The Observer (Kampala)

13 November 2012

Uganda: Surprise Wins At Olive Gospel Awards

The second edition of the Olive Gospel Music awards (OGMA) took place on Saturday evening at Serena hotel's Victoria hall.

Guests elegantly dressed for the do started arriving for the red carpet event at 5pm. The artistes were chauffeured in a limousine. The night kicked off with a performance from the African Children's choir singing the same song it sang for Queen Elizabeth at her recent jubilee celebrations.

The awards:

Last year, Pastor Wilson Bugembe was the night's biggest winner riding on the success of Lengera Embaata, but this time round, he walked away empty-handed. Was his 2012 hit Biriba Bitya not good enough despite being nominated in four categories?

Coopy Bly's Sidda mu Kyalo enabled him to win the accolade for best male artiste. The song is popular among fans of urban gospel music. Julie Mutesasira was crowned artiste of the year, though Jackie Ssenyonjo won two awards for best video (Neetaaga Gwe) and best female artiste, beating Mutesasira and Judith Babirye.

The duo of Kingley & Phila was beaten to the Raggae music award by little-known Allen Magara. Holy Keane Amooti stepped up to receive the award for best new artiste. After his acceptance speech, he raised the gong in the air and said, "I deserve you", sending the crowd into bouts of laugher.

John 8:44 which says that the devil is a liar was manifested as Straight Eloquent (best hip hop) gave his acceptance speech. Power went off, leaving Victoria hall in pitch darkness for close to 20 minutes as the organisers ran up and down trying to fix the problem.

Pastor Mugisha Mondo stepped up to rebuke the devil in prayer before we saw the lights again. The blackout gave way to another surprise: the Melodies choir used the opportunity to give us some melodies as we waited.

The over 30-man choir dressed in gomesi and tunics showcased what they had and it was a blessing because they were not scheduled to perform. So, when they were announced winners of the best choir category, everybody had had a taste of their ability.

The performances:

As expected, the performances were epic, given the talent in the church. Jackie Ssenyonjo performed Neetaaga Gwe; Herbert Twine did his Saabisaanira, while Myko Ouma and Maurice Kirya came on with Don't Wanna Fight.

Judith Babirye, Coopy Bly, Levixione, Holy Keane were some of the night's other performers. Julianna Kanyomozi also did acapella for Kanyimbe. Pablo Kimuli cracked ribs when he ran onto the stage with a flower for his wife who was performing alongside MC Yalla.

He stomped his feet kitaaguriro-style to the RnB beat before he dashed off. Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who was the guest of honour, received a standing ovation from the crowd consisting mainly of Christians, for her recent very vocal stand against homosexuality in Uganda. She appreciated the role played by the main sponsor Coca-Cola in helping showcase the talent in gospel music.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put faces to the voices I hear on radio," she said.

The gospel music fraternity should be grateful to Air Uganda and Serena hotel, among others, for giving Edwin Musiime a hand to pull off yet another OGMA. But like the proverbial Oliver Twist, we need more.

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