Malawi UMP awards: Hits and misses

The highly-anticipated Urban Music Party (UMP) Awards took place Sunday at BAT Ground in Blantyre but despite the impressive youthful turnout and the event living up to most people’s expectations, it was marred by, among others, poor punctuality, electricity blackout and security lapse.

The UMP Awards show headliner Gemini Major. -Photo by Madness.
The UMP Awards show headliner Gemini Major in performance . -Photo by Madness.

Initially, the show was scheduled for 10am, but it started around 2pm with a Desert Eagle performance that was aborted by a power outage. It took almost 30 minutes to set up a standby generator.

The 30-minute blackout gave a chance to self-proclaimed ghetto minister, Fredokiss, to mingle with his the ghetto youths also known as “Mitchana”.

Fredokiss took selfies with his constituents, turning the UMP from a festival to a “selfie party”.

When the show kicked off, there was some tussling at the gates as late comers struggled to get in. The fracas forced police to fire tear gas outside the ground.

Having started late, the crowd lost patience and booed the guest of honour, a representative from the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development.

The show got momentum when the performances started. Each artist that came on stage gave a performance of their life.

Legendary artists Desert Eagle, Phyzix, Theo Thomson and Fredokiss dished out their classic hits and recent songs that left the crowd chanting their names as they left the stage.

The only local female representative, Rina, was on fire when she appeared on stage to perform her new single Moto Moto.

The new generation of musicians—represented by Charisma, Tsar Leo and Marste—did not disappoint either. They came on stage with the current sound and dancing antics, which has been christened dubbing, that the youthful crowd related with quite well.

Then it was time for two of the headliners. Family Tree record label’s Malawian born artist Gemini Major and Nadia Nakai.

The crowd went crazy when Gemini Major appeared on stage. He performed a series of his hit songs and colloborations.

The climax of his performance arrived when he performed rendition of Khuli Chana’s Walking and Dubbing and Ragga Ragga.

He was also joined on stage by Tay Grin and Home Grown African to perform some of their unreleased songs.

The cheers got even louder when Nadia Nakai appeared in her stylish outfit. The presence on stage mesmerised the crowd and spiced up the Family Tree performance.

“Malawi, I have travelled all the way from South Africa. I am here to give you an energetic performance. I need to feel your energy as well,” Gemini Major said as he asked stage bouncers to allow people to get on stage.

After a few people joined him to sing and dance to Ragga Ragga, he said: “You guys are just too much.”

The third headliner, Ireland-based Pop Dog also gave out an energetic performance although he came on stage when some people had already left.

He performed a series of hits from his albums.

Then it was time for the awards. Power 101FM owner Oscar Thomson received the 2016 UMP Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was a club disc jockey (DJ) in Bristol, United Kingdom (UK), before he came back to start Power 101FM, the country’s first independent radio station in 1998.

Power 101FM proceeded to have a programme dedicated to youthful artists. The station eventually started three programmes dedicated to the youth.

“The youth and music really inspired me and this is what really pushed me to open the radio station, Power 101FM. I felt the youth of Malawi had nothing in terms of radio entertainment.

“I also felt there was need to give the youthful artists in Malawi a radio platform for their music and since then Power 101FM has dedicated most of its programming to Malawian music,” said Thomson in a statement.

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5 years ago

So that was the only award given out……?

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