Local music industry players have come together for a musical campaign slated to start this weekend.
Dubbed ‘Rwandan Music First’, the campaign was initiated to promote local musicians by reaching out to their fans through road shows to improve the artiste-audience bond.
The idea came from local showbiz journalists who were present for US-based artiste The Ben’s performance at Blankets & Wine in Kampala, Uganda, in May, during which they discovered that Rwandan music is rare on regional airwaves.
“Departing from Kigali with The Ben, we thought he was going to be the concert’s main performer as expected, but he was the first performer. Instead, upcoming rapper Fik Fameika was the star of the show. We were all surprised and so we started to investigate how popular Rwandan music really is in Uganda,” said radio presenter Joel Rutaganda, one of the journalists who attended Blankets & Wine.
While in Kampala, Rutaganda and other journalists had the opportunity to chat with music lovers in Uganda, to find out how popular Rwandan musicians are there. They were told that the only artistes they know are The Ben, thanks to his collaboration with Sheebah dubbed Binkolera, Meddy for his song Slowly and Charly na Nina for Owooma, their collaboration with Geosteady.
Amag The Black
Back in Kigali, Rutaganda and other journalists investigated why Rwandan artistes are not that popular in the region, yet they have good music. They learned that in Uganda, the media is mostly interested in promoting their artistes, whereby at least 95 per cent of the music played is from Ugandan artistes, an idea he thinks local media and DJs should emulate.
He said they agreed with 35 local artistes to work together during the campaign, and the road shows will help them promote their music and reach a wider range of fans countrywide.
“We want to wake Rwandans up and show support to local artistes, to motivate them for the great job they are doing. Local music is underrated because music from international musicians is dominating the media, which is supposed to be the other way around. This campaign is the only way we can value our musicians if we really want to push them beyond borders,” he said.
According to the agenda, the campaign will be held in seven shows where each will have five artistes.
The campaign kicks off on Saturday at Bugarama Cite in Rusizi District, starting with Ama G The Black, Mico The Best, Safi Madiba, Asinah and P-Fla.
The road shows will continue in Nyagatare, Rwamagana, Muhanga, Huye, Rubavu, Musanze. After the evaluating of the road shows, organisers plan to bring a mega concert to Kigali.
Despite limited resources due to lack of sponsorship, Rutaganda is confident that passion for Rwandan music will make the campaign a success, revealing that they are using their own money to prove that things are possible as long as there is collaboration.
The campaign will be an annual event.