AFRIMA Unveils 2015 Nominees Tomorrow In Lagos

…As Jury members feel the heat of the adjudication process.

The International Committee of All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, in partnership with African Union Commission, AUC, has announced the arrival of the 13-man jury panel to Lagos, the host city of the 2015 edition of AFRIMA to screen the 2558 entries received ahead of the nominees unveiling conference on Friday, August 14, 2015.

The jurors are music professionals with commendable reputation in the African and global entertainment industry. They have been involved in many music productions, live performances, music festivals, music distribution and have contributed to the success of many African music artistes who are thriving today. Reaffirming the integrity of the jury members, Adenrele Niyi , AFRIMA Programme Director stated ‘The members of the jury are well grounded in the African music industry. ‘There is no doubt the adjudication process will be seamless and credible, we could not have put together a better team to screen the large number of entries we received’’

Here are the AFRIMA 2015 jury members:

With a rich background in the Hip Hop genre, Rab Bakari is a celebrated music enthusiast with an enviable reputation spanning over two decades in the entertainment business. He pioneered the New York Hip Hop boom in the 1980s/90s and is a co-founder of Hip life in West Africa. He has mentored many successful African artistes like Prominent Ghanaian artiste, Reggie Rockstone .

He worked for Universal Music Group which is the largest music distribution company in the world as a Project Manager/Director of Premedia Services and Digital Workflow for all label groups under UMG. He has served label groups such as Island Def Jam; Republic Records, and a host of reputable record labels. Rab helped to establish four radio stations in Ghana namely: Choice FM, Vibe FM, Groove FM, and Joy FM. Currently, he is a promoter of West African Anglophone rap, R-n-B and alternative music in Africa and Europe through the Mixerpot venture. He is now expanding into other areas of entertainment such as television production, music publishing, animation, based mobile apps, video editing/production, strategized digital workflows, social network marketing and webcasts. He has created panels for the American SXSW Music Conference, A3C Hip Hop and CMJ Music Festival. He participated in Social Media Week – Lagos, Kenya Music Week and the Ghana DJ Awards 2014.


Kawesa Richard is a seasoned music producer and performer from Uganda who started his music career at the age of 10. He toured half of United States and Canada, honing his skills in production and performance. In 1996, he went solo and has four albums to his name having based his music career in Nairobi Kenya in the late 90s. He later delved into part-time consultancy and was the production consultant for the movie “The Last King of Scotland”; a compelling narrative of the life and times of the third Ugandan president Major Gen. Idi Amin. Other notable works of Kawesa include his musical contribution to global award-winning movies such as the 2012 feature film “The First Grader”. Kawesa was the brain-child of the National Golden Jubilee and Tourism Official Songs in 2012 and was former Idols Mentor Judge. He has also consulted for World Food Program- Uganda on Child Chronic hunger and school feeding programs as well as for the World Bank on Sanitation.

Rita Ray is an embodiment of performing arts. She has an outstanding repertoire in music, theatre, broadcast and sound production. She is also an authority on afro beat. Popularly known as a Club DJ, the dark-skinned music guru’s passion goes beyond scratching the wheel of steel; she is a celebrated music revolutionary. She presents the African music review on Focus on the BBC World Service, and is a regular contributor and presenter on World Routes on BBC Radio 3 and The Arts Hour.

Her unwavering passion and interest in traditional African music led to the birth of the Pan Afro music and culture session, Mwalimu Express which she founded with her colleague Max Reinhardt. They also pioneered the Fela Kuti inspired Shrine club nights, and tours with their band the Shrine Synchro System all over Europe and Africa.

Her notable works as an international festival curator and consultant include Celebrating Sanctuary, Amazing Africa and The Mayors Thames Festival which was Europe’s largest anti-racist festival. She also researched and presented “The Musical Legacy Of Slavery” series for BBC World Service and her award winning documentary “A short History of 5 Notes”. Rita is currently presenting and consulting for the new BBC World Service series, Global Beats.

Delani Makhalima is one of the most notable media entertainment executive that the Africa continent has produced. As a prolific song writer, singer and producer, he made history by becoming the first music producer and record label to make commercial success from an album featuring young upcoming recording artists marking the birth of urban contemporary music in Zimbabwe.. He started his career as a songwriter and music producer, having written the theme music and song for the Miss South Africa beauty pageant of 1999. This prolific singer songwriter and music producer then went on to work with several notable and big musical acts in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. He has written and produced a string of chart topping and award winning artistes notably South African Idols Anchor and Hiphop Award winner Proverb, NAMA and ZIMA Award winning artist David Chifunyise, Willom Tight, ARIA Australian based award winning music producer and vocalist Audius, ZIMA Award winning Alexio Kakana and nominee Dino Mudondo, SAMA Award winning Zonke Diana, the late multi Award winning artists TK Malinga and hiphop legends Skwatta Kamp, Gospel Award winning artist Pastor G, Coca Cola Popstars Afro Z, African Hiphop Royalty and multi award winning artists HHP. Award winning Cindy Munyavi, German based South African recording artist Jerusha, Roy and Royce, Plaxedes Wenyika, H2O, Zubz, RnB sensation Sanii, Big Brother Africa contestant ROKI and Hakeem, ZimHiphop Award Winner Peekay, Davina Green, Decibel, ExQ, Leonard Mapfumo and Kudzai Sevenzo to name but a few.

Besides having created his own record label in early 2002, Delani later was recruited to work for international music companies like Sony Music Publishing and EMI Music in South Africa. Delani Makhalima is currently the Vice Chairman and CEO of MusiXNation, a music media entertainment company based in South Africa focused on cross platform digital music distribution and live music entertainment.

Laolu Akintobi is a revered Nigerian musician, author and composer, repertoire consultant and musician rights crusader. He goes by the moniker ‘Akins’. There is no pause button to press when it comes to music and Akins. He plays the drums and percussion and has over the years produced works for some of Nigerian A-list musical artistes like Onyeka Onwenu, P-Square, Orlando Julius Ekemode and a host of others. There is no generation gap for this music producer. He produced the musical stage concert of Evang. Dr. Ebenezer Obey & King Sunny Ade’s first joint performance “Oleku” in 2012.

His vast experience exceeds the number of years he has spent in the industry (almost four decades). This has fetched him multiple gold and platinum awards including the Producer of the Year Award twice.

Professionally, Laolu was the former Artist & Repertoire Manager/Controller for Sony Music Entertainment (formerly CBS Records) and participated in major projects such as MTN National Talent Discovery& Development Projects and Nescafe African Revelation (NAR). Presently he is the Head of Operations at Excel Pro-Audio Resources, An Independent Artist & Music Production Enterprise.

He is a member of various professional bodies and he is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).

Oscar Kidjo is a household name in his country Benin Republic. This has nothing to do with his familial relationship with Angelique Kidjo ; one of the most celebrated female artiste in the continent . Oscar is a veteran African Music Specialist. He is a musician, arranger and a composer. He produced most of the jingles for Benin National Radio and TV and background music for two drama plays staged by Radio France International at the 18th Inter African Drama Contest in 1991. His versatile experience and critical knowledge of music is appreciated in various musical contests in Benin Republic where he served as judge.

Kidjo was a former Director at the Ministry of Culture in his country from 2007 to 2011. He also held the same position at the Centre for Music, Art and Cultural Activities Studies (C.E.M.A.AC.).

Kidjo runs his own Recording Studio and Record Production Company named PHONOVISION S.A.R.L. It was established in 1990 and still produces traditional and contemporary acts till date.


Robert Ekukole is a prolific TV producer and broadcaster from Cameroon. He is well known for his monumental contribution to the broadcast industry in his country.

Ekukole currently serves as the Director of TV Programmes and Production at Cameroon Radio, TV network (CRTV. Some of his notable works include the production and direction of all international and national sporting events in Cameroon (including the theme songs), training of journalists, artistic innovations on TV newscasts, the conception and production of a TV programme on Tourism called “Cameroon Safari” and designed the first locally produced TV news set.

Ekukole also consulted for UNESCO, Rwanda, Nelson McCann Ericsson Douala,, German Technical Cooperation, in Cameroon among others.

He won the Jeunes Television Award for RFO-AITV Best Documentary in 2000, Cameroon Press Awards for Best TV Documentary and Best TV Producer in 2001 and 2000 respectively.

Christian Syren is the co-founder and director of Making Music Productions (MMP), an event and project management company in South Africa. The Swedish music professional finally relocated to South Africa in 1985 and has since played a vital role in the music industry in South Africa. His company provided the technical facilities for Nelson Mandela’s speech on release on 11 February 1990 and produced “Mandela Elect Concert” in April 1994.

Making Music Productions cc. During the 25 years of its existence, the Cape Town-based company has produced a number of key events on national, regional and local levels, and has nurtured a number of major talents in the country, mainly within the genres of South African and Cape Jazz, traditional and contemporary African music, as well as kwaito and hip-hop.

The company started its Re-Connection Project in 1993, One of the most prominent editions of Re-Connection saw Manu Dibango, Youssou N’Dour, Papa Wemba and Angelique Kidjo participate in President Thabo Mbeki’s inauguration at Union Buildings, Pretoria in 1999, under the banner: “Faranani -Towards the African Century”. Recent editions of the Re-Connection project have included “Young Africa” at Cape Town’s City Hall in October 2013, and the first-ever visit to South Africa by Zouk legends Kassav at Johannesburg’s Bassline venue in April 2015.‎

Besides his musical expertise, Syren served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and Middle East (UNEF). He holds an M.SOC. SCI, MA and BA degrees in Psychology.

Tabu Osusa is an iconic figure in the music industry in East Africa.

A native of Kenya, he is the Founding Director of Ketebul Music, a not-for-profit organization incorporated in January 2007 in Nairobi, Kenya. The outfit has the unprecedented and unique mission to carry out research, document, develop and promote the diverse music traditions of East Africa..

He was the creative producer and consultant for “Muzikiwa Kenya” program that was launched by the Goethe Institut, Nairobi in 2006. He is also a member of the Music in Africa Foundation, a music information and exchange web portal dedicated to the African music sector.

He is also the project coordinator in the Retracing Series, a series of documentaries involved in capturing historical landmark events that have helped in defining the East African sounds and rhythms.

Osusa and his team have so far produced four multi-media packages:(i) Retracing the Benga Rhythm(ii) Retracing Kikuyu Popular Music(iii) Retracing Kenya’s Funky Hits(iv) Retracing Kenya’s Songs of Protest. v) Shades of Benga book. (Work in progress).All the projects listed above have been supported by the Ford Foundation, Eastern Africa.

In 2014 Osusa and Ketebul Music were appointed by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts to curate the music that would showcase Kenya at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held in Washington DC from 25th June to 6th July 2014.

Osusa is also one of the few Africans involved in the arts to be recognized by the France Cultures guide-book Raiders of Cultures.

Kiki Toure is a music producer, DJ, an entertainment consultant and event planner. He was nominated for the best producer in the African Diaspora Awards in London 2005.Kiki was part of the organising committee of Miss Malaika in 2003. He was involved in the planning of the late South African singer Brenda Fassie’s concert held in the Palace of Culture and Stage University in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 2002. He also organised concerts for Koffi Olomide and Fally Fally in Bangui in 2007 and a host of other prominent artistes.

Kiki was a consultant for the KORA music awards for over a decade (1995-2005), Miss Malaika (2003-2004) to mention a few.

Angela Marina de Ascenssão Jeremias Martins is the African Union Commission representative for the All african Music Awards, AFRIMA adjudication panel. Her extensive years of experience as a cultural analyst comes in handy in the screening process.

Mrs Martins heads the Culture Division at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She’s been very active in the preparation, formulation and implementation of appropriate programs, policies and strategies related to Culture in the continent and have participated in various cultural events such as the 2nd and 3rd Pan-African Cultural Congresses organized by the AUC in 2009 and 2012 respectively; Board Meetings of the African World Heritage Fund since 2010; The African Fashion Reception (2014); The Sixth World Summit on Arts and Culture (2014) among others.

She was formerly a training Officer at the SADC Parliamentary Forum headquarters in Windhoek, Namibia. Mrs Martins holds a diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and a Master in Education. Her background in teaching afforded her the opportunity to head the department of Distance Education at the Ministry of Education and Culture, in Maputo, Mozambique, her home country.


Essaidi Omar is the Music and Artistic Director at Hit Radio, Morocco. Essaidi put his flair and musical ear to serve a large number of talents in Morocco. He has expertise in programming strategy, radio music programming implementation, imaging production, market research and analysis, Music Scheduling.

In 2010, Essaidi was the artistic director behind the success of the campaign VVV (Your Voice , Your Vote, Your Victory ) launched by Hit Radio which featured artistes; Ahmed Sultan, Khansa Batma and Sy Mehdi . He has also done artistic direction for other projects which include: Hit Radio`s Image production in 2012, Hit Radio`s Private concerts (Would Chab, Dj R-Wan, Ganga Vibes), Conceert du Nouvel An and Grand prix Marrakech Concerts.

Essaidi has served as a jury member for Generation Mawazine, Boulevard Festival and GBOB by MTV.

Curious, passionate and attentive, with great artistic maturity, Essaidi has the ideal profile to find and support the best talent.

He speaks English, French and Arabic.

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