Everything that has a beginning definitely has an end – and after all the chatter, hubbub and anticipation, the 19th edition of the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards came to a successful close over the weekend.
Just like any other event, the show had its positive and negative sides, but in comparison to last year’s, this edition saw quite an improvement in all departments of organization.
In a bid to alter the unpleasant phenomenon of Ghanaian events starting very late, Charterhouse made a statement by starting the show quite early, to the amazement of viewers and most patrons, who were late for the event. Unfortunately, the organizers could not meet the aim of executing the event within a 4-hour period, as it ended close to 2pm but it was a good effort!
Let’s break the event down into various situations that got patrons exclaiming ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and asking in astonishment – ‘what?’
Without an effective technical regimen, rigorous events like the VGMA would always turn out to be whack but this was not. It was not overly impressive but it was not scrappy either – it was okay.
The sound, especially for those who watched on television was not the best – fluctuating haphazardly. At a point, during Fancy Gadam’s performance, the sound was totally off. The lighting was on point, not blinding as it was for the last 2 editions.
The stage set-up was one of the best ever seen in the 19-year history of the awards and it really looked good on television, especially on DStv, where viewers had less to murmur about as compared to what transpired on TV3.
Most of the performances required the use of a spotlight, as witnessed in other international events and award shows but unfortunately, after 19 years of doing this, Charterhouse still can not get it right with the spotlight.
Johnnie Hughes and AJ Sarpong did well as they were expected to and most importantly – the production for that segment was well put-together. They were virtually no major glitches for the segment as the fluidity, coordination and communication were spot on.
Unfortunately, many of the celebrities failed to show up on the carpet because they were late – obviously, taking away some verve from that segment.
The selection of Berla Mundi was a good decision, considering the fact that, the ubiquitous media personality has featured on the Red Carpet segment as co-host for two consecutive editions and it was only appropriate that she was made to progress to the main stage – and boy, she delivered!
The same cannot be said for actor, John Dumelo, who looked uncomfortable and short of swagger throughout the night, albeit he trying to pull his weight in the course of the show.
He nearly derailed the mojo of Berla, who tried to gel with him, not to make him look terrible on the night and somehow, viewers just had to endure the torment of seeing the two feverishly trying to form a formidable duo with their interactions.
It was not the best combination ever seen, John was sub-par and candidly, Berla could have easily commandeered the event to perfection, all on her own.
Tepid Start, Poor Coordination
The commencement of the show – the Joe Mettle introduction and his performance was one of the most lukewarm starts ever witnessed at the VGMA. Joe, as an act, was not to be blamed as he did quite well with his stagecraft but everything that led to his performance and there after was just sloppy.
It looked as though the organizers started early but were not prepared at the time, as coordination around the start of the event was in shambles. There was nothing ‘explosive’ about that start – disappointingly, as viewers had to watch such a dreary beginning of a highly anticipated night.
The direction for the start was off, communication was non-existent and there was no urgency, especially for the band of Joe Mettle, which walked leisurely to open the show, not realizing the enormity of the task that was bestowed on their shoulders. It went awry!
Lifetime Achievement Award – Bad, Ebony Tribute- Awesome!
The choice of Naa Amanua as recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award was never disputed but the execution of the award presentation was outrageously done – making it look almost disrespectful to the legend.
The presentation, the documentary and the performance of Naa Amanua and Nana Yaa were highly disjointed – to the point where the acceptance speech of the recipient had to be cut unceremoniously for a commercial – utterly gross!
In a sharp contrast, the tribute for Ebony was beautifully done. Every aspect of that homage was classy, with Efya, MzVee, Adina and the legendary Akosua Agyapong at their very best. The rendition to the songs, the telepathy among the artists and the art of direction for that segment is commendable.
Music Awards are heavily dependent on performances – the reason Charterhouse employed over 15 acts to stage their respective crafts for that memorable night.
With live band in place, almost all the acts did live, with the likes of Samini, Kelvyn Boy, Sarkodie, Joe Mettle, Kidi, King Promise, Kuame Eugene and the ladies for the tribute excelling. The likes of Praye, Stonebwoy and others floundered. Fancy Gadam, Stonebwoy brought such vigor to the stage while the likes the Tiwa Savage and Nasty C, who was extremely professional when his sound encountered challenges – came to add up to the numbers.
Different bands played for the night with the likes of Joe Mettle employing their own band. Afro Harmony and Black Lace played for the other artists on the bill. Some of the bands had rocky outings but there was a grandstanding finish with Samini and Mr. Otchere to close the performances.
We cant encapsulate the event without passing commentary on who won what? Thankfully, Ebony made history, becoming the first female to win the ‘Artiste of the Year’ prize. It is an award well deserved as the work of Ebony in 2017 has been well documented.
With such a remarkable record, her legend will live on forever, as her feat has been etched in the annals of Ghanaian music history. In the next 100 years, Ebony would be mentioned as that female artiste who broke a jinx, altered a status quo, caused a mammoth shift in paradigm and created her own history.
By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo,www.entertainmentgh.com