Bumuntu on the future of live music in Rwanda

23-year-old Andy Kayigi, who uses the stage name Andy Bumuntu discovered his musical talent at a tender age with the inspiration of his brother Gaby Umutare.
Andy Bumuntu. / Courtesy
Andy Bumuntu. / Courtesy

23-year-old Andy Kayigi, who uses the stage name Andy Bumuntu discovered his musical talent at a tender age with the inspiration of his brother Gaby Umutare.

He later joined a music band, and has grown professionally mainly singing live music in bands and karaoke shows and has since released two songs, with the third one on its way.

In an interview with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa, he talks about his music career and why playback music will soon not have a place in Rwanda.

Most of your songs tell sad stories that tend to picture a different story of you. Is this your personal experience?

The first song that I wrote was ‘Ndashaje’ which I released and it’s about an old man who wants to tell a few things about his life to his young child. The second song came after a year called ‘Mukadata’ which means stepmom and I wrote it because of a friend who was being mistreated by her stepmom.

The third one however, that I am about to release is about love called ‘mine.’ It is a love story between a boy and a girl. I try to make my songs more real than just talking about love. They talk about different emotions, and that way I find myself bringing a new thing unintentionally.

What are some of the lessons learnt from your musical journey?

I have learnt to connect more with myself because music comes more in my writings when they come more from my heart. I also learnt that I should not just focus on myself but also others like  who need guidance that is capable of advancing their careers or ambitions.

If you notice, I take my time before releasing a song because I want to explore. Mostly as an artist I judge myself. I put everything that I want on paper and start creating. I don’t just write a song because I have to but because I feel I am about to do it and whoever wants to listen to it must be patient. I have to make sure that it’s a real song and it’s going to be worth it.

We don’t see you normally performing at big gigs in town, but we already know that you have been and still do karaoke. Does this help your music career?

It’s a matter of time because I’ve started performing at concerts and will perform at today’s Blankets and Wine festival. It is more of a musical festival and we have been practicing very hard all week. The bands and karaoke that I perform at are just my way to keep me in practice.

It’s definitely easy to conclude that the kind of music you do sounds more like a Blues genre. How exactly did you decide to pursue this genre and how possible is it to champion in a country where it’s not common?

My style is more of soul and blues and that is because one’s voice sometimes chooses the style of music that they sing. The voice directs where you have to be, but also I love blues because even when I was young, I used to listen to mostly blues.

So far it has worked for me because there is not a lot of them that do blues in this industry. It is a good sign because then, I am almost alone in the journey and I can champion it.

How do you think artists can use live music to thrive?

As the music grows and artists realize that, they tend to practice, to become better performers. It’s easy to notice how concerts are becoming more and more live nowadays. I think that it’s a matter of time before you see that becoming real.

You are an electrical engineer, have you considered doing something else other than music?

We can’t predict what the future brings. I want to have a bigger career majorly in music with a bigger name but mostly I want to promote and help young talent to grow because that has always been my vision, which I will do either through music school or label. Anything that is possible to help make younger artists grow, I will do.


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