Freshlyground win MTV Europe Music Award

South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground walked away with an MTV Europe Music Award on Thursday evening for best African act. Singer Zolani Mahola, looking slightly overwhelmed, accepted the award on stage with a brief thank-you message.

Held in a chilly Copenhagen, Denmark, the awards were hosted by Justin Timberlake and featured glitzy performances by acts such as Rihanna, The Killers, Muse, Keane, Jet and P Diddy.

The seven-piece Freshlyground stormed the charts in South Africa with singles such as Doo Be Doo and I’d Like off their second album, Nomvula, which attained double-platinum sales. With band members hailing from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, their sound is equally diverse, dipping into kwaito, folk, blues and jazz.

Their third album is due for release by the end of this year.

Other MTV Europe Music Award winners included the Red Hot Chili Peppers (who had four nominations and won for best album), Muse (best alternative act) and Kanye West (best hip-hop).
The Killers won best rock act.

Gnarls Barkley, who had a smash hit with the single Crazy, won the Future Sounds award for best new act, and the single was named best song.

“I am definitely more nervous to host the show than I will be just to [perform] my own show,” Timberlake, who opened the proceedings with a medley of his latest hits, told reporters on the eve of the ceremony. He went on to win the awards for best pop act and best male artist.

Christina Aguilera was named best female artist.

The MTV awards show was created in 1994 as an alternative to the Grammys, the United States music awards show, and is hosted by a different European city every year. Last year it was held in Lisbon.

Also nominated this year were Robbie Williams, Madonna (for her Confessions on a Dance Floor album), Shakira and Nelly Furtado.

The show was broadcast live in 179 countries, reaching a potential 1,4-billion viewers.

For the first time, it was also be transmitted simultaneously to third-generation cellphones in nine European countries, accessible to about 20-million subscribers, according to MTV Networks International.

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