Rudasingwa seeks to promote culture through music


Simba jazz band members in a group photo. / Courtesy

Music has always been a part of Thierry Rudasingwa Simba, who also works as a court bailiff.

Born in Bujumbura, Burundi, he has loved music since childhood, and he describes it as an enjoyment that heals hearts and unites people. He returned with his family to Rwanda shortly after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

In 2013, Rudasingwa and his brother Fiston Rudasingwa, founded Simba jazz band, which focuses on promoting the Rwandan culture through music.

The 30-year-old is currently wrapping up work on his debut 6-track album, Africa Haguruka, due out in May, and explains the balancing act of being a working professional court bailiff and a musician.


As a professional court bailiff, how do you balance music and your court work?

Music has always been one of my greatest passions, and luckily enough it’s among the fields that are not restricted by my profession. So, that’s the practicality of it.

What is your musical style?

When I was growing up, I listened to different genres but picked interest in hip hop, jazz, reggae and cultural music. Basically, my musical style reflects a rich tradition of Rwandan music, like Ikinimba, and modern music.

It is possible for an artiste to earn a living in this industry?

Yes. There are some artistes who’ve managed to forge a living in this business. In fact, I was also able to pay my school fees and get some basic needs. A lot has changed, both in societal perception of the music fraternity and the quality. The Ministry of Sports and Culture is also doing what it can to make sure that this industry develops. However, there are very many artistes, who are still struggling to survive and the industry still faces major challenges that hinder it from developing.

What are some of the challenges artistes do face today; and what do you think should be done?

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Much as we notice an improvement, there are still challenges affecting the development of this industry. For the most part, some artistes are still copying the western style because they are lazy or not creative enough to create their own style. If we all happen to do music in a professional manner and also avoid piracy, our music will be demanded not only locally but also both at the regional and international market.

Another aspect that has negatively impacted on music here is the fact that musicians are taken for granted and most times not respected.

The other challenge is lack of funds. Making quality videos for our songs is very expensive, and yet there no investors/sponsors willing to invest in the music industry.

Artistes need to create original music and package it with a cultural touch, thus giving it a universal appeal. Corporate companies in the country should also invest in the music industry by using musicians to brand their products.

What was your career plan B?

I’m a good painter and also passionate about film production. I often partake in those two fields in my free time. So, if I wasn’t a court bailiff or artiste, I could probably go into film or painting, but I ended up putting all my energy into my profession and music instead.