Umusizi Tuyisenge on dropping out of school to pursue his love for traditional music

Tuyisenge’s Kimironko-based Umushanana studio specialises in recording traditional music. Courtesy

Growing up in Kigali, Olivier Tuyisenge who goes by the artistic name of “Umusizi Tuyisenge”, realized that he is a good poet and started embracing the talent.

As a young boy, he did not just stop there. He also started practicing other creative talents such as writing essays, composing songs and play-acting, among other roles.


He was juggling what he was doing with education, majoring in Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry in secondary education and went on to study pharmacy. He would later drop out after one year into the course to go after his dreams.


He dropped out to get more time and freedom to do arts-related activities. He took some short courses in film making and music production, did part-time jobs of emceeing in weddings and performing different acting roles in plays during national celebrations like Kwibohora25.


The 25-year-old then used the savings from the different gigs to start his own traditional music label, which was a dream he chased from long ago.

“Doing all of that, I was chasing a dream of setting up a traditional music label. The main purpose of the studio was to revitalize Rwandan cultural and traditional music and in doing so, I advance our culture beyond our borders, “Tuyisenge told this paper.

“Everywhere you go in Rwanda you will find many studios but you can’t find a single studio that only specializes in traditional music, which I wanted to change,” he added.

Tuyisenge said that Umushanana Record label, the first traditional music studio in Rwanda, opened its doors in June 2020. Gakondo musicians work together to produce traditional songs as well as other singles whose message is in line with the Rwandan cultural values.

Located in Kimironko, the studio has all the needed traditional musical instruments needed to produce a song.

When you visit the art studio, you are introduced to a room of traditional paintings in all sizes, sculptures, then to rooms full of traditional music instruments like drum kits, traditional flutes, Inanga, icyembe, iningiri and many others, all of which depict Rwanda’s traditional culture.

Since its opening, the studio is working on singles of famous traditional icons in Rwanda like Cecile Kayirebwa and Masamba Intore, among others.

Tuyisenge saved up to Rwf4 million to start the recording studio project which he says will focus on traditional songs, but won’t neglect other various ranges of genres.

Tuyisenge, who considers Rugamba Cyprien, as his role model, says that the studio’s future prospects include raising the talents of young disabled figures that are mostly left out by the society yet they are talented.

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