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PAM award winners: The glory, the gloom

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd November 2007 03:00 AM

WE vividly remember the excitement that surrounded the first edition of the Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) Awards in 2003 like it was yesterday. Four years later, while some of the past winners moved on to glory, some seem to have fallen into oblivion, and others have remained on the fringes of stardom

WE vividly remember the excitement that surrounded the first edition of the Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) Awards in 2003 like it was yesterday. Four years later, while some of the past winners moved on to glory, some seem to have fallen into oblivion, and others have remained on the fringes of stardom

By Emmanuel Ssejjengo
WE vividly remember the excitement that surrounded the first edition of the Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) Awards in 2003 like it was yesterday. Four years later, while some of the past winners moved on to glory, some seem to have fallen into oblivion, and others have remained on the fringes of stardom.

Jose Chameleone’s star shone brighter. After taking the Artist of the Year Award, he worked harder the following year to retain it. But although he has kept on producing album after album, he has not taken the top award since. He has since then “dissed” the awards.

Out of the studio and offstage, Chameleone lived the life of a star. After splitting with his longtime girlfriend Dorotia, she was later arrested in possession of illegal drugs.

Unbothered, Chameleone was seeing Daniella Atim, then a university student. She later bore his second kid. There were many unconfirmed stories of the two breaking up. But the stories were denied time and again.

Chameleone chose to chase his dream of becoming an international star and performed at many concerts in Europe and the US. That exodus rewarded him with US citizenship after he married an American woman in a quiet ceremony.

In 2005, he missed out on the top award. Not that Mesach Ssemakula who took over could keep many “worshippers” for long. He remained humble, perhaps too humble to keep in the headlines for long. Semakula has steadily moved down the scale to the extent that he has not been nominated this year.

But does anyone remember KADS Band, the 2003 winners of the award for Best Live Band? From then the band went on a high, releasing more tracks for Titie Tabel and Romeo Akiiki.

Then along the way, the managers went shy of telling the truth to the media and insisted that the band was in business until late in 2005, when it was not heard of again.

Some of its lead singers continued recording. Romeo Akiiki turned to world music and completely disappeared off our stages.

He should have learnt the lesson from Iryn Namubiru, who returned from music exile last year and took Best Female Artist and Best R&B single awards.
Titi Tabel, having been the Female Artist and taken the Best Live Band Single Award that year, has steadily moved down the ladder in her career.

Her creative juices have been sucked dry by her busy schedule at Beat FM.
It has been a long journey for hip hop since 2003. But the first winners of the hip-hop awards have not been around to witness this journey.

Klear Kut, a group of high school kids, went back to study. Most of the guys in universities abroad, left only a few members who were also in and out of the country. Every member of the group is now working on a solo album.

Tha Mith, the only one currently in the country, is releasing his any time this month. “After that, we are going to record as Klear Kut,” he says. So hip-hop has not completely lost its first recognised stars.

Kadongo kamu fans cannot say the same. The passing on of Paul Kafeero earlier this year left a somber mood. He took the first Kadongo kamu awards and continued recording on the whim to his dying day.

You cannot blame some groups for their demise, like the case of the Khakifa Mukaasa Group which took the Mataali Group category. After that, the PAM Awards committee removed the category, meaning that the group would have nothing to win the preceding years.

Nile Beat, the Best Cultural Group in 2003 used their win as a chance to let the corporates know that they are talented. The result? A deal to promote Senator Lager throughout the country.

But how do you explain the disappearance of the guy who brought gospel music to traditional weddings and discotheques? Pastor George Okudi used the Gospel Single of the Year 2003 Wipolo, to achieve that.

He went on to win a Kora Award in South Africa. But from then on, he slowly slipped into oblivion. No one in the music circles seems to know what he is up to in the US.

Winning three awards at once does not come easy. That seems to have satisfied Steve Jean in 2003, but he has not repeated that feat. He took best R&B artist, best R&B single and the best producer. He has since stuck to producing music for others.

In 2004, East World won four awards at a single gala (Afrobeat Single, Afrobeat Artist, Eastern Artist and Video of the Year). However, the Fodda Group nearly failed to stand afterwards. In 2005, the group recorded the Kanambeya album and was nominated twice.

In 2006, they featured prized Bebe Cool on Mukilize. But what has kept the group away from the studio was the pressure at university. Now that they have completed their studies, they are set to produce their fourth album later this year.

Silver Kyagulanyi will pen some of the songs and Steve Jean will handle the production. But will they hit the high mark they did in 2004?

Your ignorance could be someone’s joy. The Obsessions know this. In 2004, they used the ignorance of the PAM Awards committee to scoop the hip hop awards. The cannot-be-hip hop group has since never been nominated in the category and has not taken an award either.

But could that deceptive success be the reason the gropu later split? All the boys left and Ronnie Mulindwa remained with some girls. Recently, Cleo Kohairwe also left. Obsessions is now an all-girl group of four — Jackie Tusiime, Brenda Nambi, Sharon Salman and Helen Lukome.

Sheila Nvanungi, the Female Artist of the Year in 2004, has never been nominated again. But she continues to struggle for a come back in vain.

So, does winning the PAM Awards help the artists? It does, and it does not.

PAM award winners: The glory, the gloom

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