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Ghana Music Awards: the countdown begins 4/4/2007
Many thought it wouldn’t happen. After all the speculation however, Ghana’s leading production house, Charter House, has set the records straight: this year’s Ghana Music Awards will surely happen -- on May 5. The award show honors winners based on popularity -- and air play with no scientific data in particular, save for public votes and endorsment from a select committee of ‘experts’.

The rules state that songs that have sexually explicit and violent lyrics are disqualified by default. Whether this rule is strictly applied or not is an open debate. The 14 category award scheme features as a new entrant the African Pop Song of the Year, which puts a spotlight on songs that do not necessarily fall under the Hiplife or Highlife genres, but is still of Ghanaian origin. Discovery of the Year replaces New Artiste of the Year. All the traditional categories are still present -- including Best Male Vocal, Artiste of the Year and Artiste of the Year.

The GMA organization (which comprises personnel working in the music industry, producers, presenters and entertainment writers) has already selected nominees for the various categories and the public voting has already started via SMS. Winners of each category will be chosen by three main parties: the general public with 30% of the vote, the selection committee and the planning committee with 35% of the votes each. KPMG, as usual, will be in charge of collating the results of the voting.

GMA 2007 will be in various parts, namely: the Industry Awards and Highlife Night, the Public Awards Night and a Beach Jam.

The very well attended official launching of the Ghana Music Awards, 2007 started off with the Abiz-Abiz Band. Present at the launch were David Dontoh, Diana Akiwumi, Alhaji Sidiku Buari, President of the Musicians Union of Ghana), Nana Akomeah, MP and ace trumpeter, Mac Tontoh.

Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD) the emcee for the night came up stage singing. (The dude can really act strange sometimes). Alhaji Sidiku Buari described the GMA as “one of the best in the entertainment industry’s calendar.” But he did not mince words when he said that the prizes given to award winners were not good enough and that “they are nothing to write home about”. He suggested that the ‘artist of the year’, for example, should be given a car or a house. “After all, that’s what is given to even the beauty queens,” he said.

The events manager of Charter House, Theresa Ayoade, told the gathering that her company hopes to get the Ghana Music Awards to the level of the KORA Awards, this year. Thus, pre-event publicity will be placed on Channel O and Africa Magic on DStv as well as in newspapers in Nigeria, La Cote D’Ivoire, and Togo.

The event is expected to be covered by MTV Base Africa, Channel O, AIT (Nigeria), BBC, Studio 53 and CNN’s ‘Inside Africa’. In as much as this is an event is to celebrate Ghanaian musicians, there will be special guest artists at the awards ceremony, including South Africa’s Lucky Dube and P. Square from Nigeria.


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