Salax Awards return

Ahupa’s Ahmed Pacifique (left) signs the MoU during the awards hand over with Ikirezi Group CEO, Emma Claudine Ntirenganya, in Kigali, Feb.3. Courtesy.

Local artistes have for the past three years been in a dilemma, over the lack of motivation after Rwanda’s only annual music awards Salax Awards were called off in 2016.

The only local awards dedicated to recognising best performing artistes every year are now back, under a new management after the seventh edition of the awards was unveiled last week.

The awards are now in the hands of Ahupa Discount Cards Ltd which will take charge of the event, for the next five years following a Memorandum of Understanding signed last month between the company and the previous award organisers Ikirezi Group, after the latter threw in the towel, due to limited resources.

“We appreciate the great work done by our predecessors and are looking forward to carrying on and doing more to contribute to the development of Rwanda’s music industry,” said Ahmed Pacifique, the CEO of Ahupa Discount Cards Ltd.

Under the new management, the best performing artistes will be awarded in six categories namely; RnB/Pop Artiste of the Year, Best Afrobeat Artiste, Best Gospel Artiste, Best Hip Hop Artiste, Traditional Artiste of the year, while a special prize will be awarded for the Best Female Artiste of the year.

From the six categories, the jury will pick the overall Artist of the year.

The categories were announced to the artistes during last week’s meeting between the current awards organisers and the artistes.

However, there were some concerns from the artistes, that the organisers considered a few categories yet there might have been room for more categories.

Some complained that upcoming artistes were not given a chance to appear in any categories yet the industry is about discovering more music talents underground, besides the male artiste of the year and the best group of the year.

Pacifique explained that, “before unveiling the awards categories, we consulted different people from the industry but we cannot say that we will ignore the artistes’ compliments and suggestions to make sure everything is settled. We started with few categories but we promise we will make sure that more categories are added in the next editions.”

The nominations are open to local artistes, except those signed under Kina Music label, due to the conflict that the label had with the previous Award organisers, Ikirezi Group.

“We contacted Kina Music about their participation but discussions were not fruitful due to the conflict they had with the Awards’ previous organisers, something which I don’t think we can take blame for. Doors are always open for them as long as they are willing to participate and they can be nominated like any other artist eon merit but, so far, you cannot force somebody if they are not interested,” Ahmed explained.

The preliminary list contains 10 artistes in each category and is now out for public voting to nominate the top five in each category.

The five nominees in each category will automatically earn Rwf100, 000 for the nomination.

The voting process will kick off on Friday and close on March 28, a day before the winners are announced at the Awards gala.

Updates on the voting will be broadcast live on one of the local TV stations, according to organisers.

During the voting process, the public will be given 70 per cent while 30 per cent will be reserved for the panel, comprising of pioneers like veteran producers, musicians and journalists.

The winner in each category will walk away with Rwf 1, 000, 000, while the best song of the year will earn the artiste Rwf 500, 000. The audio and the video producer of the best song of the year will also be recognised whereby each will walk away with Rwf 500, 000.