Philanthropy took center stage as Atlanta hosted the 2nd Annual Sauti Awards this past weekend. The Awards aimed at honoring African music artists in the diaspora attracted various artists from Kenya, United Kingdom, and the diaspora. The event was hosted under the auspices of Sauti One – the brainchild of David “Jey” Mbiro.

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The two day event began on a high note on Friday at noon with an artist workshop under the tutelage of local music producer and recording artist Nate Butler. Later that evening, a concert featuring artists like Fred Obare and his electric band, Billy Frank, Eunice Njeri, DJ Kamfy, Benachi, Congolese singing group – The Ntibonera’s to mention a few was underway against a backdrop of an extremely well-lit stage. Pastor Steve Ndegwa from Seattle shared a word calling on the musicians and artists to support one another and hone their skills to ensure quality and successful projects. He urged the artists not to compete against one another since they were all on the same mission.


Photo courtesy of Sauti Awards

Saturday’s VIP red carpet event was graced with artists and sponsors, giving way to a meet & greet artist reception. Besides rousing artist performances and the elegantly dressed attendees, the Sauti Awards Gala was marked with a recurring theme for the need to give back in support of credible causes in Kenya and Africa at large. Founder Jey Mbiro, spoke of his passion to give back, citing the support given to him by well-wishers while growing up as a poor child in Mathare, Kenya. He urged those in attendance to be intentional about participating in development efforts in their home countries.


Jey Mbiro & Pastor Rob Irvine Photo: Sauti Awards


Sauti Awards under the umbrella of Sauti One, acknowledged the work done by the host church Cumberland Community Church in promoting the education of people in Turkana, a remote part of Northern Kenya. Founder Jey Mbiro presented an award to Pastor Rob Irvine, thanking him for the great work they were doing. Receiving the Humanitarian Sauti ya Africa Award for her philanthropy efforts  in Malawi, Zambia and Kenya, gospel minister Ntambo Kaendera spoke of her passion to give back through her Eye See project. Miss Kaendera encouraged fellow musicians to use their platforms to give back, saying such efforts would give other people in dire situations opportunities to advance in life.

This year’s Sauti Awards were bigger and better, attracting great emerging talent. The Sauti Awards maintained a great balance by offering a range of performances that appealed to both the young and old. The biggest awards of the night went to Judy Thuita and Benachi who won “Best female and male artist of the year” awards respectively.

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Eunice Njeri, who won East African Video of the Year is a favorite of Sauti Awards. She gave a soul stirring performance of her song “Uka” that will be remembered by many, for weeks to come.
Other live performances by Nyakio from Kansas and Zangi from the UK also displayed great artistry and talent. Zangi’s impromptu composition and show-stopping live performance on Saturday night wrapped up the weekend’s successful award show.

The event sponsored by Cumberland Community Church, Western Union, Samar Systems, Poa Pay, and Atlanta Community Ministries also paid tribute to the late Caleb Lugano who until his death in a tragic road accident earlier this year was one of the sponsors of the Awards. As the artists retreat back to their homes to resume their lives, they leave with great friendships and knowledge from workshops held during the two day event. A mark has been left in Atlanta as the city gears up for another big event to be hosted by the African Gospel Artists (AGA) that will be held on Saturday August 20th at the North Metro Church. The worship concert will feature renowned worshiper William McDowell, the Ntiboneras, the AGA team, among many others.

Congratulations to all the winners and Sauti Awards for an outstanding weekend. For more information and pictures of the event, visit www.sautiawards.com.


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