Kwaw Kesse, the only self-proclaimed madman in Ghanaian music wins big at the 2008 Ghana Music Awards (GMA).
Even tough Ghana's young hip-hop genre popularly known as hip-life suffered a tumble in the past year, Kwaw Kesse was able to steal the big prize at the Ghana Music Awards by winning the award for Artist of the Year. Kwaw Kesse had been the most outstanding artist of the past year. His unique showmanship as a madman who can turn up on stage dressed as anything or anyone had fans screaming 'Abodam' (craziness) all over the country. Kwaw Kesse won four awards on the night but gospel music was the biggest winner with Album of the year going to Ohemaa Mercy and Song of the Year going to Lenny Apkadie.
The GMA was filled with glitz and glam right from the 'Yellow Carpet' to the main auditorium of the National Theatre, and the excitement and expectations of nominees and their fans was felt heavily in the atmosphere. The stars came out shinning in amazing outfits. While many turned heads for looking extremely sharp or elegant, some made us stir with dropped jaws for exposing a little too much, and others just caught our eyes for their sheer peculiarity. The 'Yellow Carpet' dazzled with delightful tuxes, gowns, as well as rich and stylish traditional evening wears. KOD, host of the red carpet show, made it a point to highlight flashy as well as the trashy attire.
One after the other, artists such as 5five, 4×4, Kwaw Kesse, Lenny Akpadie and Sasha Marley delivered captivating performances that literally ripped off the roof of the auditorium. Becca, Chemphe, and Irene & Jane, nominees in the newly created Pop Song category brought in the funk with James Brown's 'I Feel Good'. The young stars performed a medley of each of their hit songs together- a taste of the future of Ghanaian music. Kenyan superstar, Nameless thrilled the audience with his music and elaborate dance moves while Nigeria's sensational R&B duo, P-Square sustained the excitement with a mix of their hits. P-Square later picked up the award for African Artist of the Year. Ja Rule took the energy a notch further when he took to the stage for a crunchy performance of some of his hit songs over the years. Just the mention of his name set the hall agog with ear-splitting cheers and screams. In recognition of his role in world music the Ghanaian Minister of Tourism presented Ja Rule with an award and certificate. UK R&B star, Keisha White was also given a similar recognition.
The GMA however wasn't all glitz and glam by a long shot. The awards ceremony had more hitches than a broken-down locomotive and it started right from the beginning when the microphone failed on the presenter of the first award. The ceremony was not without controversy; some group of artists boycotted the event and therefore were not available to pick up their trophies. They therefore forfeited the 1,000 cedis which accompanied each award provided the winner was available to pick it up. It was pathetic to hear the MC emphatically state it whenever an artist had to forfeit his/her cash prize. For a moment I wondered if I was watching a music award show or the lottery or a game show.
In spite of a few amazing performances here and there, and of course an appearance by Ja Rule who isn't exactly hot at the moment, the ceremony was very hollow and completely forgettable. The ceremony seemed a bit rushed and even though for the first time, the GMA followed the format of any well structured award show, it was poorly executed. It was a big mess and might easily go down in history as the worst Ghana Music Awards yet. It was 4 hours of loud cheers and painful noise, if you were in the auditorium. Some patrons had to stand through out the show and in some cases, obstructed the view of seated audiences.
MOBO Award winner, Samini and ace radio presenter, Doreen Andoh were host of the ceremony, bringing the 8-year reign of Kwami Sefa Kayi as host to an end. This pairing probably was a mismatch because Doreen is a fast talking and highly eloquent public speaker but the same could not be said for her co-host. Samini often underplayed his role as host, as he stole any opportunity he had to drop a note or two of his lyrics. Therefore when he finally had his bite at it, he captivated the audience with an act that was full of beans. However, Samini's biggest highlight of the night had to be his numerous changes in wardrobe and occasional wardrobe malfunctions.
Well let's see what next year holds for us. That would be the 10th anniversary of the Ghana Music Awards so it better be GOOD! Anyway, here is the list of winners whom I'm sure must have enjoyed the awards more than I did.
List of Winners
Artist of the Year, Kwaw Kesse
Song of the Year, 'Most High God' by Lenny Akpadie
Album of the Year, 'Edin Jesus' by Ohemaa Mercy
Record of the Year, 'Sugar' by Becca
Discovery of the Year, 5five
Best Male Vocal Performance, Sasha Marley
Best Female Vocal Performance, Irene & Jane
Sound Engineer of the Year, Naa Cee
Best Collaboration of the Year, 'Awurade Asem' by Cee, Isaac & Ampong
Reggae Song of the Year, 'Maata Family' by Sasha Marley
Pop Song of the Year, 'African Gurls' by 5five
Highlife Song of the Year, 'Odwo' by Ofori Amponsah
Highlife Artist of the Year, Ofori Amponsah
Highlife Album of the Year, ' Adesa' by Adane Best
Gospel Song of the Year, 'Most High God' by Lenny Akpadie
Gospel Artist of the Year, Ohemaa Mercy
Gospel Album of the Year, 'Edin Jesus' by Ohemaa Mercy
Hiplife Song of the Year, 'Odeim' By Kwaw Kesse
Hiplife Artist of the Year, Kwaw Kesse
Hiplife Album of the Year, 'Odeim' by Kwaw Kesse