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Gale of music stars storm Dakar for AFRIMA; Burna Boy tipped in the Artiste of the Year category

FOR days now, Dakar, the capital of Senegal, has temporarily lost its serene atmosphere to the army of music superstars from across the continent who stormed the beautiful city, known to be home to the Grande Mosquée, since Thursday, January 12, for the 8th edition of the All-Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, tagged ‘Teranga Edition.’

Interestingly, activities preceding the awards ceremony commenced Thursday, with a Host Country Tour, School visit, gift presentation and Welcome Soiree as part of AFRIMA’s corporate social responsibility.

The 4-day event continued yesterday with the Africa Music Business Summit,AMBS, at the Grand Theatre, in Dakar. The AMBS is Africa’s largest gathering of creative professionals in the music industry and it features workshops and panel discussions on issues and opportunities within the African music industry.

The event continued with high momentum at the AFRIMA Music Village at the Grand Theatre, which was a free-to-enter concert featuring live performances from the biggest music stars in attendance.

Tonight, being the eve of the awards ceremony, the events will begin with Main rehearsals, media engagements and a courtesy visit to the President of Senegal. There will also be a live recording booth at the venue for musicians across all five regions of the continent, and in the diaspora, to explore for collaborative recordings.

But while the festival of music rounds off this Sunday, amid glitz, and glamour at the 15-000 capacity Dakar Arena, Dakar, what’s uppermost in the minds of African music is which one of the musicians will clinch the biggest awards on the night.

Recall that Nigeria’s Grammy award winner, Burna Boy whose smash hit, “Last Last” was nominated in the Artiste of the Year category will slug it out with his Tanzanian counterpart, Diamond Platnumz feat Zuchu, Dadju Ambassador from DRC, Ckay(Emiliana), Fireboy among others. He’s also expected to beat the likes of Nigeria’s Brymo, Didi B from Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa’s Kabza De Small to clinch the award for the Best Album of the Year. Not forgetting that the Afro-fusion singer was equally nominated in the categories of Best Male Artiste in West Africa and Song of the Year.

Many are expressing optimism that Burna Boy will do it again after his success last year, where he not only dominated both local and global scene with his monster hit “Last Last” but also, won some laurels, including MOBO’s Best International Act,Best African Music Act Category and the Best African Act at the 2022 MTV EMAs.

Wizkid is due to contend with Kizz Daniel who’s currently enjoying global acclamation following his hit song, “Buga”, Fireboy, Burna Boy, Ghana’s Black Sherif, Malian Wally B for Best Male Artiste in Western Africa award.

One of Nigeria’s Tems, Simi and Tiwa Savage is tipped to clinch the award for Best Female Artist in Western Africa. But one cannot underestimate what their opponents from other climes including Ghana’s Gyakie, Josey Ft. Bonigo from Cote d’Ivoire, Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde), Manamba Kante from Guinea among others are up to.

South African maverick, Costa Titch, will be the cynosure of all eyes as well as Congolese maestro, Dadju who had six nominations each.

Ttch had six nominations for his 2021 smash hit, Big Flexa, in “Song of the Year”; “Breakout Artiste of the Year”; “Best African Collaboration”: “Best Artiste, Duo or Group in African Electro”; and “Best Artiste, Duo or Group in Use of African Dance/Choreography.”

While Dadju got also six nominations in “Best Male in Central Africa”; “Song of the Year”; “Album of the Year”; “Artiste of the Year”; “Best African Act in the Diaspora”; and “Best Soundtrack in a Movie, Series, or Documentary.” However, from the look of things, it’s believed that this year’s AFRIMA will have a lot of surprises. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Earlier, the organizers unveiled Senegalese-French actor and Comedian, Ahmed Sylla; Cameroonian Actress and broadcaster, Sophy Aiida and South African screen gem, model and presenter, Pearl Thusi as the hosts for the main awards ceremony.

Commenting on their choice, AFRIMA’s Regional Manager for Northern Africa, Janatte Haddadi, noted that the trio were “a blend of wits, charisma and humour” to help boost the experience of the awards ceremony.

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