SAMMA 2019: panelists announced

Johannesburg, South Africa: each year, the South African Metal Music Awards seeks to recognize the achievements of those who keep our scene purring from the previous year. In 2019, the SAMMA recognizes what has been offered within the dates including and falling between only 01 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.

Of course, it’s a grueling task to source and sort through all of the content offered up within the year. As usual, it’s up to the organizer, Sasquita Northey at Emalyth, to recruit a worthy ensemble of panelists. As per the operations manual, a suitable panel must consist of seven members.

And the SAMMA 2019 members are:

Amanda Els is from Bloemfontein and in recent years, she has been the figurehead behind Free State Metal; an organization responsible for placing the Bloem scene back onto the national map! They have done great work, offering a firmly established annual event in Bloemfontein called Metal Circuit.

Ashley Gainsford is from Johannesburg and is a well-known live sound engineer. He’s worked with the best and the worst of them over a long career, and few people would be as qualified to make a critical assessment on the professionalism and quality of performance behind any live act.

Heinrich Kollner is from sunny Cape Town. Apart from being a diversely talented instrumentalist, Heinrich has retired from stage life in order to rather pursue his passion for studio production. He has an ever-growing repertoire of bands with whom he has worked from all over South Africa.

Matthew Howes is from Durban and is also best known as a live sound engineer. However, his long involvement in local metal includes as a musician, as well as an event promoter; most recently and notably of the Durban event known as Pit at The Polo.

Mike Pocock is another Johannesburg resident and also an events promoter. Besides working for Red Bull Studios, Mike has a diverse history of roles working in the music industry. Notably of late, he hosts shows regularly under his Brochella brand which has included some international partnerships.

Keisha du Toit makes up yet another Johannesburg resident and has been stirring the scene in recent times with not only her vlog channel KeeshKush, but also a series of live events often sporting new and unusual acts on the scene.

A couple of rules…

Of course, with these panelists it will be observed that they are all actively involved with industry affairs and may have some direct working relations with potential nominees. In some cases, they might be nominees themselves (as are we at M4A in the ‘event’ category).

The operations manual has some rules set into place which include:

  • Panelists are required to take an oath of integrity
  • Panelists are not allowed to discuss their nominations or assessments with each other at any time during the procedures of the SAMMA selections.
  • Panelists are not allowed to nominate for any project/band in which they have a direct role to play in the initial nominations round. However, in the final assessment round, they are allowed to assess any of the five finalists as voted in by the public polls; even if they had been directly involved.