir – “No Walls and the Recurring Dream” which has become a New York Times bestseller.


2019 Award Recipient


Buffy Sainte-Marie is a musician, visual artist, educator, activist, philanthropist, innovator, and folk icon. She has written pop standards that have been sung and recorded by the likes of Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, First Aid Kit, and Elvis Presley, to name a few; penned “Universal Soldier,” the definitive anti-war anthem of the 20th century; recorded one of the world’s first electronic vocal albums; and spent five years on Sesame Street, where she became the first woman to breastfeed on national television. Buffy Sainte-Marie is also the first, and only, Indigenous woman to win an Academy Award. In 2018’s climate of damaging rhetoric and toxic hubris, Buffy Sainte-Marie’s incisive honesty, clarity, and intelligent compassion stand out in sharp relief.


After more than 50 years in the music industry, Buffy Sainte-Marie continues to be a thrilling and necessary artist and activist. She is the recipient of this year’s People’s Voice Award for the message in her music, her voice regarding Indigenous issues, cultural awareness, and the environment, her trailblazing role as a woman in the music industry, and for the continued work of her Nihwean Foundation and the Cradleboard Teaching Project.


2018 Award Recipient


Bonnie Raitt is a 10-time GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter, blues artist,

and activist. Bonnie has long been involved with the environmental movement, performing concerts around issues of oil, nuclear power, mining, water, and forest protection since the mid 70’s. Active in environmental advocacy, she was a founding member of MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy) and supports efforts to preserve Ancient Forests. Raitt consistently demonstrates her commitment to issues of social justice and human rights, as well as royalty reform and music education. At most concerts, Raitt works with The Guacamole Fund to offer seats to local non-profit organizations whose work focuses on issues of safe and sustainable energy, environmental protection, and social issues.

2017 Award Recipient


The inaugural award is presented to multi-platinum recording artist Bruce Cockburn, whose 40 year international career has consistently highlighted environmental, social, and indigenous issues. Working and performing in support of various causes, he has highlighted the work of Oxfam, the UN Summit for Climate Control, and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, among others. He has toured and conducted fact-finding trips in Mozambique, Nepal, Vietnam, Baghdad, and Guatemala. He holds nine honorary doctorates and is a member of the Order of Canada.


Folk Alliance International, 601 Avenida Cesar E Chavez Suite #100, Kansas City MO 64108 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) •

Privacy Policy



Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal