IT is with a heavy heart that the International Executive Committee of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC), condoles with the family of Christian Syren, former AFRIMA juror representing Southern Africa, who passed away, Thursday, at age 64. He passed away after a prolonged illness.

The Late Malian indigene held the fort for his region at the AFRIMA annual adjudications, since its inception in 2014, till 2021, was a man of charm, cheer and charisma, whose impact on the African music ecosystem remains towering.

“It is truly heartbreaking that we have to endure yet another loss within the same year! It is tragic, because we have truly just lost a colossus. Syren was a gem not just to the AFRIMA jury where he served with so much zeal that it inspired other jury members; he was also a huge blessing to the African creative space. He was not just our friend; he was family to us. And his legacy will continue to live on. We can only hope that the impact he made on earth would continue to inspire others to take up the mantle from where he stopped,” AFRIMA’s Executive Producer/President, Mr. Mike Dada said.

Born in Bamako, Mali, in 1958, Christian Syren started his career as a Jazz composer, co-founding the Jazz Den Club, in Cape Town. His impact, as one of the key show organisers, in the anti-apartheid rallies in South Africa remains unforgettable. His experience with the rallies, as well as the Jazz Club led him to establish Making Music Productions, which has nurtured several African greats including the Malian maestro, Salif Keita, South African Jazzists, Jansen and Winston Mankunku, and other legends such as Thandiswa Mazwai, Jimmy Dludlu, among others.

Syren was appointed a juror in 2014, bringing his wealth of experience as a seasoned music whiz, talent manager, composer and A&R, to help contribute to AFRIMA’s enduring mission of developing Africa’s creative economy.

“We are very sad that we lost an icon,” Olisa Adibua, AFRIMA’s Associate Producer and Executive in charge of the jury, noted. “It is truly painful to the rest of the jury, seeing as this coincides with the ongoing adjudication for the AFRIMA 2022. This is a time of the year when most of the other jurors first met him. We pray for eternal repose for his soul. He will be greatly missed.”