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Women sweep most of Kora Awards 2001

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th November 2001 03:00 AM

The sixth annual Kora All Africa Music Awards were held at a colourful ceremony at the Sun City Superbowl on Saturday and were graced by elderly South African statesman Nelson Mandela and wife Graca Machel.

The sixth annual Kora All Africa Music Awards were held at a colourful ceremony at the Sun City Superbowl on Saturday and were graced by elderly South African statesman Nelson Mandela and wife Graca Machel.

By Harry Sagara and Sebidde Kiryowa The sixth annual Kora All Africa Music Awards were held at a colourful ceremony at the Sun City Superbowl on Saturday and were graced by elderly South African statesman Nelson Mandela and wife Graca Machel. The awards were aimed at honouring outstanding artists in the African music industry. Glued on our television sets, we marvelled at the exhibitions of success in Africa’s music industry. The whole scenario painted a bright ray of hope for Africa’s sounds. Well, the event might have been beamed across continents, but this did not stop the nominees from doing their thing. The defining moment was when Coumba Gowlo raised her kora above her shoulders and sang in her rich textured, high pitched, soaring and majestic voice – Senegal, Senegal Oh Senegal! A moving moment for nationalism, Pan-Africanism and beauty – and that surely is what the kora awards ought to be about. If there was a vibrant moment, it was when South Africa’s celebrity Brenda Fassie, (rumoured to be a drug addict) ran up onto the stage dressed in pigtails and a grey and particularly short and revealing school uniform, grabbed her award, did the splits, blew a kiss to the favoured guests Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel, and sang the words “I stay like this.” And that is what Brenda actually is - the crazy streak, with an incredible flare, attitude and individuality. And that is what the Koras really ought to be about: exposing our celebrities and their dynamite. The vulgar moment was when South African R&B newcomer Ernie Smith was crowned ‘Most promising male artist in Africa.’ We have no doubt that Smith will sell well worldwide, but that is because he is playing derivative and commercial R&B. He sounds more American. In Africa, we see beautiful bands and performers that just exude music, pride and integrity. We hear the vivid strains of expressive and original music. And surely that is what the Kora awards ought to be about. For many Ugandans, it was the first time to watch the awards live on a free-to air TV, UTV on Saturday night. At the ceremony, South African musician Yvonne Chaka Chaka decided to steal the show via a different avenue. She was clown of the night. When she came to the podium to receive veteran singer Miriam Makeba’s Best Arrangement (South Africa) award, she sent the crowd shaking with laughter at her comic efforts to mimic ‘Mama Africa’. She again Mimicked Madiba’s unique speech pattern. She managed to amuse Mandela himself. On the performance tip, there was an abundance of truly spell-binding performances. Awilo Longomba and his wacky troupe of queen dancers, gave the audience a taste of electric Congolese dance strokes. But Felix Wezekwa, another Congolese, out-did the fluid Awilo had released. American gospel singer Bebe Winans took home the Kora for Best African American diaspora artist. He was grateful that we, as Africans, were part of their (American singers) lives, even though they knew little of our own craft. No pan intended. But when it came to singing, Winans showed what he had: A truly captivating soulful voice. Teaming up with Ernie Smith, they performed his song Africa Africa. Mali’s Benin Gbessi Zolawadji, who took home the Kora for the Best African Traditional Artist, gave many artists a real run for their money. He showed that authentic African ethnic sounds could be as marketable today as any contemporary genre. In the same league were performances by artists like Oliver Mtukudzi ‘Tuku’ and many others. But the fairest of them all was Jamaican reggae star Shaggy, who was on a South African tour. Shaggy rocked the house like Madiba was not present, compelling them all to stand and wiggle to his sounds. His comic but truly vivacious performance of hits It Wasn’t Me and Angel both from his latest album, was nothing short of phenomenal. Mandela got acknowledgement from virtually everyone who came on stage. There was this Seychelles envoy to South Africa who said he had told his countrymen that meeting Mandela was like meeting Jesus Christ 2000 years ago. His wife Graca was honoured with an award as well. The biggest surprise of the night was Bongo Muffin’s taking home of the Best African Group Award. It was what everyone had held their breath for. Best artists in various regions and categories: l North Africa – Rhany l East Africa – Sandra Mayotte l Southern Africa – Mandoza l West Africa – Coumba Gwalo l Central Africa – Werrason l European Diaspora and the Caribbean – Ludo l Latin America – Tupi Nago l African American Diaspora – BeBe Winans l Traditional Artist - Gbessi Zolawadji (Benin) l Best Arrangement – Miriam Makeba (South Africa) l Best Video - Sawt El Atlas (Morocco) l Most promising African female artist – Rokia Traore (Mali) l Most promising African male artist - Ernie Smith l Best African Group – Bongo Maffin (South Africa) l Judges special awards – Brenda Fassie and Awilo Longomba ends

Women sweep most of Kora Awards 2001

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