As Africa’s biggest music acts converge in Lagos, a host of Kenyan artistes are looking to win hearts and be named Africa’s finest on Sunday night at the third edition of the All African Music Awards, AFRIMA.
The All Africa Music Awards seek to recognise and reward those who have given African music the most creative competitive edge in the global market within the year. (The awards are not related to: AFRIMMA (African Muzik Magazine Awards: a award ceremony in the Diaspora honouring African acts.)
As well as perennial favourites, the list of Kenyan stars nominated by a 13-man jury contains several newer artistes who are out to prove their mettle in various categories. Most of Kenya’s nominations are in regional heats with only Sauti Sol nominated to the bigger continental category, that of Album of the year Award for their Live and Die in Afrika.
Gospel music proved to be the country’s biggest export scoring four nominations divided equally between male and female artistes.
Mercy Masika’s ‘Nikupendeze’ is nominated alongside Evelyne Wanjiru’s ‘Nikufahamu' for best female performance in African inspiration while Denno and Bahati’s ‘Story Yangu’ is up against compatriots Papa Dennis and Rigan Sarkozi’s ‘Olalo’ among others.
The Afrima awards featured a weekend of activities that included a business roundtable as well as a non-stop live concert with over 40 artistes in performance. The round table provided an innovative platform for business networking and interaction among music professionals, music executives, government officials and other stakeholders in the music, media and financial sectors of Africa and the world at large. The brainstorming sessions were designed to give insight into the unexplored and ill-exploited economic values of African music.
The younger generation of artistes paid tribute to music legends Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba and Sunny Wade who took African music to the world. Papa Dennis was the only Kenyan performing at the festival.
This year also saw the introduction of “African Fans Favourite” category which Kenyan Nyashinski who had taken a musical timeout, returned to much love. His ‘Now you Know’ earned him a spot in the category recognising “African artistes who create chartbusting, anthemic songs that propel the artistes to great popularity within and outside their respective countries and regions.”
Other Kenyans nominated to the Afrima awards are Avril alongside compatriot Victoria Kimani who are up against Juliana Kanyomozi and Cindy Sanyu for the title of best female artiste in East Africa.