Award deserving musicians who have over the last eight years bemoaned the absence of cash awards at the annual Ghana Music Awards (GMA) can smile again. Thanks to mobile communications giant, MTN.
This year’s awards, the ninth in the series, will come in the shape of the regular trophies as well as substantial cash awards for every winner in the competitive categories.
“Each artiste who wins an award gets a trophy, GH¢1,000 cash, GH¢500 worth of MTN call credits and a MTN hamper”, announced Theresa Ayoade, Executive Director of Charter House, organisers, at the launch Tuesday of this year’s awards.
She also announced that the winner of the topmost award — Artiste of the Year will receive GH¢3,000 cash, GH¢1,000 worth of MTN credits as well as a trophy and MTN hamper.
As expected, loud applause from the large audience present greeted this announcement. Especially for musicians whose names appear on the nominations list, there were smiles on their faces that suggested what they had on their minds. “At last, some cash!”
The cash announcement was not the only new welcome change that Theresa Ayoade brought up. She said that for their support for the GMA and Ghana music in general, MTN has been named the title sponsor of the event and as such, the new name is MTN Ghana Music Awards.
She also announced that three category changes had been made for this year’s awards. The Traditional Music Category has now been redesigned as the Traditional Artiste(s) of the Year. A new category, Instrumentalist of the Year has been created and the topmost award has been defined as Artiste of the Year.
Following the tradition begun three years ago to turn the one-day event into a three -day festival, Theresa Ayoade outlined the general programme of events for the festival.
For the next three weeks, the nominations list for various categories will be published in the newspapers for the public to vote through SMS for their favourite musicians.
On April 23, the MTN Ghana Music Awards Gala Nite at which some category awards will be given out will open the festival. Two days later, on Friday April 25, the main event, the MTN Ghana Music Awards Nite will come off.
The main event, as usual, will feature the creme de la creme of the Ghanaian showbiz industry on a night that promises glitz, glamour and high fashion.
The festival, according to Charter House will be climaxed by a massive outdoor celebration jam on Saturday April 26 that will feature performances by all award winners as well as visiting African and international guest artistes.
In his speech at the launch, the Guest of Honour, Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Minister of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, glowingly recognised the contribution that the GMA event has been making towards the development of the music industry in Ghana.
“All of us gathered here are witnesses to the steady growth of GMA which has established itself over the past nine years as an authentic music industry award scheme in Ghana.
“I am always proud to be associated with the GMA. I was there right from the beginning, observing from outside, the effort that Charter House was investing into the event. I have been more involved since I joined the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations”, he added.
He said the Tourism Ministry welcomed the GMA when it was turned into a festival because it attracted a large audience not only from Ghana but from Africa and the Western world.
“The airing of the music festival on platforms like Channel O and other African media has put Ghana on the tourism map and with its adoption by MTN, I believe it can only get better.
“I would like to reiterate the support and recognition of the government for the MTN GMA festival. Although the government has not got the resources to invest into schemes like these, it is always supportive of the efforts that the private sector is making into the growth of various sectors of Ghana’s economy. As you know the present government believes that the private sector is the engine of growth.”
He urged the stakeholders of the music industry to come together to collectively shape the industry.
“We at the Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations are looking forward to welcoming the visitors, who will attend the MTN Ghana Music Awards festival.
Ghana has a rich culture that visitors are welcome to sample. The country can also boast of a rich cultural diversity and there is a wide array of tourist attractions to interest tourists who will visit the country during the festival”, he added.