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Africa’s music stars win big at the Trace Awards in Kigali, Rwanda

Davido and Rema score twice each at the glittering ceremony

Davido and Rema scored big at the Trace Awards in Kigali on Saturday, 21 October 2023.

Davido took home the prizes for Best Male, and shared Best Collaboration with South Africa’s Musa Keys for “Unavailable”. Rema scored in the Global African Artist, and Song of the Year categories, with “Calm Down”.  “Love Damini” by Burna Boy scored the prize for Best Album and Vivian Chidid received the plaudits for Best Female.

A big congratulations to our South African artists. Nomcebo walked away with the Best Global African Artist award with Rema from Nigeria. Musa Keys walked away with Best Collaboration powered by Martell with Davido and Best Dancer was won by Robot Boii. 

The Best Artist – East Africa was won by Diamond Platnumz, while Rwandan local hero Bruce Melodie triumphed in the Best Rwandan Artist category. 

Didi B took home the silverware for Ivory Coast as Best Artist Africa – Francophone, while his fellow countrymen KS Bloom and Tam Sir scored in the Best Gospel Artist, and Best Producer categories, respectively.


Lisandro Cuxi was named Best Artist Africa – Lusophone.


Recognising his long and storied music career, Nigeria’s 2Face won the Lifetime Achievement prize. 


Rutshelle Guillance was named as Best Artist – Caribbean, while Goulam triumphed as Best Artist – Indian Ocean, and Dystinct won Best Artist – North Africa. Yemi Alade’s hit “Baddie” took home the prize for Best Video.

Music maker and entrepreneur, Mr Eazi, took home a special ChangeMarker award for his philanthropic work.

Looking further north, British rapper Central Cee triumphed as Best Artist – UK, while Tayc took home the trophy for Best Artist – France & Belgium.  Ludmilla was awarded the trophy for Best Artist – Brazil, and Michael Brun from Haiti was named Best DJ.  

Competing in 26 award categories were Africa and Afro-inspired artists from more than thirty countries in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and Europe. For a full list of the winners of the Trace Awards please click here.

Olivier Laouchez, Chairman and Co-Founder of Trace, commented, “Tonight has been a triumphant demonstration of the power and creativity of African and African-origin artists.  All the nominees and performers at the Trace Awards underlined exactly why African contemporary music has become a global phenomenon. We congratulate all the nominees, winners and performers for their achievements and for demonstrating their talent, imagination and creativity to a global audience.”

On the night, the BK Arena throbbed to contemporary rhythms and vibes from across Africa and the African diaspora. Highlights of the main show including collaborations between artists of different nationalities and music genres.


Fronted by Afrobeat legend D’Banj and Angolan supermodel Maria Borges, the Trace Awards featured performances and collaborations from 50+ stars, melding Afrobeat with Bongo Flava, Coupé Decalé,  Soukouss, Rap, Rai, Gospel and more.  Performers included Diamond Platnumz, (Tanzania), Davido (Nigeria), Bamby (French Guiana), Benjamin Dube (South Africa), Blxckie (South Africa), Bruce Melodie (Rwanda), Bwiza (Rwanda), Didi B (Ivory Coast), Dystinct (Morocco), Janet Otieno (Kenya), Josey (Ivory Coast), Lisandro Cuxi (Cape Verde), Locko (Cameroon), Perola (Angola), Plutonio (Mozambique), Princess Lover (Martinique), Rutshelle Guillaume (Haïti), Soraia Ramos (Cape Verde), Terrell Elymoor (Mayotte), The Compozers (Ghana), Viviane Chidid (Senegal), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Mr Eazi (Nigeria), Azawi (Uganda), BNXN (Nigeria), Camidoh (Ghana), Chriss Eazy (Rwanda), Danni Gatto (Cape Verde), DJ Illans (Reunion), Donovan BTS (Mauritius), Emma’a (Gabon), Gaei (Madagascar), Gerilson Insrael (Angola), Goulam (The Comores), Kader Japonais (Algeria), Krys M (Cameroon), K.O (South Africa), KS Bloom (Ivory Coast), Levixone (Uganda), Mik’l (Réunion), Moses Bliss (Nigeria), Musa Keys (South Africa), Nadia Mukami (Kenya), Segael (Réunion), Jux (Tanzania) and Zuchu (Tanzania). 

Global music powerhouse and Afro-music tastemaker, Trace staged the first ever Trace Awards to mark its 20th anniversary, and celebrate the creativity, talent and influence of African and Afro-inspired music and artists. The Awards showcased the excellence and diversity of Afro-centric music in genres such as Afrobeat, Dancehall, Hip Hop, Afro-pop, Mbalax, Amapiano, Zouk, Kizomba, Genge, Coupé Décalé, Bongo Flava, Soukous, Gospel, Rap, Rai, Kompa, R&B, and Rumba. 

Targeted at lovers of African and Afro-inspired music and culture, the Trace Awards broadcasted live on 21 October 2023 on Trace TV channels, radio and digital channels and on global streaming platforms, national terrestrial TV and satellite channels. A 90 minutes highlights show will air on Trace channels and partner TV stations and platforms from 28 October.  The Trace Awards is presented by Visit Rwanda and Martell.

For more information about the Awards, follow Trace on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter YouTube or TikTok To join the conversation about the awards please use the hashtags #TraceAwardsRwanda2023, #TraceAwardsandFestival and #TraceAwardsTour.


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