vans Mwenda (right), Groove Awards 2018 chairperson, gestures during a news briefing at Mattina Hotel on October 10.

The sixth edition of the Groove Awards Rwanda, the annual gospel music awards, is back with various changes which will see the winners determined by the entrusted Group of Panelists made of five people.

It also features new categories such as Collabo Song of the Year, Ministry or Group of the Year, Afro-Pop Song of the year, up-country Artist of the Year and up-country Choir of the Year. It has 23 categories featuring categories of gospel artistes from upcountry unlike the previous editions.

Explaining about the changes, Noel Nkundimana, the coordinator of the panelists assured that the changes will not affect the transparency but improve the process of choosing a winner who merits the recognition.

“This year features many changes to improve the initiative. Different activities were organised in order that the public can benefit. Previously, the results of some winners were not accurate due to that an artist whose fans are fortunate would win, yet in the reality the winner did not deserve it. Public used to elect basing on feelings not acts of merits,” he said.

According to Evans Mwendwa, known as DJ Spin, the head of Groove Awards Rwanda, the new changes are meant to make the awards more inclusive and competitive.

Registration has kicked off and will go on for three weeks. Only works produced between October 1, 2017 and October 2018 will be eligible to enter the competition

A group of panelists for 2018 Groove Awards 

This year’s awards are themed ‘Re-ignite and build’, to inspire people in gospel music industry to work together and make their products impact the spiritual lives of people. The theme was drawn from Nehemiah 2:17-18.

The panelists include Noel Nkundimana, chairperson of the panel, Jeanine Mukabacondo, Robert Ngabe Sangano, Issa Noel Kalinijabo and Nicodem Nzahoyankuye.

The list of nominees for this year’s edition will be revealed to the public on October 28.

The organisers have also presented some accomplished activities during this year such as a three –conference of Overflow Africa, gospel artist prayer day that brought together over 150 gospel personalities.

Ahead of this year’s edition, several activities will take place such as groove corporate social responsibilities to be held the week before Groove Gala Night, community Service (Umuganda), health insurance support for 100 subscribers as well as comforting the sick at various hospitals.