South African Music Awards

Posted: April 17, 2010 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

Parlotones like clockwork -

Parlotones like clockwork -

First published in The Event in April

 SAMA turns sweet sixteen and secures a hot international talent.
By Astrid Stark


South Africa’s version of the Grammy Awards will see musicians, the recording industry, and celebs swing into Sun City on Friday,16th and Saturday,17th April for a glamorous celebration of all things musical at the l South African Musical Awards (SAMA’s).

Early in March, the nominees were announced at the spanky multi-levelled Taboo in Sandton.  Live performances by Lira, DJ Cleo, Foto Na Dans, Brickz, Rhythmic Elements, Da L.E.S., Oskido and DJ Kent kept the crowd on their feet and the nomination ceremony lively.   This year there are no less than 63 categories, and with new talent sprouting up overnight, the competition is set to be fierce.

Funny man, Trevor Noah, will MC the main event at Sun City’s Super Bowl. Vertical Limit Productions will be responsible for the stage design, sound and lighting.  This year the SAMA’s pièce de résistance is the internationally acclaimed Julia Knowles.

“Julia has directed a wide range of music events such as Crowded House’s farewell concert on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, Lionel Richie’s first DVD in Paris, The Who performing Quadropheni in Hyde Park and the annual Nobel Peace Prize concerts in Oslo,” says Alison Fyfe-Turck of Speakers Corner.  “She has worked with artists such as Madonna, Beyoncé, R.E.M., Simply Red, Christina Aguilera, U2, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Clapton and Justin Timberlake.  When David Bowie launched his Reality album by broadcasting a live simulcast performance to cinemas across the world; he asked Julia to direct the project.

Julia will work closely with every member of the creative team, from set and lighting designers to AV producers and music and stage directors to produce the best product for the industry.  She’s going to take the MTN SAMAs to the next level.”

Strong contenders such as Busi Mhlongo, the multiple award-winning Lira and Louise Carver will take each other on for the Best Female Artist of the Year Award.  Some of the Best Male Award contenders are Benjamin Dube, Black Coffee, Chris Chameleon and Selaelo Selota.

MTN Record Of the Year Award nominees feature accomplished artists such as Prime Circle, Goldfish, DJ Cleo, Loyiso, Jesse Clegg, Malaika, The Parlotones and Zuluboy.  This is a public vote and it is bound to be a tough call for voters.

An International Achievement Award, which recognises South African artists who have succeeded on the world stage, will be added to the already massive list of categories.  Only artists that have released physical or digital recordings outside of South Africa will be eligible for this award.  The award will be decided on album sales, the artist’s international performances, as well as any international music industry related rewards.  This, says the SAMA organisers, is a reward for the ambassadors who are taking South African sound to the world. 

There are two category name changes: Best Crossover Classical Album has been changed to Best Popular Classical Album and Best Pop/Rock/Gospel Album is now Best Contemporary Christian Music Album.  The three categories that have fallen away are the Best Comedy Album for Afrikaans, English and African respectively.

Friday night’s ceremony will be held in the Royal Ballroom and the after-party will be at the Palace. Heineken, the after-party sponsor has promised a very memorable weekend.  The second half of the awards will be presented on the Saturday night and SABC1 will broadcast live for two-and-a-half hours. 

Last year around 18.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the final night on SABC1. 

This year Internet users can also log onto their first ever live backstage webcast at and on Facebook at  live from Sun City’s Super Bowl.  There will be 12 live performers as compared to the 8 of last year. Organisers say they have recognised the vast amount of talent out there, and they are always trying to expand the musician’s platform.aKING

The SAMA’s has a stronger social media presence than ever before and they are embracing the natural synergy between main sponsor MTN and the increasingly expanding social media community.  Their Facebook group currently has 3671 fans (Sally – I checked this today and it is still accurate), which is loaded with fan photos, launch photos and videos. Fans are constantly engaging in vigorous conversations on its wall.  The SAMA Twitter page has 870 followers who receive frequent posts and updates straight to their phones or desktops.  The SAMA YouTube channel is regularly uploaded with video specific content .  A competition where people can win a Nokia X6 Symbian Smartphone has the potential to draw in more subscribers.

The SAMA’s, which is now in its 16th year, is owned by the trade association of the South African recording industry- RiSA.  As an industry watchdog, RiSA says it’s renewing it efforts this year to fight increasing piracy together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the different Metro Police divisions.



Guest presenters and performing artists will walk away with groaning goody bags.   Some of the gifts inside the bags include a pair of Levi Strauss, Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses from Luxottica, an Exclusive 1-year Gold Membership to Taboo Nightclub, a pair of new range Havaianas dedicated to the soccer teams taking part in the 2010 world cup, Converse sneakers, a Nikon camera Coolpix S610, a Nokia X6 touch-screen handset, and much more.



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