Munyakazi on preserving culture through folk music

Deo Munyakazi is a traditional music guitarist who started his music journey five years ago. Using the Inanga, a traditional music instrument, Munyakazi is determined to preserve his culture through music.
Munyakazi during a past concert. / Courtesy
Munyakazi during a past concert. / Courtesy

Deo Munyakazi is a traditional music guitarist who started his music journey five years ago. Using the Inanga, a traditional music instrument, Munyakazi is determined to preserve his culture through music.

Isoko Dusangiye, the latest hit of the 24-year-old musician featured on Voice of America’s playlist on Sunday, just three days after it was released.

“It was an honour to have my song hit the airwaves so fast, and not just locally, but also internationally. I want the message in my songs to be heard by everyone, not just Rwandans,” said Munyakazi.

Isoko Dusangiye which he loosely translates as ‘a common source we share’, talks about the traditional norms and the culture that define Rwanda and a Rwandans as a people.

Munyakazi said that he decided to write this song to remind Rwandans to go back to their roots.

“As a traditional music singer, I try to link the past and today. I have realised that we are losing touch with our tradition. People aren’t interested in sustaining and keeping our culture. Modernity is swallowing up our society. This is possibly why it is rare to find traditional Rwandan music instruments like the inanga, umuduri or ikembe,” he added.

The song is noticeably different from his past ones; he combined the inanga and the saxophone, played by an artiste called Scott Woods from England to give it a unique and soulful twist.

Isoko Dusangiye was recorded at Level Nine Studio located in Gisozi, Kigali by producer Jimmy. Munyakazi, who started his career playing at small public events, has featured in grand festivals in Kenya, Uganda and Europe.

In Rwanda, he has performed at a number of national events including the I Am Kigali Festival, Ubumuntu Arts Festival, as well as concerts like Inganzoya Kayirebwa and Beauty for Ashes.

He has also shared a stage with acclaimed artistes like Belgian jazz pianist Jeff Neve and Nina Ogot and Winyo from Kenya.

He is also known for songs like Twimakaze Umucyo and Urakwiriye Mwami and is currently working on another song called Ngwino Ngutembereze.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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