With only two weeks to go before the Tusker Project Fame 3 Academy opens, a star studded judging panel and training faculty members list has been unveiled.
The unveiling of the judging, training faculty and presenters duo comes hot on the heels of the regional auditions conclusion following a whirlwind seven towns and cities auditioning process across, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
Speaking when she confirmed the new team, East Africa Breweries Limited Marketing Director Debra Mallowah reiterated the firm’s commitment to showcase the best of the regions performing artiste’s untapped talent through Tusker Project Fame 3 initiative.
“Like never before, we have stream-lined many of the focus areas in the Tusker Project Fame 3 initiative to enable us unearth the most authentic performing artiste talent in the four east African countries,” Mallowah said.
And added: “with a heavy investment amounting to more than Kshs 200million, we are proud to unveil a regionally represented and vastly experienced team to drive this talent development program forward.”
Following the announcement, leading Afro-Jazz artiste Achieng Abura will lead the Academy’s Faculty as The Maestro. Her musical experience includes singing, composing and piano playing. She has shared the stage with other big names in African music such as Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, Baaba Maal and Angelique Kidjo. Her second album ‘Spirit of a Warrior’ won her a KORA Award for Best Female East Africa Artistee in 2004. Achieng has been part of the Tusker Project Fame journey since its inception.
Internationally acclaimed local jazz artiste Joseph Hellon makes his debut in the Tusker Project Fame initiative as the Musical Director. This role will see him play a pivotal role in the selection of music that the contestants will be trained in. He brings with him vast experience in music performance, composition and production. Hellon is well known in Nairobi’s entertainment circles as a music teacher and jazz recording artiste with five albums to his credit. Hellon’s latest accomplishment is co-production of Aaron Rimbui’s well received 2009 album ‘Alfajiri.’
Another first timer in the Tusker Academy Faculty is Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo joining in as the Vocal Coach. An alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, Kavutha is also a lead vocalist with the “4 Winds” jazz band. Kavutha has a strong desire to be part of the process that will raise the standards of excellence among local artistes’, and is thus happy to be able to bring her skills to future hopefuls in the Academy.
Edwin Odhiambo of Sarakasi dancers, one of East Africa’s leading dance troupes, brings his superb knowledge and skills of dancing as a performing art to the Tusker Academy contestants. Having choreographed the opening and closing shows of Tusker project Fame 1 and 2, Edwin joins in as the Dance Instructor and Choreographer.
With over a decade of experience under his belt, Odhiambo’s, prowess includes choreography and training of the world famous Safari Cats Dance Troupe based at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
He brings onboard international dance experience to the Tusker Project Fame Academy having danced in South Korea, Dubai, Holland, UK, Hong Kong and USA.
The Judging panel will consist of Kenya’s Ian Mbugua and Tanzania’s award winning record producer, Hermes Bariki. “We are in the final stages of contracting a third panelist from Uganda and these details will be revealed in the coming days,” advised the Academy’s maestro Abura.
Ian Mbugua is well known to audiences across East Africa as the straight talking and tough judge from Season 1 and 2. He has been actively involved in the auditioning process and fans can look forward to more of his well-known style in Tusker Project Fame 3.
As an award winning record producer, radio presenter and DJ, Hermes “Hermy B” Bariki brings vast knowledge of the region’s music industry to the show. Hermy B’s work includes hit singles and albums for artistes’ such as Tanzania’s TID, AY, Lady Jaydee and Nakaaya. He has also worked with Kenya’s Amani and Uganda’s Chameleone.
Hermy B was this year feted as Tanzania’s Producer of the year 2009 in the Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards.
The Academy’s Principle, Abura further noted “we are confident that with this line-up, the contestants will undoubtedly receive the best in vocal coaching, musical performance and album production,’
And added “Tusker Project Fame 3 offers a fantastic platform for the 12 contestants to walk away with invaluable lessons from the best in the industry. Everyone who comes into the Academy will leave as a winner.”
The Tusker Project Fame 3 weekly live shows will be hosted by Kenya’s Sheila Mwanyigha and Uganda’s Dr. Michael ‘Mich’ Egwang.
Sheila Mwanyigha is back in Tusker Project Fame for the third year running, having hosted season 1 and 2 of the show as well. Sheila’s entertainment industry experience includes a musical career in which her alter-ego ‘Nikki’ has released a number of singles as well as one album. Sheila has also gained vast experience as a field reporter for MNET’s magazine show Studio 53.
Quick thinking and highly articulate Ugandan MC Mich Egwang is well known for his ability to bond with his audiences and his great sense of humour. With a background in veterinary medicine, Mich’s adventure in showbiz started over ten years ago with successful stints as a radio DJ in various stations in Kampala. He is also popular as a Master of Ceremonies for various corporate and social events, and is known to the East African audiences as the affable host of Mnet’s Deal of No Deal East Africa game show.