Namibia: Yvonne Chaka Chaka On Why Backing Vocalists and Session Musicians Must Be Honoured

BACKING vocalists and session musicians are once again to be celebrated and honoured for their immense contribution to the music industry, as the Backing Vocalists and Session Musicians Awards (BVSM Awards) return after a two-year break.

The brainchild of legendary singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, the BVSM Awards recognise backing vocalists and session musicians who for “a long time have been cast in the shadows of the stage, never seen nor acknowledged”.

The icon told IOL Entertainment these musicians are essential, and their contribution to the ecosystem of entertainment remains invaluable.

“These are the people who make us who we are. These are the people who make our songs sound beautiful, they give these songs life.

“Without the backing vocalist, the drummer, the pianist, or the bassist, the song would be incomplete.

“So, this is our way of saying to all of them, ‘we appreciate you, we see you, you are valuable in our lives, and we thank you for your contribution’,” she said.

The ‘Umqombothi’ hitmaker said it was her encounter with one of the session players in the early days of her career that inspired the BVSM initiative.

“I remember in 1987, I was in the studio and we needed to add some flavour to the song with a guitar or saxophone. A gentleman named Teaspoon was called to play the saxophone, and all of a sudden that song changed completely.

“Teaspoon was paid R150, and that broke my heart. Though I was young at the time, I knew it was wrong. I didn’t understand why this man was only paid R150, because the song would go on and sell thousands of copies … That thing always stayed in my mind. – IOL Entertainment

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