• July 2nd, 2020

#NAMAs2019 committee justifies international judges

 Paheja Siririka

WINDHOEK- Justifying the international judging panel for the Namibian Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), the corporate communications specialist at MTC, John Ekongo explained that the music industry is small and favouritism needs to be eliminated by excluding some music producers who oversaw artists they have worked with.

“If you have a judge who is a producer and going to critic a song they have created even though the intellectual copyright is not theirs, they will still sentimentally be attached to that song or album,” said Ekongo. 

The reason for having international judges according to the committee is to bring about change, diversity, variety as well a totally different and mutual perspective in judging what Namibian creatives are doing. “We looked into this matter with due diligence and decided to get music experts from the diaspora to judge Namibian music, in that way there will be a certain level of fairness,” emphasised Ekongo.  
Since the announcement of the judges was made, queries on how foreigners can judge local content came up from some music enthusiasts on social media. 

Ekongo who is also part of the NAMAs  2019 committee has expressed disappointment with the reception from the public about the types of judges selected to oversee the 10th edition of Namibian Annual Music Awards. “Due to the voting approach that the award had, it was becoming repetitive, voting gave predetermined advantage towards artists of winning awards,” said Ekongo. 

He said the pattern became predictable and things had to change as some artists in those eras became very popular while others were still struggling. “If we are to bring an equilibrium to allow all artists to have an equal platform, we need to professionalise the format of judging, the format of the categories,” highlighted Ekongo.

For those asking how these judges will eloquently critic Namibian songs especially for traditional songs such as ma/gaisa, Ekongo asked how we as individuals can distinguish between genres such as soukous or rumba sounds, which are from central and eastern Africa and other songs. “That speaks of one thing-music is universal,” he said. 

Ekongo reminded Entertainment Now! of Namibian artists that have scooped continental awards. “Do you remember Stella Kavendjii, she was the first Namibian artist to win the Kora Awards for Best Southern African. Who was a judge from the Ovaherero community on that panel or someone who understands Otjiherero?” inquired Ekongo.

Ekongo said the judges will be able to see everything related to music. “Of all the judges selected most are Africans, therefore the claim that these judges will not understand contemporary African music is an argument that doesn’t hold water,” stated Ekongo. He said judges don’t sit in one room. “Judges listen to a lot of things, ranging from voice articulation, some look at music composition, the timing and so forth,” said Ekongo. “What possible harm will it do to you if you have someone as prominent as Yvonne Chaka-Chaka judging your song?” questioned Ekongo.

“From the list of international judges, you will see music executives, record producers, entertainment bloggers while others are experts in financial matters as far as artistry is concerned and this is what makes an artist complete,” said Ekongo. 

On the path of changing the ways the awards are to be run, the team undertook a study on how other awards are carried out, specifically the South African Music Awards and The Ghanaian Music Awards. 

New Era Reporter
2019-06-14 12:10:29 | 1 years ago

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