Photo Essay: Behind The Scenes At The South African Music Awards
A Music Feature

South Africaby Christine Curtis
Posted: 29 May 2009

The South African Music Awards are the highlight of the country's musical year and a celebration of its diverse styles and talents. The main awards ceremony is televised but fans stuck at home always miss out on all the other happenings and more candid moments. Curiosity got the better of us so sent a correspondent behind the scenes, armed with a camera, to find out what happens.

The 15th South African Music Awards (SAMAs) were held earlier this month at Sun City, near Johannesburg.

Each year the main awards ceremony, which is broadcast live on national TV, becomes more elaborate, with the familiar mix of awards being handed out interspersed with live performances. The organisers have become increasingly creative in pairing sometimes (seemingly) mismatched artists for the live performances, which has resulted in some wonderful collaborative efforts that are a once-in-a-lifetime event and something that the fans - and artists - really look forward to every year.

On the Friday night before the Saturday's main awards event there is usually an initial awards ceremony for the less mainstream awards and because there are just too many awards to hand out on the big night and it would slow the pace of the broadcast show too much. This low-key ceremony is not broadcast but, for the artists, it marks the start of a fantastic weekend that is a celebration of their musical talents.

This selection of photographs was mainly taken behind the scenes at the broadcast event on the Saturday night, which was held at the Sun City Superbowl, as well as at one of the Saturday after parties.

At The Hotel

The view from The Sun City Hotel
Above: The out-of-town judges and some of the guests stayed at The Sun City Hotel. This is the view from one of the rooms.

At The Sun City Hotel
Above: Left: It was dreary and raining on the Friday when most of the guests arrived at the hotel but this poor lifeguard was still expected to remain on duty.  Right: Most people in South Africa have never been to Sun City (and will never be able to afford to go) so this carpet, from The Sun City Hotel lobby, is more interesting than you might first assume. Thousands of local and international celebrities have stood on it. For most of us, this is the closest you will get to greatness (although that might depend on your definition of greatness).

Behind The Scenes

Displays and broadcast setups
Above:Left: Part of an MTN promo display in The Sun City Hotel foyer. MTN was the main sponsor of the awards, which is why the red carpet is yellow, as that's MTN's corporate colour. This poster is the closest that most people, including some of the judges, could get to Kahn Morbee, lead singer of The Parlotones.  Right: The yellow carpet at the entrance to the Sun City Superbowl, where the main awards event on the Saturday was held, as shown on a monitor in the back of a Metro FM van parked nearby.

Hip-hop group Teargas
Above: Hip-hop group Teargas, which won Best Rap Album for Wafa Wafa.

DJ Cleo and Idols winner Jody
Above: Left: DJ Cleo, whose track "Hands Up" won MTN Best-selling Mobile Music Download Of The Year and Best-selling Ring-Back Tone.  Right: Idols Season 4 winner Jody, who was nominated for three SAMAs: Best Newcomer, Best Pop Album English, and Best Engineer (Charlie Hamilton) for Just Gonna Be Me. Jody was also one of the award presenters at the Saturday night ceremony.

Lira and Cofield Mundi
Above: Left: Lira, who was nominated for six awards and picked up four (Album Of The Year, Best Female Artist for Soul In Mind, Best Adult Contemporary English for Soul In Mind, and Best Remix for "Feel Good - Jazzworx Remix").  Right: Cofield Mundi, who was nominated in the category Best Adult Contemporary Album for The Big Question.

Above: David Poole and Dominic Peters of Goldfish. The duo was nominated for a record-breaking eight SAMAs and took home two: Best Producer and Best Dance Album for Perceptions Of Pacha. Goldfish also performed and presented at the Saturday awards ceremony.

Ross Learmonth and Snotkop
Above: Left: Ross Learmonth, lead singer of Prime Circle, which performed at the Saturday awards ceremony. "She Always Gets What She Wants" earned the group a nomination for the MTN Record Of The Year. Learmonth also presented at the awards ceremony.  Right: Snotkop, whose album So Damn Sexy was nominated for Best Pop Album Afrikaans. He also presented at the Saturday awards ceremony.

The Main Event

Goldfish performing
Above: Goldfish performing "This Is How It Goes" with vocalist Monique Hellenberg at the Saturday awards ceremony.

Da L.E.S and Slikour
Above: The "hip-hop showdown" between Da L.E.S and Slikour at the Saturday awards ceremony.

Da L.E.S and Slikour
Above: The "hip-hop showdown" between Da L.E.S and Slikour at the Saturday awards ceremony.

After The SAMAs

At the Heineken after party
Above: Left: Unidentified male with cute Pacman bag at the Heineken after party on the Saturday night.  Right: The not-so-packed dance floor at the Heineken after party on the Saturday night, just before the speakers blew. General consensus was that is was overrated and undercatered.

Socialite Khanyi Mbau's ride
Above: Socialite Khanyi Mbau's ride... we think. Read all about the scandal at The Star.

Additional reporting by Mandy J Watson.

On The Internet
Official Site: SAMAs Speak Your Mind

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