ALTHOUGH the Rwandan traditional music style, also known as Gakondo, is loved by many, rarely do millennial singers venture into the genre. But 21-year-old Josh Ishimwe, a rising singer, is defying the norm by incorporating the genre into his ministry of serving God through singing. Born in 2000, the artist began singing at a young age when he was in Sunday school. Little did he know that he would end up becoming a professional singer. With few vocal skills, he joined different singing groups when he was older, to serve the Lord while also practicing his talent. The groups include Urugero Music Academy and church choirs. He was also mentored by renowned local vocalists like René Patrick and celebrated cultural artist Yvan Ngenzi. “Besides the love I had for Gakondo, I also noticed that few Gospel artistes were doing this genre professionally, and decided to be among the few to preach the Good News to the world using our traditional genre,” he said, adding that: “This would not have been possible without the help of artistes like Yvan Ngenzi and others.” The singer began his professional music journey last year, and he has so far released two songs; ‘Yesu ndagukunda’ and ‘Amasezerano yose’. Both are hymn songs in Gakondo genre. Ishimwe says that, at first, he was anxious about where he would get money to pay for audio and video production of his songs, considering that he had just finished high school. Luckily, he eventually got a management team that now helps him in all music-related logistics. Besides financial challenges, just like many other upcoming artists, Ishimwe says that he was nervous about how the audience would react to his songs. “So far so good. People are showing me love and support, and many tell me that my songs are uplifting them spiritually, which I thank God for,” he noted. Shedding light on his recent song ‘Amasezerano’ which means ‘promises’, Ishimwe explained that it seeks to remind people that God will never fail them. “The song talks about God’s faithfulness. Regardless of what you are going through at the moment, keep your faith and rest assured that God will keep His promise,” he said. The artiste also revealed that there are more songs in the pipeline, both hymn songs and those he wrote.