International Portuguese Music Awards draw the eyes of the world to New Bedford

With red carpets and black ties, spotlights and limousines, the SouthCoast will put on its best Hollywood face as it celebrates and honors musicians of Portuguese heritage from around the world this spring.

Modelled after the Grammy’s, the organizers of the 2017 International Portuguese Music Awards will be using the same motto that they have after they started with the event in 2013.

“Bigger and better.”

On the night of Saturday, April 22, the IPMA’s will feature performances and acceptance speeches from the stage of the Zeiterion Theatre. But the spectacle and extravagance will go beyond that – the Friday evening before the awards ceremony a Gala Dinner will be held at the Cultural Center in Fall River. The same location will also be the sight of an After Party to follow Saturday’s awards presentation.

In each of the first four years the awards event sold out the 1,200-seat Zeiterion Theatre. It is expected that this year’s Gala Dinner will accommodate 300 people and the After Party will attract 700.

The awards event will include 10 categories, showcasing a diversity of styles. All of the nominees in the award categories must be of Portuguese descent, regardless of how distant or where they live. Years past have included artists from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Africa. Seventy-five percent of last year’s submissions came from outside of the United States. This year’s winners will be selected by a panel of six judges – acclaimed music industry professionals from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Africa.

This year’s categories include Rock, Pop, Dance, Rap & Hip-Hop, Musica Popular, Traditional, Fado, World Music, Instrumental, People’s Choice, Song of the Year, and Video of the Year.

Saturday evening will also feature the New Artist category, pairing two young artists who will perform one song each. The winner will be selected by a multi-national panel of judges and the winner will be announced that night. Requirements for entering the New Artist category are that the competitors are between 15 and 30 years of age, they should have no recording contract or professional management.

Another of Saturday’s highlights will be the presentation of A Lifetime Achievement Award to Daniela Mercury, a performer who has sold more than 20 million records and has been described as “The Whitney Houston of Brazil.”

And while the award nominees will be international, so will the media. Along with local coverage by The Portuguese Channel, and Comcast HD On Demand, the event will also be broadcast by the international outlet PRT (Portuguese Radio & Television), as well as being streamed online. The MVM network will broadcast the event to the African countries of Mozambique and Angola, SIC will also show it in Portugal and FPTV will show it in Canada.

“We expect that this event will be viewed by millions of people,” Cabral says.

Saturday night’s list of performers is also geared towards a diversity of styles. There will be international stars alongside talent from throughout the region. Included in the lineup are local notables such as New Bedford’s Samantha Johnson and Fall River’s Marc Dennis who will take to the stage while Portugal will be represented by Olavo Bilac, lead singer of the legendary Portuguese rock band Santos & Pecadores. Nineteen-year old Mariana Rocha of the Azores will be featured as well.

But the IPMA’s aren’t just concerned with what’s happening on stage – in the days leading up to the awards show they will be greeting some of the performers at Boston’s Logan Airport with limousines and outfitting them with hotels and access to restaurants for the three or four days that they will be in the area. Rehearsals for the award show will begin on Wednesday.

Friday night’s Gala Dinner will include a social hour with wine, champagne and hors d’oeuvres along with the opportunity for guests to interact with the performing artists. In past years, the evenings have featured magicians, comedians as well as a fashion show. The event will include a seven-course meal.

Tickets can be bought on the website, VIP packages are also available, offering guests prime seating for the awards event, access to a catered event before the show, a package of CD’s from previous victorious performers, t-shirts and complimentary tickets to the After Party.

A recent feather in the cap of the IPMA is that they will be branded and marketed by the renown Pilot Studios, a Boston business that has worked with Disney, Pixar Studios, Lucasfilm, and the WWE.

The organizers claim that the weekend’s production will involve 120 workers.

“The people involved with this are giving more than they get,” Cabral says. “We’re putting together a champagne event on a beer budget.”

[Source:-South Coast Today]