Is rock music taking root in Kigali?

Rock music lovers in Kigali have not had many options to enjoy the genre in the city but now RG Consult, the brains behind Kigali Jazz Junction, has brought live rock music to town.
L-R: Mzeei, Mike Safari and Ady Cruse shared the stage at the inaugural Rock & Fresh Kigali show on Saturday./Eddie Nsabimana
L-R: Mzeei, Mike Safari and Ady Cruse shared the stage at the inaugural Rock & Fresh Kigali show on Saturday./Eddie Nsabimana

Rock music lovers in Kigali have not had many options to enjoy the genre in the city but now RG Consult, the brains behind Kigali Jazz Junction, has brought live rock music to town.

The first ever ‘Rock & Fresh’ night in Kigali happened on Saturday, bringing the first ever rock live experience in town – at the Kacyiru-based People Club.

The brain behind ‘Rock & Fresh’ is Remy Lubega, whose is also the face behind ‘Kigali Jazz Junction’. The monthly jazz junction has already garnered a huge fan base in the town.

He hopes that ‘Rock & Fresh’, which is all about the ‘rock n roll’ genre, will equally become popular among rock music lovers.

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Andy Cruse with his guitar-Eddie Nsabimana

Despite a low turn-up on the first edition on Saturday, those who attended enjoyed themselves, with Lubega blaming ‘January blues’ for the low turn-up.

At 9p.m, the Neptunez Band were already warming up the stage performing different hits before they made way for the guest of the rock night, Andy Cruse, a British rock guitarist.

They performed songs like Dire Straits’ ‘Walk of Life’, The Weekend’s ‘I Feel it’s Coming’, Davido’s ‘If’, Ykee Benda’s ‘Munakampala’, Michel ‘Telo’s Ai Se EuTePego’ among others, sometimes simply playing them out with a saxophone.

At 10.30p.m, Andy Cruse was joined by Congolese veteran musician Mzeei Tamfum and local Rock and Blues artiste Mike Safari.

Backed by Makumbi Sound, the trio performed a number of rock songs currently dominating the charts.

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Congolese rock artiste Mzeei Tamfum shows off excellent guitar skills before excited audience-Eddie Nsabimana

Lubega said the first night was to test the rock experience in Kigali and, going by the performances, the rock night has a promising future in the city.

“We are testing to see if people in Rwanda would love this kind of music. We started Jazz by testing and you can see how people fell in love with it,”

“I can say I am impressed by this first experience because people enjoyed. The turn-up was promising and, to me, as a promoter, it is satisfying to see people enjoying the music,” he said after the show.

He admitted that rock is not a common concept in Rwanda, but expressed optimism that the public will gradually pick up interest in the genre.

For Mike Safari, who has an 11-year experience as a Rock and Blues performer, the new concept will awaken his talent which he had abandoned after Black and Blu Zungu, a local rock and blues music band, failed tin its mission of growing the rock genre in Rwanda.

“It is a major boost for me. I could not say no to Lubega when he brought good news to me that a new ‘Rock & Fresh’ was going to be born. I like Rock and I want to use my talent to convince people to like it too,” he said.

The show ended at midnight.

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RG Consult's Remmy Lubega and Congolese artiste Mzeei cheer the audience- Eddie Nsabimana
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Remy Lubega, the brain behind the new concept, congratulates Mzeei for his great performance-Eddie Nsabimana
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Mzeei Tanfum performs another extraordinary rock musical instrument during the show-Eddie Nsabimana
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Lubega (L)also congratulated members of Makumbi Sound for their contribution in the show-Eddie Nsabimana
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L-R- Mzeei, Mike Safari and Ady Cruse shared the stage at the inaugural Rock & Fresh Kigali show on Saturday.Eddie Nsabimana
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Despite a low turn up, Lubega is confident the concept will soon win people's hearts - Eddie Nsabimana

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