For the effort, dedication, commitment, good spirit displayed throughout the year in urban music, those who stood out had to be identified and honoured.
That moment came on Saturday evening when Urban People Music awards (UMP) were held in Blantyre at Robin’s Park. It was a glittering ceremony which brought together all the names that matter in urban music locally.
The patronage was impressive, a large section being the youth. Some could not manage to part with the gate fee and for not wanting to completely miss out, they chose to stick around the perimeter of the venue. As long as they got the vibe from a distance, they were fine.
The stage was well decorated. It gave out an impression of glitz and glamour such events are associated with.
The awards were a culmination of a series of events that have taken place under the UMP umbrella which also included the introduction of five new fashion categories under their portfolio this year.
Music performances started early in the afternoon, but the evening was solely designed for the awards. The programme indicated that the event would start at 6pm but it was delayed for over an hour for unspecified reasons.
Then came the moment when 19 awards were given out. Out of the 19, it was Shammah Vocals, Piksy and Fredokiss who walked away with two awards each. Shammah Vocals got the best Afro-soul act of the year and best urban gospel act.
Rapper Fredokiss was honoured with the Humanitarian award and he also shared the best collabo of the year award with close friend Gwamba for their song Nthawi Zanji while Piksy won artist of the year and Song of the year for Umakwana.
Video of the year went to Tay Grin for his song Lubwa. VJ Ken won the video director award. And it seems like there is no one yet to beat R ‘n’ B heartthrob Kell Kay who won the best R ‘n’ B/Afro-pop act for the fifth year running.
The best new act went to Eli Njuchi. Tuno won the best female act and Henwood got the best producer award. Gospel artist Suffix won the album of the year award for his work on Before I Sleep. The best hip-hop act went to Toast.
Purple C won the best dancehall act, best live act went to Faith Mussa, best duo/group went to the Mabilinganya Empire and the best band award went to Zathu Band. Best Sadc international act went South Africa’s King Monada for his trending song Malwede.
Lucius Banda was given the Lifetime Achievement award.
In a post-event interview Piksy said: “It has been a wonderful year for me. The success that I have registered with this song has been unbelievable and I am not particularly surprised with this award. Umakwana was released in February but still receives huge demand wherever I go till today.”
One of the awards’ organisers Ken Zizwa said he was impressed with the strides achieved in the local urban music industry since 2009 when they first held the UMP awards.
“The level of the skill has clearly gone steps up in all important areas as video production and even promotion. It is our hope that as time goes by we will continue to build on these strengths,” he said.
The evening also saw live performances from artists such as Lilia, Piksy, Kell Kay, Gwamba, Fredokiss and Suffix. n