|Alphonce Bahati Gospel Artist of the Year from Rwanda|
Some of East Africa's hottest emerging and seasoned talent in the gospel music industry came together at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Kenya on June 1 for the Groove Awards 2013.
It was a night of talent even as most big names were not even nominated for the show. Those recognised included our own Alphonse Bahati.
Bahati won the coveted Artiste of the Year (Rwanda), and the award was presented to him by Gaby Irene Kamanzi, who represented Rwanda at the event.
"It was God's will to see me nominated among others because it is not that I am the best but I thank God because I won the award," Bahati told The New Times in an interview.
Some of Bahati's famous songs include, Birasohoye, Shim' Imana, Urupfu narigupfa and Nshuti nziza.
Now in its eighth year, the highly praised Groove Awards, which is East Africa's premier gospel music awards, was founded in 2004 to showcase and promote talent in the region. To date, over 600 artistes and groups have been honoured.
Tanzania's Rose Muhando and Christina Shusho won the Skiza Song of the Year and Artiste of the Year, respectively.
The awards ceremony with Safaricom was graced by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
Speaking at the gala night, President Uhuru lauded Kenya's music industry saying his government was ready to engage with entertainers to help grow the industry.
The other nominees from Rwanda were Gaby Kamanzi, Théo Uwiringiyimana, aka Bosebabireba, Tonzi, Lillian Kabaganza and Patient Bizimana.
Over the years, the awards have grown to cover the wider Eastern African region. The event is sponsored by Safaricom Limited and Mo Sound Entertainment.
Rwanda joined the Groove Awards competition in 2010, with The Sisters group emerging the inaugral winners. In 2011, the award went to the Blessed Sisters and in 2012 it was won by Eddie Mico
Source: All Africa