The Sunday Mail
EVERY category of the annual National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) is important but the music section, more than any other, attracts the most attention and stirs controversy.
This is so because music being the universal language, has a much wider reach and appeal compared to other forms of art. And almost everyone believes they are experts when it comes to judging and deciding what a good song is.
Jah Prayzah, Ammara Brown or Soul Jah Love’s work is easily recognisable by many compared to the work of artistes like Matesu Dube, McIntosh Jerahuni and Calvin Chimutuwah, who also happen to be nominees in the Theatre, Dance and Visual Arts categories respectively.
Most of the ongoing debate on the 17th edition of Nama nominees list published last week by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe is on Music Awards. What does the crystalball hold for us in this section of the awards scheduled for February 17 at Reps Theatre in Belgravia?
No doubt fierce competition is in the Outstanding Song category featuring Soul Jah Love’s “Pamamonya Ipapo”, “Akiliz” by Ammara Brown and Jah Prayzah’s “Ndini Ndamubata”.Each one of the songs has an equal chance to carry the day for valid reasons.
“Pamamonya Ipapo” lasted the distance in 2017. The song inspired the creation of an assortment of memes and the song title was emblazoned on clothing. It was being played or radio, in public and private transport and even homes.
In short, Soul Jah Love’s song inspired all across the social strata. It became a symbol of hope for many.Who can forget the innovative gentleman whose photo at Construction House in a wheelbarrow of the larger than life effigy inscribed “Pamamonya Ipapo” went viral on social media?
Besides, the track came out tops on Power FM’s top 100. Equally, “Akiliz” received a fair share of dominance on music charts and was part of the playlist for many public and private functions. Ammara’s single, her first successful piece of art as a solo artiste, was eventually voted number one on Star FM’s Top 50 Hit-list.
Jah Prayzah’s “Ndini Ndamubata” might not have fared well on the aforesaid music charts but it is important to remember the song comes from a well performing album and is backed by an alluring character of the artiste.This alone accords the lanky crooner’s track an equal chance. But there seems to be fewer challenges in other categories of the music section if adjudicators are to follow basic market trends.
For instance, in the Outstanding Male Musician category, it is without doubt that Mukudzei Mukombe will walk away with the gong.
He struck numerous commercial deals and convincingly improved his visibility both within and outside our borders through collaborations, compared to fellow nominees Enock Munhenga (XQ) and Trevor Dongo.
Jah Prayzah’s only dark patch was the infamous graveyard incident that, however, was beyond his control.
Janet Manyowa and Selmor Mtukudzi tried their tad in the past year but the Outstanding Female Musician accolade is befitting for Ammara.
Music charts results, popularity of songs and corporate rating proves she had a better year.
Furthermore, this time around she managed to drop her debut album “Ammartia”, after several failed attempts and deserves a pat on the back for the effort.
“Kutonga Kwaro” had a slow start following its launch but it later became a must have album after a dramatic turn of the political environment in November last year.
It carries tracks that appeared to foretell events that took place during the famous Operation Restore Legacy. And generally the project has a better standing on the market compared to Caleb Msipa’s “Inhliziyo” and “Beyond” by Trevor Dongo.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Mail Society will this year be competing against our sister paper The Herald, and Daily News in the Outstanding Journalist-Print category.
For the full list of nominees, you can visit our website: www.sundaymail.co.zw