Munyakazi on performing at Pop-Kultur Festival in Berlin


Deo Munyakazi (left, in a black jacket) strikes a pose with other artistes at the Pop-Kultur Festival in Berlin, Germany. Courtesy.

Inanga musician Deo Munyakazi flew Rwanda’s flag high at the just concluded Pop-Kultur Festival in Berlin, Germany. It was the first time a Rwandan was performing at the festival. This year’s edition was held from August 23 to 25 at the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin.

Munyakazi carrying his inanga. Courtesy.

The festival features live music, talks, readings, exhibitions and movie screenings. It offers a platform for artistes across the globe to create new art. It features DJ sets and special music, with particular emphasis on the performance approach.

Munyakazi was one among only ten artistes from ten countries selected for this year’s Pop-Kultur. Other artistes were picked from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Egypt, South Africa, Pakistan, and Palestine. Vitenam, Russia and Taiwan were also represented at the festival.

Rwanda’s turn at the festival came on the opening night, August 23, when Munyakazi strummed his inanga (‘trough-zither) at the Soda Salon night club, terrace and restaurant in Berlin.

He described the experience as one of his best foreigen tours of duty;

“Everything was great. I learnt a lot, I travelled a lot, I went to studios to make music,” Munyakazi revealed upon his return to Rwanda on Monday.

Munyakazi was chosen by the Goethe Institut Kigali as one of the ten international acts to participate in this year’s festival.

“Pop-Kultur is a great platform to promote young artists, DJs, and music promoters … we were there for ten days, doing workshops, visiting some great places in Berlin like Musical Instrument Berlin Museum, and we also had a session with different producers in the city. I was excited by the reception from the German audience, they liked my inanga music though it was the first time most were seeing the inanga. They wanted to know more about it,” Munyakazi adds.

The artiste intends to release a video of his experience at the festival soon. Inspired by the warm reception accorded the inanga in Berlin, Munyakazi is also planning an ‘inanga worldwide tour’, “to introduce our music to the international music scene and put it on the world map”.

The first edition of the Pop-Kultur festival happened at the Berghain in 2015, while the second one took place in the district of Neukölln in 2016.