27 March 2014

Rwanda: Salax, Guma Guma Feud Over Artistes

WHEN the call to promote young Rwandan artistes was made, corporate companies and private entities answered with a promise to grow and promote Rwanda's music industry. However, the two most prominent local music talent supporters and promoters; Ikirezi Group and Bralirwa are now at loggerheads over the attendance of big music talents at today's Salax Music awards which are on today.

Bralirwa, the organisers of Primus Guma Guma Super Star (PGGSS), have a road show tomorrow in Nyamagabe and require all artistes to attend without fail. On the other hand, Ikirezi Group, the organisers of the Salax Awards, have eight out of ten musicians participating in PGGSS 4 on their nominees list. Dream Boyz and Jay Polly are scheduled to perform at the awards gala tonight but it is unlikely that they will make it.

Both companies are playing a blame game but it all comes down to the organising of these events. Emma Claudine of Ikirezi Group says they are confident that they will pull it off. "Actually, not all people nominated usually show up. We have other big performances but it is sad that Dream Boyz and Jay Polly won't be able to perform."

Dream Boyz and Jay Polly didn't participate at last year's Salax awards after they cited unfairness and irregularities in the voting process. After mending ties, they were scheduled to perform at the awards in show of support. As far as Ikirezi Group is concerned, PGGSS organisers didn't bother to look at the entertainment calendar. "Bralirwa has been one of our partners in these awards and we expected them to know when we are hosting the awards since our calendar came out first but things turned out the wrong way," said Claudine.

Ikirezi Group says they took the first step in trying to resolve this issue but Bralirwa couldn't relent and neither were they willing to shift the event. "Musicians will have to delegate people who will receive awards on their behalf," added Claudine.

Musicians on the other hand, are decrying the organisation of such events and are not happy about the state of events that puts them at cross roads. Affected artistes who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity blamed both parties for failing to sort out a simple issue of organisation.

"It beats my mind how Bralirwa and Ikirezi Group can't realise that they are promoting the same cause. Instead of bickering and making endless excuses, they should be working together to develop our music industry, "said one artiste.

At the look of things, most artistes are not happy at the way these two events are colliding. Some artistes say that much as Bralirwa offers good returns on their talents, Ikirezi Group appreciates by awarding them which is a yardstick that is used when they are invited for shows. "People abroad will not look at how much an artiste earned in a given year but they will look at the awards he/she won. Awards are an opportunity when we get to publicly thank our fans and people who stand by us each day," noted another artiste.

According to the East African Promoters managing director, Joseph Mushyoma, the organisers of PGGSS 4, Ikirezi Group, underestimated the value of PGGSS by thinking that PGGSS would change the date of the Nyamagabe road show. "We put out our calendar in February but they just informed us last week when they had a whole month to do that. They should have engaged us as soon as we put out our calendar and not assume that we know their programme; we can't keep track of all events happening in this country," Mushyoma noted.

Mushyoma explained that they would have considered allowing artistes to participate and travel early morning but since there will be Umuganda on Saturday; it will be difficult to travel. Secondly, the contestants have two scheduled radio presentations in Huye, so it is hard to change their programme at the last minute. "We have already set the wheel in motion, the police has been informed, hotels have been booked, people are standing by expecting us to deliver and there's no way we can cancel right now because it is too late," Mushyoma added.

One of the upcoming musicians who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed disappointment about how events are organised. "Bralirwa very well knows that Salax awards are the only music awards in Rwanda, how can they say they missed it on their calendar? It's not fair to us as artistes to forego an awards ceremony for a road show." The affected artistes include Active, Bruce Melody, Jules Sentore, Teta, Amag The Black, Christopher, Senderi, Dream Boyz and Jay Polly.

Copyright © 2014 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.