‘Rugari Rwa Gasabo’ by Mighty Popo is a journey back in history

I can almost hear the hissing of the woods as a natural mystic flows into the air surfing on the drive of a mystifying “Inanga” riff. 

Soon, the drums enter the partition and I feel the Eternal Fire of Gihanga crackling through space and time.

 

Gihanga…the legendary, the originator, the source code... the Alpha of today's Rwanda.

 

It is through his music that singer Jacques Murigande, known as Mighty Popo, reminds us of the infinity and depth of Rwanda’s cultural heritage.

 

It is through his music that he keeps Gihanga’s Fire alive. But Mighty Popo’s art goes beyond the highlands, the thousand hills and valleys and the great lakes of Rwanda.

His musical roots, originating in Bumbogo, stretch out far beyond the Congo Nile through the Continental hinterland connecting the daughters and sons of Alkebu-lan (Africa), the land of the dark-skinned people.

“Rugali rwa Gasabo”, Mighty Popo’s latest cut is a vibrant hymn to the motherland, Rwanda, and Africa in the wider sense.

When the drums step in, setting our heartbeats in motion, I am transported to the most remote Jamaican parish where Rasta elders echo the call of the Motherland, Nyabingi style, and right before the Djembe drum joins in to bring West Africa to the party.

As this mystical ride further builds up around Popo’s own take of ‘Inanga’ sounds played on an acoustic string instrument of his making, its high pitch tonality takes us to the heart of another great African civilisation, the Mandingo.

“Rugali rwa Gasabo” is that contemporary expression of a modern Rwandan musician true to his art and roots. Yet that is only a technical appreciation, though poetic in its execution.

In reality, it is a lovely hymn to our African nativity. It is a beautiful celebration of Mandingo, Jamaican, jazzy tones and flavors beautifully coming together to fan the flames of Gihanga’s ever-burning Fire.

Mighty Popo at a past music performance in Kigali.

The greatest compliment to his musical masterpiece is its visual construct.

A feast for the eyes... the jewel on the crown. It literally gives the song another dimension of beauty.

Beautiful people seamlessly and effortlessly floating through dance in absolute defiance of gravity.  I can only recommend you see it and hear it for yourself. As for me, let me end this piece on a thankful note.

Thank you Mighty Popo for keeping our Fire of Life alive.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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