By Vanessa Obioha
The newly released nominees list for the fifth All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), sees Nigeria and Ghana in a tight contest in the Western Africa region category.
Nigeria leads the pack with four nominations in the male category including two nods in Best Female Artiste in the Western region. Ghana follows closely with five nominations while Guinea, Cape Verde, Benin Republic, Mali, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire hold one spot each.
In Southern Africa region, Cameroon takes up four of the eight spots in the category for Best Female Artiste in Central Africa, followed by the Republic of Congo and Angola with two nods each.
Kenya leads the way in Eastern Africa with six nominations; three each in the female and male category. Tanzania follows with four nominations.
The Algerian female artistes have a lead ahead of their male counterparts as they took four out of the six spots in the category for Best Female Artiste in Northern Africa, with Tunisia and Egypt holding one spot each. The Male category has Moroccan artistes occupying four of the eight spots, Algeria two, Egypt and Tunisia earning one nomination each.
South African artistes dominates both in the male and female categories, with a total of nine spots in the Southern Africa region. It is followed by Zimbabwe with three spots, while Swaziland, Namibia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe take one nod each.
For this year’s edition, a total of 8,009 entries were received out of which 79 songs were nominated. The list covers the five regional categories divided into female and male categories.
Providing insights into the process by which the entries were reviewed and graded, the spokesperson for the International Jury of AFRIMA and the Programme Director, Cameroon TV and Radio, CRTV, Mr. Robert Ekukole (representing Eastern Africa), explained that tasked with the responsibility of carefully and mindfully sieving through 8,009 entries submitted by African music professionals within the awards validity period of August 1, 2017 to August 1, 2018, “the jury members have no choice but to be thorough and deliberate about their work because we will be doing artistes and creators of these works a great injustice if we don’t accord them the review their works deserves. The AFRIMA nominees list we arrived at reflects and represents the top-notch creative expressions of music talents and professionals within the relevant regions and validity period. However, we also have a challenge where some artistes failed to enter for the awards and as such missed the opportunity to be evaluated or possibly nominated for AFRIMA”.
Elaborating further on the parameters considered by the jury, jury member representing Diaspora (North America), Hadja Kobélé Keita, a music executive with work experience in international music companies like Universal Music Africa and Island Africa, reiterated the AFRIMA objective, which is about rewarding and promoting talents and creativity in Africa.
“AFRIMA has specific guidelines they follow in considering musical works that are nominated yearly. Besides these guidelines, we also look out for the quality of works submitted. An artiste’s popularity will not influence the jury’s verdict. Just because an artiste has 100 million views on Youtube does not guarantee making the list, unless such works are produced with high quality and represent the continent properly. Other guidelines the jury considers are the current trends and market position.”
The AFRIMA adjudication is carried out electronically via the proprietary AFRIMA Adjudication Software, which was designed by AFRIMA in 2014. It has been deployed for use since the 2015 annual adjudication process.
Public voting opens on the AFRIMA website on Monday, August 27.
The main event is scheduled for November.