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    Ghana Music Awards returns with controversy

    by Francis Doku
    posted Sunday, 03 March 2013 18:35| 42 Comments

    IT SEEMS there would never be a Ghana Music Awards event that would not come with a major controversy when the list of nominees to receive awards on Ghana’s biggest entertainment night is released by the organisers. The Vodafone Ghana Music Awards, or VGMA as it is known, attracts controversy like a flower attracts butterflies and this year’s is no exception.

    As predictable as the VGMA and controversy is, since the list of nominees was released at the launch event at Accra’s La Palm Beach Hotel last Friday we have had many coming. Complaints from artistes about the number of nominations they got, why they were not nominated in certain categories as well as what their fans and the entire entertainment community thinks about the list have all been buzzing hot since.



    I want to take a look at the list of nominations and express my opinion on some of the very strong ones. I must say at this point that I was invited to be a member of the VGMA board but couldn’t take it due to personal reasons; however, I believe I could still comment on the list regardless of that decision.

    The one that jumps at you the most is the topmost award category which is Artiste of the Year and there have been some comments coming from artistes since the announcement that the nominees are R2Bees, D-Black, VIP, Kwaw Kese, Cwesi Oteng and 4X4.

    The one artist who has commented most on this category has to be Asem who took to Twitter the morning after the announcement to ask why he was not there. I think Asem had a strong song going for him but as far as Artiste of the Year is concerned I am not too sure he made enough impact with shows to be considered for nomination.

    Having said that though I also think there are some people on that list who ought not to be there and I can’t for the life of me understand how they are there. VIP and 4×4 were totally out of performance range last year and their inclusion is akin to mysterious for me. Kwaw Kesse didn’t do much either although I would consider him over the two.

    Let me put it this way, if Asem did not make it because of lack of strong performances then VIP, 4×4 and Kwaw should also not have been there. Perhaps the spokespersons for the organisers or the board would be able to explain why they made it.

    Some other people have argued that E.L. ought to have been nominated as well for the artiste of the year, but I have a different opinion that unless the criteria have changed about how an artiste would qualify for nomination to this category then E.L. deserves not to have been nominated.

    I was also going to pick up the issue of Sarkodie not being there only to get some inside information that he didn’t present his work for nomination and those that are in other categories are there because of collaboration with other artistes like Appietus and Jayso. So I probably have to rest my case on Sarkodie.

    Again, I wanted to know why Samini wasn’t there and the impression I got was that the song he released which would have earned him a place came out too late although that same song which featured Whizkid got nominated for Reggae Dancehall Song of the Year. I honestly think he did some good performances and ought to have gotten a shoo-in somehow.

    While still on Artiste of the Year I am very surprised that the nation’s two best female artistes Becca and Efya who also showed up at many events with good performances were lost from the list. It is my considered opinion that if their songs could be nominated in other categories then they ought to have been given a consideration above 4×4 and VIP!

    The next strong category is the one for Song of the Year with these nominees Bye-Bye – Asem Ft. Kwabena Kwabena, Life (Walahi) – R2Bees, Vera – D-Black, Ole Seke – Dr. Slim & Dobble, Aluguntugui – Keche, Azonto Fiesta – Appietus, Sarkodie & Kesse, Zaphanat Panea – Nicholas Omane Acheampong, Antenna – Fuse ODG contending.

    In my humble view all the songs that many any meaningful impact and deserve to be on that list are there except Odo by R2Bees. This was for me one of the best songs that came out in the year with the rendition by Mugeez on point.

    However, the argument that would be made by the board would be that every artiste deserves one chance and you put your best foot forward and since Life seems to be the best foot of R2Bees hence the choice.

    It must be added though that the list up there is a strong one and any of the songs could emerge victorious on the day.

    When it came to the category of Hip Life/Hip Hop Artiste Of The Year it was as though the board tried to be consistent but ended up messing it up in the end with the final list. The nominees released are R2Bees, D-Black, Keche, 4X4, VIP and E.L.

    For example, in keeping with whatever led to the nomination of 4×4 and VIP they also nominate the two groups for Hiplife/Hip Hop Artiste of the Year and add Keche and E.L. to it. They also keep consistency in not including Asem and Samini. It also begs the question: how do you nominate Kwaw for Artiste of the Year and not nominate him for the category that bears his own genre. Not consistent enough there.

    I can say for a fact that at events where I have seen both Keche and Double perform the latter were the better artistes by a country mile and so surprised at their inclusion of the former and exclusion of the latter.

    Here again I believe the spokespersons of the event organisers and the board have their jobs cut out for them in giving reasons, if they so will, for the choices the board made with regards to this category.

    One thing that grabbed my attention from the list was the dearth of talent in the categories for gospel and highlife. As an example, the Gospel Song Of The Year category had as nominees Ka No Seyaa – Herty Bongreat ft Trigmatic, Nkomhye – Cynthia Mccauley, Zaphanat Panea – Nicholas Omane Acheampong, Se Me Wo Nkwa Daa – Joe Dee Owusu Ft Amy Newman and God Dey Bless Me – Cwesi Oteng.

    Considering that gospel used to contribute the highest number of songs and quality in many cases during past Ghana Music Awards events the above could be described as absolutely shambolic! I think the gospel artistes need to up their game to ensure that in subsequent events they are well and truly represented.

    The case of highlife is even worse. Over the years the music genre that defined this country has been losing grounds and each successive Ghana Music Awards event exposes that retrogression so glaringly.

    This list of nominees for Highlife Song Of The Year Odo – R2Bees, Love Of My Life – Afriyie Wutah, Lovi Dovi – Raquel, Paradise – D-Flex and Treat Her Royal – Kesse ft Sarkodie tells a lot about the state of highlife music in this country. Any song worthy of note in this list, in my view, is the R2Bees song with all others not worthy of challenging for Highlife song of the year.

    As is the normal practice there would be differing views on the list of nominees for this year’s VGMA and although it is inevitable for that to happen sometimes you are left on your own to think about whether the organisers were not aiming for controversy in some of the decisions they make.

    It must be noted that satisfying everyone with nominations and then the awards itself is a mirage no one can meet and therefore we need to commend the board for this list. However, as I have alluded to above the spokespersons would have to give some explanations for some of the decisions made and communicated last Saturday.

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