Mónika Lakatos, singer of Romengo and Gypsy Sounds (Cigány hangok), received this year's Womex Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Music Expo.
What Oscar means for actors, Womex is the same for world musicians. The WOMEX Artist Awards is the greatest recognition of folk and world music, that now a Hungarian-gypsy woman won for the first time ever. Mónika Lakatos is the first Lifetime Achievement Award winner of Gypsy origin.
The singer joins a truly illustrious list, as the World Music Lifetime Achievement Award has been given to performers and orchestras since 1999 such as Hugh Masekela, Värttinä, the Kronos Quartet or Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. On the Hungarian side, the Muzsikás Band received the Artist Award in 2008.
Mónika Lakatos is distinguished from the representatives of the Oláh Gypsy musical tradition by her magical singing voice and impressive presence, her endless humility towards music. She learned her first songs as a child, in the Gypsy community of Nagyecsed. She won a talent show in 1996 in folk song category. Mónika strengthened Romano Drom between 2000 and 2003, but her main formation is the Romengo band, founded in 2004, whose musicians, including her husband, Mihály Rostás "Mazsi", combine the musical traditions of the Oláh Gypsies with newer sounds, such as Latin music.
She is also featured in Cigány hangok, which includes several family members of hers. She devoted her first solo album, Romanimo to slow songs, breaking with established trends. This album was among the top 5 records in World Music Charts Europe.