Another season of Vodafone Ghana Music Awards is here and no sooner had last Friday’s launch of the awards and the release of the nominees list ended than the controversies began.
“Why is Castro not a nominee for the ultimate VGMA Artiste of the Year award?” the question began with a buzz among some invited guests, musicians and media present.
Castro’s popularity, especially with his 2014 release Seihor and other collaborations with colleague artistes such as D Black, Sarkodie and Akoo Nana were cited as justification for him to be up there on the Artiste of the Year list together with Daddy Lumba, Stonebwoy, Guru, Edem, Mz Vee, Sarkodie and Samini.
Above all considerations, however, was the sympathy that many music enthusiasts have for Castro following his mysterious disappearance during a jet ski ride at Ada in July last year.
When such controversies have arisen in the past, the organisers, Charterhouse, attempt with a measure of success, to explain away their decisions. This time, however, it appears they will have a lot of convincing to do.
The official category definition for Artiste of the Year clearly states that he or she “is the artiste adjudged by the Academy, Board and general public as the artiste with the highest audience appeal and popularity. The artiste must have released a single or an album during the year under review”.
The people who are doing the questioning say that the artiste satisfies all the requirements of the definition so “Why has Castro been left out?”
They insist that Castro, released a hit before his disappearance, he had a very high audience appeal and his popularity has virtually gone through the rood especially since his absence.
Overall, Sarkodie received the highest number of 11 nominations on the VGMA list, followed by Edem with 10, and Stonebwoy, Guru and MxVee receiving six nominations each.
The poorest category surprisingly is the Highlife Artiste of the Year which has only three nominees, – Bisa Kdei, Daddy Lumba and Afriyie.
The richest category is the Song of the Year which has as many as 10 nominees.
The latest addition to the categories is the Raggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year which boasts of a strong field comprising Stonebwoy, Ras Kuuku, MzVee, Samini, Kaakie and Episode.