Africa’s sweet and bitter moments at the 2018 Grammy Awards

Ismail Akwei January 29, 2018
Ladysmith Black Mambazo won the Best World Music Album category at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards Picture: Theo Wargo / Getty Images / AFP

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony was held last night at the Madison Square Garden in New York City and Africa was represented.

South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo was the only African nominee to win an award this year. It was a sweet moment when they picked up the Best World Music Album for their album Shaka Zulu Revisited. The group has been nominated for a Grammy award 19 times.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo was performing in California when the announcement was made. They shared their reaction on Twitter.

Another African sweet moment was felt through Rihanna’s body when she danced the South African Gwara Gwara dance during the performance of her Wild Thoughts hit single.

The dance move was made popular by DJ Bongz and it went viral around the world. It has been performed in music videos of stars including Swizz Beatz and Chris Brown.

A bitter moment for Africa at the Grammy Awards was felt in Burkina Faso where a local music group based in Bobo-Dioulasso was nominated for its work featured on the three-disk compilation “Bobo Yeye” but didn’t know of their nomination nor the existence of the album.

A member of the group, Stanislas Soré, told VOA French to Africa Service that they were disappointed that their songs were part of the album titled “Bobo Yeye, Belle époque in Upper Volta,” which was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

“As a musician, I am totally disappointed to learn that we have spent time moaning, suffering and that someone else can just make a compilation of our music and that it is going for an award,” he said.

The compilation is of recordings in the 1970s in Bobo, Upper Volta’s (present-day Burkina Faso) second-largest city. It was compiled by French music producer Florent Mazzoleni and produced by The Numero Group, a Chicago-based production company.

“All I know, there was this white guy who came here; he tried to get information on what life was like in the orchestras of the old days. We understood he was going to make a book of the history of our music. But when it comes to producing a compilation or stuff like that, we’ve never talked about that, never, never, ever,” Sore added.

Mazzoleni denied the allegations saying he followed due process to add the songs to the compilation to pay tribute to them. It was established that he met the group some years ago over a book project.

This was corroborated by Nouhoun Traoré Banakourou, a saxophonist and guitarist of the group Echo Del Africa, who said they worked with Mazzoleni on a book project, but not a compilation.

All in all, their nomination proves African music has a place in the world and they need to be promoted the right way for mutual benefits.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: January 29, 2018


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