The Urban Music Party (UMP) returns this year with more categories.
The gala event will be held on Saturday, December 29 at Robin’s Park, Blantyre, according to Mphatso Chibota, UMP Awards coordinator.
“The categories have been expanded to 20 from 17 last year. We have added the Best Afro-Soul Artist/Group, Best Live Act and Humanitarian Award categories to expand the sphere of influence that the awards have on the local music industry,” he said.
Chibota said the awards continue to make a significant contribution towards the growth of Malawi music industry especially the local urban genre.
He said: “The impact has been huge and beyond urban music. To mention a few; the awards have catapulted to fame previously relatively unknown artists, they have fostered a spirit of healthy competition among artists and fans and in the process enhancing the quality of their work and also strengthening their fan bases, and importantly they have brought some cohesion in the urban music industry in particular and the entire Malawi music generally.”
Chibota said the UMP awards have become more inclusive of sounds traditionally not considered urban.
“For example, we have included the Afro-soul category and we have Ethel Kamwendo performing. While maintaining our base, we do not want urban music to be isolationist,” he said.
Commenting on the awards, musician KBG said the impact of the Awards cannot be emphasised, but observed that there is more room to grow.
“I think they can do better in upgrading their voting system so that people should have one chance to vote not multiple times. Again, they should do a well-rounded research about the artists that they put up for nominations,” he said.
KBG said he would like to see more gospel acts being involved in all categories not instead boxing them in a gospel category.
“Otherwise, we need a platform like this as an industry and so far, they are doing a good job,” he said.
The list of performing headliners includes Gwamba, Fredokiss, Kelly Kay, Ethel Kamwendo, and Salama Dancers, with the nominations process to be announced next week.
Some of the categories are artist of the year, music video of the year, music video director of the year, album of the year and song of the year.