From 2024, Africa will have a category dedicated to its artists in the Grammy Awards. Photo: AP

By Brian Okoth

African artists will have a category in the Grammy Awards preserved for them in the subsequent ceremonies.

The American recording academy announced on Tuesday that there will be the Best African Music Performance category that will attract contestants from the African continent only.

The Grammy Awards said the new Africa-specific category will highlight “regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions”.

Their statement added that the artists will battle it out in the genres like “Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop, and Ethio Jazz”.

Afrobeat is largely associated with Nigeria, while Amapiano is associated with South Africa. Genge is unique to Kenya, while Bongo Flava has its roots in Tanzania.

Ndombolo, a form of dance, is from the Democratic of the Congo, while Kizomba originated from Angola.

Reacting to the news of Grammys introducing an Africa-specific category, Kenyan veteran musician Nameless, whose real name is David Mathenge, told TRT Afrika: “This is the best news ever. It gives East Africa an opportunity to showcase its talent to the rest of the world. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”

A Grammy trophy is regarded by many as the most prestigious award in the music industry worldwide. Photo: TRT World

Two other categories

Grammys have also introduced two other categories. They are Best Pop Dance Recording and Best Alternative Jazz Album.

The Best Pop Dance Recording category is defined by “up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement" and recordings that “feature strong rhythmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on the vocal performance, melody and hooks”.

On the Best Alternative Jazz Album, Grammys said the category will spotlight albums that blend jazz and other musical styles such as RnB, Hip-Hop, Classical, Contemporary Improvisation, Experimental, Pop, Rap, Dance music, and/or Spoken Word.

'Broader array' of artists

Grammys Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said in a statement: “By introducing these three new categories, we are able to acknowledge and appreciate a broader array of artists.”

The new categories will be introduced in 2024.

The Grammy Awards, or simply known as the Grammys, are awards presented by the Recording Academy of the United States to recognise "outstanding" achievements in the music industry.

They are regarded by many as the most prestigious and significant awards in the music industry worldwide.

The awards were first introduced in 1959. At the time they were known as Gramophone Awards.

TRT Afrika