Yvonne Chaka Chaka’s BVSM Awards acknowledges ‘neglected’ backing vocalists

Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Picture: Neil Baynes

Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Picture: Neil Baynes

Published Jan 19, 2023


Backing vocalists and session musicians will be honoured at the prestigious Backing Vocalists And Session Musicians Awards (BVSM Awards), set to take place at the Soweto Theatre on February 5.

In a press statement shared with IOL Entertainment, music legend Yvonne Chaka Chaka explained that the core of the BVSM Awards was a celebration of talent that is “neglected and unrecognised”.

“I’m thrilled that the BVSM Awards are back this year and will carry on this noble task of honouring our legends while they are still alive.

“We serve to remind music fans that in the ecosystem of hitmaking, there are musicians who contribute so much yet remain in the shadows because they are not front line acts,” said Chaka Chaka.

“Oftentimes, backing vocalists and session musicians have no recourse from front liners and it’s important that we look after these artists.

“What we’re talking about here is needle time, and that is why we want to partner with South African Music Performing Rights Association because they are on the side of performers.

“There are nominees in 13 categories including Rookie of the Year, Best Lead Guitarist, Best Piano and Keys, Best Female/Male Backing Vocalist and genres such as Best Reggae Artist, Best Jazz Artist and Best Traditional Artist who are recognised for their excellence and enduring contribution to the arts.”

This year’s Lifetime Achievement recipients comprise “shape-shifters” who contributed immensely to the music landscape.

David Mabaso is the only surviving member of the Big Dudes, the band that performed with Brenda Fassie and was responsible for some of Fassie’s biggest hits.

Kokotile Rakhetla was a keyboardist for Young5 band and performed with Rebecca Malope. Kenny Mathaba, one of the most sought-after guitarists worked with Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya, Ray Phiri, Miriam Makeba, Shirley Brown and Jonas Gwangwa among others.

Madala Kunene, a revered guitarist known as the King of Zulu guitar, worked with the likes of Andreas Vollenweider, Airto Moreira, Phuzekhemisi and Busi Mhlongo.

Suthukazi Arosi backed or featured on projects by several artists including Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya and Chicco Twala.

The Special Award will be presented to Joseph Makwela, credited as the originator of the Mbaqanga sound who played for Makgona Tsohle Band and Mahlathini and Mahotella Queens.

“There has not been a musician to surpass the skill and talent of Joseph Makwela in all these years since 1964,” said Hilda Tloubatla of Mahlathini and Mahotella Queens.

“He gave us the Mbaqanga sound that we talk about today. I’m delighted that BVSM Awards will honour this giant.

“He recorded a lot of music and his legacy is that he is the best bass guitarist to come out of South Africa. He is so deserving,” added Tloubatla.

The BVSM Awards will be held on Sunday, February 5 at Soweto Theatre, Jabulani, at 12pm.

Below is full list of nominees and recipients.

Best Guitarist

Dan Patlansky

Joel Klein

Sunnyboy Mthimunye

Best Bass Guitarist

Denny Lalouette

Jimmy Mngwadi

Lucas Senyatso

Best Piano and Keys

Mawande Stuurman

Ezra Erasmus

Lolo Rollins Mankge

Best Percussionist

Basi Mahlasela

Moses Manaka

Veli Shabangu

Best Drummer

David Klaasen

Leeroy Sauls

Mncedisi Ndamase

Best Brass Section

Marcus Wyatt

Ian Smith

Sydney Mavundla

Best Woodwinds

Cathy Del Mei

Khaya Dlamini

Tim Roberts

Best Female Backing Vocalist (Live/Studio)

Meisie “Lovey” Malatji

Nelisiwe Kunene

Silindile Ntini

Best Male Backing Vocalist (Live/Studio)

Bheki Nene

Bubele Mgele

Mduduzi Ntombela

Best Rock/Pop

Danny De Wet

Mark Beiling

Veronique Lalouette

Best Reggae

Bhe Shandu

Ntombi Mtshali

Penuel Phangisa

Best Gospel Sessionist

Gift Lelimo

Lulama Lallo

Toffo Goge

Best Digital Session Musician: Afro Pop, Maskandi and Gospel

Bruce Sebitlo

Mzamo Ndlovu

Obed Mabuza

Best Afrikaans

Mel Botes

Melody Bracey

Ray Dylan

Best Jazz Vocalist

Kuki Mncube

Sifiso Khanyile

Sibusiso Buthelezi

Best Jazz Instrumentalist

Barry Snyman

Sydney Mnisi

Randall Skippers

Best Traditional

Madoda Ntshingila

Maqhude Mkhize

Mbhodobhodo Mdlalose

Rookie of the Year Instrumentalist

Kagiso Monampane

Phakathi Sanele

Tshego AMG

Rookie of the Year Vocalist

Cheryl Zondi

Lalamani Kutama-Khumela

Mashudu Mosoeu

Lifetime Achievement Recipients

David Mabaso

Kokotile Rakhetla

Kenny Mathaba

Madala Kunene

Suthukazi Arosi

Special Award

Joseph Makwela