The inward looking economic strategy popularly known as Made in Rwanda is becoming more infectious in the country to the extent that many sectors are fast realizing the social and economic merits that accrue to import substitution. This partly explains the revolution happening in Rwanda’s music industry spearheaded by the Sebeya Band – Rwanda’s first and only music band founded by professional artistes.
Professionalism accounts for the difference between other Rwandan music bands and the 10-member Sebeya Band, which traces its roots to Rwanda’s only school of Art and Music and was named after River Sebeya, a major physical feature that is part of the unique and breath-taking environ in the education institution’s location.
Apart from boasting of a national image and several performances in the region and overseas the ten pioneer artistes of SebeyaBand polished their talents through formal training and share a lot in common since they are products of the same institution.
Such factors separate it from other music bands like Sauti Band, Kesho Band and Neptunez Band which might have profit motive and talent as main reasons behind their existence. Too, these three and many out there still struggling to be known are based in Kigali and perform exclusively for the high end citizens in upscale hotels and drinking joints.
But, basically all the Rwandan music bands have one similarity – they suffer from identity crisis in their music an impetus behind Sebeya Band’s initiatives to rebrand its music to “Made in Rwanda” music.
Sebeya Band boasts of national and global image
Though it is one of the youngest music bands in the country launched in 2014 it has left many scratching their heads over its fast pace in winning national and global fame.
ErasmeKamayirese the CEO of Sebeya Band unveiled the secrets behind its growing fame during an exclusive interview with The Light Magazine reporter.
Kamayirese contends that they started from a low point as a music band at the school level, adding they came to the limelight after staging a moving performance as students of Nyundo School of Music in Canada at the Axis Mundi Harvest, Canada’s legendary music festival shortly before the group was baptized Sebeya Band in 2017, their year of graduation.
Sebeya Band brings together talented artistes likeKamayireseErasme(percussion), Nshimiyimana Yves (Solo Guitar), Uwikunda Joel (Base Guitar), Mabano Igor(Drummer), MuzunguDeogratias(Pianist), Iradukunda Albert(Pianist), Mutuzo Courage J. Luc(Acoustic guitar), Niyonshuti Eric(vocalist), UmutesiNeemaRehema(vocalist) and Hoziana Peace (vocalist).
Kamayiresefurther observes that Sebeya Band being a pool of different talents prompted them to embrace various music genres from all over the globe. But, he quickly adds that their action was total deviation from the mission of Rwanda’s school of Art and Music which is to produce indigenous Rwandan music.
“The government of Rwanda established the school of music with a view of helping young talents produce music with Rwandan identity and roots andthus our stance to rebrand our music is incumbent upon this mission to have music branded as Rwandan and gain independence from Western culture and values imported through music at the expense of our own,” observes Kamayirese.
Sebeya Band’s unequalled exposure
Along its journey to fame Sebeya Band has thrilled both local and international audiences through its exciting performances that account for the growing list of its fans.
Locally, it has performed in Primus GumaGuma Super Star, East African Parties, 2015 Airtel Rwanda TeraStori Promotional concert and 2017 Airtel Rwanda TungaCampaign Concert Tour and several music galas.
On the international scene, Sebeya Band performed during the Rwanda Day in San Francisco in the United States, Festival of Francophony which was an opportunity to take their music to Tanzania and the DR Congo’s Kinshasa.
During the Airtelcampaign concert tours Sebeya Band played for US based Rwandan singers, Benjamin Mugisha popularly known as The Ben and RnB and Pop artiste Meddy.
Significance of music industry
As long as music is branded Rwandan can effectively complement other efforts like tourism and ICT Rwanda has adopted to reposition itself globally.
South Africa, DR Congo England, Jamaica to mention but a few have branded themselves through music. People, the world over talk of Congolese music, English music et cetera.