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Diamond, Rema and Davido shine as world stars meet at the Trace Awards in Rwanda

 Davido,Left, Event hosts, Right [Courtesy]

Kenyan music stars stood tall and made it count as the world converged in Kigali, Rwanda for the inaugural Trace music awards and festivals held over the weekend.

Multiple-award winner Nadia Mukami - who had been nominated in two categories of the awards - kicked off the storm serenating with her song “Kai Wangu” (featuring Arrow Bwoy) before gospel star Janet Otieno wooed the crowd with a powerful stage act.

But the night belonged to Nigerian stars Davido and Rema who won two awards each as Nigeria pulled all stops to prove why it is the force to reckon with when it comes to African music. Davido took home the prizes for Best Male, and shared Best Collaboration with South Africa’s Musa Keys for “Unavailable”. Rema scored in the Global African Artiste, and Song of the Year categories, with “Calm Down”.  “Love Damini” by Burna Boy, also from Nigeria took the prize for Best Album and Vivian Chidid received the plaudits for Best Female.

 Davido took home the prizes for Best Male, and shared Best Collaboration with South Africa’s Musa Keys for “Unavailable” [Courtesy]

The rather humble Rema - whose single “Calm Down” with Selena Gomez recently set a new record as African song of all time after a record 57 weeks on the Billboard – played calm as he praised his team and fans as well as media houses for accepting his music.

“This is the biggest award I have ever attended in the continent. I thank all the radio and TV stations from the East, South and North for playing my songs,” he said.  

Before gracing the stage to accept his awards, Davido made an electrifying performance of "Unavailable" with the fast rising Musa Keys who also made a big statement with a double win. The only artiste to perform twice during the ceremony, an impressive Diamond Platnumz left no doubt why he is the East Africa king as he won the Best Artiste at the cost of fellow nominated Kenyan stars. Having landed in the land of a thousand hills in a private jet, Diamond, who was also accompanied by his heartthrob and signee Zuchu missed the award call out due to his late landing. His performances however did not disappoint neither did Zuchu’s who performed “Honey” in the company of well-choreographed dancers.

Bruce Melodie turned the local’s darling winning the Best Rwandan Artiste category.

With over 50 stars from all over the world converging at the 10,000 capacity BK Arena, the awards ceremony turned out to be a melting pot of music talent as celebrated stars spruced their egos taking the stage, one after the other to perform and get awarded. Diversity played homage with music genres brining the world together as cultures fused and language barriers got broken.    

 Trace TV Chariman Olivier Louchez [Courtesy]

The awards showcased the excellence and diversity of Afro-centric music from the continent and the diaspora. Competing in 26 award categories were Africa and Afro-inspired artistes from more than thirty countries in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and Europe.  Pomp and colour oozed from the red carpet to the arena where thousands converged with millions from across the world following the live streamed show.

 Afrobeat, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Afro-pop, Mbalax, Amapiano, Zouk, Kizomba, Genge, Coupé Décalé, Bongo Flava, Soukous, Gospel, Rap, Rai, Kompa, R&B, and Rumba tunes blended showcasing Africa as the emerging music giant. On the night, Kigali throbbed to contemporary rhythms and vibes from across Africa and the African diaspora. Highlights of the main show including collaborations between artistes of different nationalities and music genres.

 Singer Janet Otieno [Courtesy]

After his exhilarating performance, Ivory Coast finest Didi B took home the silverware as Best Artiste Africa - Francophone, while his fellow countrymen KS Bloom and Tam Sir scored in the Best Gospel Artiste, and Best Producer categories, respectively.

Lisandro Cuxi was named Best Artist Africa - Lusophone.

 Recognising his long and storied music career, Nigeria’s 2Face took home the prize for Lifetime Achievement.

“It is amazing to be here at such a moment. It is amazing to see how African music has grown and how African stars are taking over. This one is for Africa,” 2Face said as he accepted the honours.

 Rutshelle Guillance was named as Best Artiste - Caribbean, while Goulam triumphed as Best Artist - Indian Ocean, and Dystinct won Best Artiste - North Africa. Yemi Alade’s hit “Baddie” took home the prize for Best Video.

Music maker and entrepreneur, Mr Eazi, took home a special ChangeMarker award for his philanthropic work.

Looking further north, British rapper Central Cee triumphed as Best Artiste - UK, while Tayc took home the trophy for Best Artiste - France and Belgium.  Ludmilla was awarded the trophy for Best Artiste - Brazil, and Michael Brun from Haitia was named Best DJi. 

Olivier Louchez, Chairman and Co-Founder of Trace, commented, “Tonight has been a triumphant demonstration of the power and creativity of African and African-origin artists.  All the nominees and performers at the Trace Awards underlined exactly why African contemporary music has become a global phenomenon. We congratulate all the nominees, winners and performers for their achievements and for demonstrating their talent, imagination and creativity to a global audience.”

 Hosts [Courtesy]

Fronted by Afrobeat legend D’Banj and Angolan supermodel Maria Borges, the Trace Awards featured performances and collaborations from over 50 stars, melding Afrobeat with Bongo Flava, Coupé Decalé,  Soukouss, Rap, Rai, Gospel and more. 

 Veteran South African gospel singer Benjamin Dube and Blxckie (South Africa), Bruce Melodie (Rwanda), Bwiza (Rwanda), Didi B (Ivory Coast), Dystinct (Morocco), Josey (Ivory Coast), Lisandro Cuxi (Cape Verde), Locko (Cameroon), Perola (Angola), Plutonio (Mozambique), Princess Lover (Martinique), and Ronisia (France) were among the performers.

 Also entertaining the jubilant crowd was Rutshelle Guillaume (Haïti), Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde), Terrell Elymoor (Mayotte), The Compozers (Ghana), Viviane Chidid (Senegal), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Mr Eazi (Nigeria), Azawi (Uganda), BNXN (Nigeria), Camidoh (Ghana), Chriss Eazy (Rwanda), Danni Gatto (Cape Verde), DJ Illans (Reunion), Donovan BTS (Mauritius), Emma’a (Gabon), Gaei (Madagascar), Gerilson Insrael (Angola), Goulam (The Comores), Kader Japonais (Algeria) and  Krys M (Cameroon).

Some selected winners

Album of the Year

Love Damini – Burna Boy (Nigeria)

 Song of the Year

Calm Down – Rema (Nigeria)

 Best Artiste – East Africa

 Best Music Video

Baddie – Yemi Alade (Nigeria)

 Best Male

Davido (Nigeria)

 Best Female

Viviane Chidid (Senegal)

 Best Collaboration

Unavailable – Davido (Nigeria) with Musa Keys (South Africa)

 Best Newcomer

Roseline Layo (Ivory Coast)

 Best Artise – Rwanda

Bruce Melodie (Rwanda)

 Best DJ

Michael Brun (Haiti)

Best Live

Fally Ipupa (DRC)

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