Music Awards, Comedy and Philantrophy clash on one stage :The 3rd Annual Sauti Awards
The 3rd Annual Sauti Awards hosted in Atlanta on 11th and 12th August, brought together the best of the best in the African gospel music industry, with a touch of comedy and a lavish sprinkle of generosity.
For a second year in a row, Sauti Awards thrust into the limelight the philanthropic efforts by diaspora musicians. The two-day event highlighted efforts by Compassion International and other sponsors who believe in the Sauti Awards vision of meeting the needs of impoverished communities in Africa and uplift African gospel talents. During the awards ceremony, attendees pledged to support over 30 children through Compassion International who sponsor poor children throughout Africa. The Ntibonera Foundation which scooped the Sauti ya Africa Award was featured for their recent distribution of over 20,000 pairs of shoes to needy children in the Congo. Their efforts with Liberty University endorsed by famous brands like Nike, Under Armor and NBA star Stephen Curry, donated 1,000 new pairs of shoes with the star purchasing 500 himself. The group’s lead singer, John Ntibonera said he could not help tearing up when he saw the gratitude the kids expressed upon receiving the shoes, “A lot of people give to our continent, what about us?” he challenged fellow artists.
The star-studded event held at North Atlanta High School, blended an array of musical performances, awards and comedy. Celebrated comedian and host Dr. Ofweneke, with his
co-host and songstress Ntambo Khaendera seamlessly kept the enthusiastic crowd entertained. The two-day event began with a concert Friday night, bringing on stage fresh talent, among them Carolina, Proud Refuge, Abraham Mwinda who all won awards in different categories.
The Sauti Awards stage has provided a platform for new and old talent to grow and be recognized for their efforts within the diaspora. “It’s the only award I’ve ever won,” explained a grateful Zach Mwangi known as Proud Refuge, as he accepted the Male Artist of the Year Award. Georgia’s own Naomi Karanja of the Muhotoro fame won the Female Artist of the Year Award.
This year’s event drew more local and international artists, including Kelele Takatifu, Eunice Njeri, Evelyn Wanjiru, Princess Farida, Janet Otieno and Mireile Basirwa of Belgium. Others included UK’s Zangi, Fred Obare and The Freedom band from Alabama and Kennedy Krazy of Colorado, whose collabo with Kelele Takatifu received a rousing applause. The song testified of their journey years ago, in which they were praying to make it to America one day.
Artists interviewed after the event said they would be remiss if they didn’t thank Jey Mbiro, founder of Sauti Awards for organizing such a platform.
On its third year, Sauti awards continues to lay the groundwork for a growing enterprise that provides a platform for musicians in the diaspora to develop their craft. Dr. Ofweneke challenged musicians to work on their craft saying, “Secular artists are releasing gospel music that is hitting.” Dr. Ofweneke who kicks of his U.S. comedy tour and Ntambo, recipient of last year’s Sauti ya Africa Award for her humanitarian efforts in Africa with Face of Harvest, will co-host next year’s event.
Take a peek. undoubtedly, Sauti Awards 2017 was one for the books.