The New Times (Kigali)

23 August 2011

East Africa: Rwandan Artistes Take Region By Storm

RWANDA's celebrated musicians Dr. Claude, The Brothers and Dominique Ashimwe triumphed over other regional stars to scoop awards in their nominated categories during the inaugural East Africa Music Awards (EAMAs).

The ceremony was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, last Saturday. The glamorous event featured celebrated stars from seven countries and other reputable players in the industry.

And Rwanda's music industry is awash with awards. A week ago, Tusker Project Fame Season 3 winner Alpha Rwirangira won the Tusker All Stars, with several other Rwandan artistes bringing home various regional awards.

In a close call, Dr. Claude tied with Kenya's Jaguar, Bebe Cool of Uganda and Nhaitty Man from Ethiopia, to win the competitive Best Male Urban Contemporary category award -thanks to his "Baramujyanye" hit single.

Celebrated gospel artiste Dominique Ashimwe won the Best Male Gospel award for his massive hit "Nditabye".

PAM awards and SALAX awards winners, The Brothers, brought home the Best Afro Fusion Group award, silencing Jaguar and Sauti Sol both from Kenya, who had been nominated in the same category.

Other winners include Juliana of Uganda (Best Female, Urban Contemporary), Tanzania's AY featuring Mwana F.A (Best Collabo), Papa Wemba (Best Male Rumba) and Lam of Southern Sudan (Best Video).

Kenyan artistes Emmy Kosgei (Best Female Gospel Collaboration), P-Unit (Best Male Group) and BMF (Best Gospel Group) also went home smiling. Kenyan - based Burundi singer Kidum won in the Male Afro Fusion besides being crowned the overall Best Artiste.

The annual EMAs are created to celebrate the different genres of music of the East African region and reward regional talent. Recognised genres included Rhumba, Contemporary Gospel, Hip-hop, and Taarab, among many others.

The ceremony celebrated music from the entire East African region: Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

All countries were represented in the judging panel with most judges experts in the industry.

While it is argued that there is no single regional award ceremony that recognises all genres of music, the EMAs sought to reward regional talent in a wide range of variety.

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