SAMA 18 – day 1 recap

The South African Music Awards are in full swing. Last year the awards were held at Montecasino in Johannesburg… EPIC FAIL! After a series of technical and production issues, this year’s organisers decided to move the awards back to their rightful home – that being Sun City. The festivities kicked off at the Sun City Ballroom with the industry awards. This part of the two-day event includes categories such as Best Producer, Best Engineer, Best Live DVD among others. It’s very unfortunate that this part of the programme wasn’t well attended because there were some really great performances plus the engineers and the producers who are just as responsible for bringing you the music as much as the artist is, were honoured too.

The industry awards kicked off with an address by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile. He paid tribute to this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award candidates and then told guests how committed government is to growing the arts and culture industry in South Africa. You know how it goes, blah blah but let’s see. Comedians Tumi Morake and Tatz Nkonzo emceed the show. Before welcoming his co-host for the evening, Nkonzo opened with his own version of nominees MiCasa’s hit song These Streets. This was classic, hilarious. As soon as my videos are ready for upload, I’ll put them up here. The two then introduced the presenters and performers in true comic style, leaving guests in fits of laughter.

Besides the emcees and their ‘performances’ the audience got to see SAMA nominees Loyiso Bala and Idols star Lloyd Cele performing their song Ntando as well as a performance from Afrikaans singer Charlize Berg. Loyiso’s voice is sounding absolutely amazing. He really is one of the best vocalists I’ve heard and I have been a fan for almost a decade now, so hear how his voice has grown throughout the years is fantastic. Lloyd did a great job too! There were also performances from Afro-fusion band Stimela, Kabomo, Lira (love, love Miss Lira), Selaelo Selota, Solly Mahlangu and others, who all paid tribute to legends Vusi Mahlasela and Ray Phiri. On being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Awards, Phiri said “I’m grateful that I’ve been given an opportunity like this to sneak into your hearts. You’ve given me great memories.” He then joked about how to make it in the music business saying, “There’s one thing I know. Be friends with the SAMA, make friends with RISA, talk to the SABC and open your mind and be friends with Ray Phiri and everything will be fine”.

In addition to his Lifetime Achievement Award, Mahlasela has also been awarded the Martin Luther King Jr, César Chavez and Rosa Parks Visiting Professorship award from the University of Michigan in the US For his activism through music. Humbled by both awards, Mahlasela said, ‘Thank you, thank you, and thank you very please. It really gives me pleasure to receive this award on behalf of quite a lot of many who have really supported me up until now. Most difficult times, in the years that I started to be a professional musician. I wanted to go to school to study to be a doctor or a priest. Somebody told me that I was doing that through my music.” After their speeches, the two performed a beautiful and moving rendition of the smash hit Weeping.  So I thought what would this post be without a bit of music… Here is the Most Played Song on South African Radio, it’s Liquideep’s Alone, one of my best tracks:

Stay tuned for more action from this year’s South African Music Awards, coming to you from Sun City.

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