As Rwanda marks 25 years after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, it is fair to say that music has played a vital role over the past years, not only in preserving the memory but also comforting survivors.
This year, local artistes released songs to pay tribute to the victims, while other songs focus on the long journey to reconstruction and recovery from the tragedy that claimed over one million lives.
As music continues to play a big role in healing people’s wounds from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and promoting unity and reconciliation among Rwandans, Saturday Times has compiled a list of recent songs released ahead of the 25th commemoration which kicked off on April 7.
Komera by Clarisse Karasira
Produced by Alain Mukurarinda, Komera is one of the songs that highlighted this year’s commemoration. The song’s message is aimed at comforting Genocide survivors, while at the same time encouraging them to draw inspiration from Rwanda’s 25-year impressive journey to recovery from the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Clarisse Karasira. Courtesy.
Karasira, who performed the song at the night vigil on April 7, at Amahoro National Stadium, told Saturday Times earlier that she has more pending music projects focusing on commemoration that she plans to release over the next 100 days.
She is currently seen as one of the most promising female artistes in Rwandan traditional genre with the vocal abilities of legends such as Cecile Kayirebwa and Kamaliza.
¼ cy’Ikinyejanaby Jules Sentore ft Solange Kassianoff
Traditional singer Jules Sentore collaborated with female singer Solange Kassianoff to release the song which reflects on a quarter century of Rwanda’s rebirth after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and urges more efforts to build an even stronger nation in all aspects of development, with the purpose of shaping a bright future for the young generations, and the entire population.
Jules Sentore. Courtesy.
While honouring the memory of over a million souls lost, Sentore calls on Rwandans to unite through the strength and dignity of their nation, and renew their determination to build a prosperous future for the country.
“We must indeed keep the momentum,” part of the song chorus goes.
Ihorere Rwanda by Deo Munyakazi
The traditional ‘Inanga’ musician Deo Munyakazi used his favourite musical and emphasises the “never again” message.
Deo Munyakazi. Courtesy
The song also comforts Genocide survivors, encouraging them to be strong and focus on shaping a vision for a bright future.
Amateka Yacu by Eric Senderi
One of the pioneers of commemoration songs, singer Eric Senderi released a brand new song to express a Genocide survivors’ sorrow and sadness after losing their loved ones during the Genocide.
Eric Senderi. Courtesy
Though survivors still bear the scars of the Genocide, the singer sees a bright future ahead because they heroically chose to forgive those who killed their loved ones and are committed to unity and reconciliation. He also condemns those who deny or trivialise the Genocide against the Tutsi and propagate its ideology.
Niduhumureby Gracious Gra3ce
Pegging her message on the bible verse in Isaiah: 40:1, which says “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God,” US-based gospel singer Gracious Gra3ce, real names Grace Imanariyo, used her singing gift to comfort Genocide survivors through her song, Niduhumure.
Niduhumure, which has an audio version only, encourages Genocide survivors to take heart. The young singer said that she wanted to be a tool that God can use to help bring hope, and comfort to His people.
Gracious Gra3ce. Courtesy
Speaking about the song, the singer said her message is aimed at fostering hope, 25 years on.
“I know how hard it is for our country and wanted to take part in comforting my country and people that there is still hope even in hard times. Jesus Christ promised us hope that is unshakable, so my song encourages people to have hope in their lives, and God knows what we go through.”
Twibaniremu mahoro by The Mane All stars
Safi (Madiba) Niyibikora, Queen Cha, Marina Debol and Jay Polly, all signed under The Mane Music Label, teamed up and released an all-star song called, Twibanire mu Mahoro’ in line with the commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Mane All stars. Courtesy.
The song, which also emphasises the ‘Never Again’ slogan, was recorded at The Mane Records’ by producers Lee John (audio) and AB Godwin (video). It condemns hatred the kind that led to the Genocide and urges unity among Rwandans. It encourages Rwandans to learn from their past to build a stronger nation for all Rwandans.
Batuye Imitima Tugutuyeby All stars
The song, which was recorded in honour of the over one million victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and the survivors’ journey of resilience to overcoming the hardships of the tragic period with a vision towards rebuilding and self-reliance.
Several artistes, including Aline Gahongayire, Igor Mabano, Blameless, KnowlessButera, Hervé, King James, Millie, IntoreMasamba and Nyundo School of Music Choir feature in the song, which was more or less the official commemoration song this year. It was performed at the commemoration ceremony at Kigali Convention Centre (KCC) and later at the night vigil. It was produced by Clement Ishimwe of Kina Music.