Since the introduction of the Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) awards four years ago, artistes have continued to assess their annual performances by how many PAM awards they get. The pursuit to get a PAM award has since bred intense competition. Raphael Okello introduces you to some of this yearâ€
Mugerwa entered showbiz as a dancer with Diamond Productions in 2004. She was barely there for a year before she decided to try music. By the end of 2005, Mugerwa had recorded a five-track album, whose title track, Masanyalaze, brought her public acclaim. Because of her popularity, Hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebagala, Kampalaâ€™s Mayor, used her services to pull crowds during his campaigns. Known as Ugandaâ€™s Shakira, Mugerwa often pulls off a repertoire of cheeky calypso and Shakira-like belly dances. That is why her reputation as a dancer precedes her music. She is the most popular of the artists in her category and stands to beat them to the award of Best New artist.
His stage name is as puzzling as his mischievous stage performance at Nakivubo Stadium during Ekiggunda kyâ€™omwaka where his manhood narrowly slipped out for thousands to see! Was that a dubious claim to musical success? No Creature is known for wearing swimming costumes on stage and being a curtain-raiser at shows for four years.
might getting a PAM award just be the boost his career needs?
â€œPeople forget that I am a new artist,â€ Iryn Namubiru complained about the omission of her name in the category of Best New Artist. Well, people have not forgotten. Itâ€™s just that we still remember you singing with Juliana Kamyomozi as I-Jay in 1999. Indeed, when they returned as individual artists, after four years, fans knew them. After Juliana, Namubiru showed up from France. While in France, she pursued a degree in law for a year then diverted to music. She performed with two groups before returning home. In trying to breakthrough, Namubiru did a few naughty things like flaunting her knickers at concerts! Like Kanyomozi in 2005, will Namubiru be crowned Female Artist of the Year?
red Giria aka Rocky Giant
Rocky Giant started his career singing in a church choir in Kibuli. The 22-year-old broke away from the choir in 2004 and joined the Jungle Beat crew.
It did not take long before he had a couple of Luganda and Swahili releases, Rafiki, Gwabarasi and Nafika, to his name. One of his songs Rafiki has been nominated for Best Hip Hop single and he has also been nominated for Best Hip Hop artist.
Is she Kemigisha or Namukasa? She says Namukasa is her grandmotherâ€™s name, but Kemigisha is what we should call her. So that is settled.
So, what else is not known about her? The success of her song, Tindatiine, thrust her in the spotlight when the PAM award team visited Mbarara this year. After failing to continue with her education due to financial problems, she joined Romax Band in Mbarara and was also a hairdresser. She composed Tindatine after the band had collapsed. If she is overwhelmed, we can understand why. But there is more coming for her â€” she will be voted Western Artiste of the Year.
Gatimo, Grace and Paragon
The trio met during karaoke at Garden Cityâ€™s Alleygators in 2005. Their interest in music blossomed into a group. So far they have produced Ani akumanyi and the public feels they are good for two PAM awards â€” Best New artiste and Best Afro Beat single. Music aside the three artistes have different career interests. Gatimo is a student at UPTEK. Grace is a hairdresser and Paragon is a graphic designer.
Aisha Kyomuhangi aka Lady Aisha
Self-styled music critics passed a verdict when Lady Aisha started singing early 2006: â€œShe is an abuse to music,â€ some raved.
â€œShe would be better off sticking to her 10-year acting career with the Bakayimbira Dramactors,â€ others mocked. She ignored such criticism, released a six-truck album and went on a London music tour. It is for such self-belief that the singer of Onsibya Musanyu has been rewarded with a PAM nomination for Best New artist.
From born-again Christians and Muslims, children to adults, everybody has been busy singing her Beera Nange gospel hit. Each of the songs on her latest six-track album is appealing, but it is Beera Nange, which hit listeners like a whirlwind and so was her controversial stance to snub the Ekitoobero concert at Nakivubo. Her reasons were spiritual â€” it is a conflict of ideologies to perform at a concert sponsored by a beer making company or ask people to pay to watch her perform. She looks set to win Best Gospel Artiste and Best Gospel single awards.
A radio presenter in Jinja, Kyansuti aims to achieve national acclaim through music. Unfortunately, her singles Traffic Officer and Votto remain largely popular in Jinja. Her latest single, Kitumbugulu has put her on the path of Eastern Artiste of the Year.
Who are pam awardsâ€™ new Kids