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Nyasa Music Awards sidelined us—Music body

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Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) has said the organisers of the inaugural Nyasa Music Awards held on Friday at Comesa Hall in Blantyre sidelined them on their project.

In a statement Monday, Mum commended the organisers of the Nyasa Music Awards for creating a platform to reward artists in the country.

Mum President Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango said that the awards were a welcome development.

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“This is a welcome development as it manifests the fact that musicians are part and parcel of national development agenda and that they deserve to be recognised in society,” Mhango said.

However, he expressed concern over the way the awards were conducted, an observation which has also been raised by a wide section of the music fraternity.

“We noted with regret that the union was not consulted at the outset of the project.

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“The organisers and any other practitioners in the music industry need to know that Mum is the organisation vested with the overarching responsibility on all issues to do with music in Malawi,” Mhango said.

He said this is well covered in of its constitution which is legally recognised by the government.

Mhango said the organisers’ lack of consultation with Mum created a lot of anomalies which ranged from misallocation of genres and erroneous identification of musicians that merited nomination.

“This threw the whole exercise into confusion and resulted in limited support and recognition by the music fraternity,” he said.

Mum, which also organised Muma Awards in conjunction with Mediacorp which died a natural death and also faced criticism said they were surprised with the way the categories were arrived at.

“We assume that the main objective of the awards is to encourage outstanding artists, who would in turn work as mentors to up-and- comingones. The outcome of these awards has instead frustrated the deserving ones,” Mhango said.

Mum maintained that they have welcomed the awards but urged all concerned parties to ensure that they consult the music body in all their projects related to music.

He added that this was the best practice all over the world.

Some quarters hit at the organisers following the results of the awards on Friday which saw, among others, Tay Grin topping the awards with three nominations.

While some award winners have been welcomed by the people, others have not passed the test.

But a member of the organising team Mathambo Lowole while welcoming some of the issues raised, said they worked very hard to put the awards together and that they involved an independent team comprising the media which came up with the categories and nominees.

“We did not hand-pick the winners as well as the nominees. They were shortlisted by a team comprising media houses, so we had no say and after that people voted. And if we say next year people should not vote but a committee should choose, will people accept?” questioned Lowole.

Some people had said the organisers have a very good idea but it was not well executed and that they need to sit down and critically look at the categories.

“To me it’s something positive to take. There are gaps yes but I guess they just rushed in rolling out. Now all they can do is sit down and critically look at the categories and improve.

“Again, we Malawians have a tendency of not voting but then when something comes up, we are quick to criticise,” a fan, Bernard Sato, said.

Sato also said being the first time, the youthful organisers namely Lowole, Chifundo Maganga and James Makunje could have been supported and was optimistic they would improve in their next edition.

Lowole said despite not getting the crowd they anticipated, the VIP was full.

“As for the delay in starting, being the inaugural, we wanted more people to be part of the history, so we decided to wait. Artists who were billed to perform did so except Joseph Nkasa, who could not make it because he lost his uncle,” he said.

On the Mum issue, Lowole said they informed them last year and that their door was open.

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