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VGMA 2018 – The ‘Yes’ the ‘No’ & the ‘What?’

BY: Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo
VGMA 2018 – The ‘Yes’ the ‘No’ & the ‘What?’
VGMA 2018 – The ‘Yes’ the ‘No’ & the ‘What?’

Everything that has a beginning definitely has an end and after all the chatter 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 has its positive and negative sides, but in comparison to last year’s, this edition saw quite an improvement in all departments of organisation.

In a bid to change the unpleasant trend 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 organisers could not meet the aim of executing the event within a four-hour period, as it ended close to 2pm but it was a good effort!

Let’s break the event down into various sections that got patrons exclaiming ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and asking in astonishment – ‘what?’


Technical Detail

Without effective technical detail, rigorous events like the VGMA would always become wacky 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 two 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 compared to what transpired on TV3.

Most of the performances required the use of a spotlight, as witnessed at other international events and award shows but unfortunately, after 19 years of doing this, Charterhouse still cannot get it right with the spotlight.

Red Carpet

Johnnie Hughes and AJ Sarpong did well as they were expected to and most importantly; the production for that segment was well put-together.

There were virtually no major glitches for the segment; it was fluid, well-coordinated and communication was spot on.

Unfortunately, many of the celebrities failed to show up on the carpet because they were late – obviously, taking some shine off that segment.

MCs

The selection of Berla Mundi was a good decision, considering the fact that, the 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 swag throughout the night, albeit he trying to pull his weight in the course of the show.

He nearly killed the mojo of Berla, who tried to gel with him, so he did not 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, 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 the 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 thereafter was just sloppy.

It looked as though the organsers started early but were not prepared at the time, as coordination around the start of the event was terrible. There was nothing ‘explosive’ about that start – disappointingly, and viewers had to watch such a dreary beginning of a highly anticipated night.

The direction for the start was off, communication seemed non-existent and there was no urgency, especially for the band of Joe Mettle, which walked leisurely to open the show, not realising the enormity of the task that was bestowed on their shoulders. It was bad!

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 poorly done – making it look almost disrespectful to the legend.

The presentation, the documentary and the performance by 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 of the songs, the telepathy among the artistes and the art of direction for that segment is commendable.

Performances

Music awards are heavily dependent on performances – the reason Charterhouse employed over 15 acts to stage their respective performances for that memorable night.

With live band in place, almost all the acts did live, with some like, Samini, Kelvyn Boy, Sarkodie, Joe Mettle, KiDi, King Promise, Kuami Eugene and the ladies for the tribute excelling. The likes of Praye, Stonebwoy and others floundered.

Fancy Gadam brought such vigour to the stage while the likes of Tiwa Savage and Nasty C, who was extremely professional when his sound encountered challenges – came to add up to the numbers.

The band had a rocky start, but they picked themselves quite nicely and had a grandstanding finish with Samini and Mr. Okyere on the saxophone.

Awards

We can’t encapsulate the event without passing commentary on the 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 and 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.