Is there lack of creativity in Rwandan music?

Bongo Fleva artiste Beka Flavour (left) whose 2017 Sikinai was plagiarised by Dream Boys (right) in their new song Romeo and Juliette. Net.

Of late social media has been awash with complaints from local music fans, about a list of Rwandan artistes who are plagiarising songs and melodies.

Many complain that the Rwandan music scene is slowly losing its identity as many songs can be identified with Nigerian, Tanzanian and Jamaican beats.

Sharon Kantengwa asked professionals in the music field whether the industry is losing its creativity.

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I think it’s not only in Rwanda but it is a wide problem. Personally, I have no problem with that as long as the songs come out nicely. We don’t know what producers or song writers go through to come up with a nice song and so we shouldn’t be complaining about plagiarism.

Our artistes still have a long way to go and we expect them to give us originals yet we still go to YouTube to download their music for free. That’s not fair. On their part, I think the only reason that they are doing this is because it’s working for them. I think the only challenge that comes with it is competing internationally. We can enjoy the music locally, but I doubt if they can take the music to a global scene.

Sylvie Ingabire, events host
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I put the blame on both the artiste and the producer. Before releasing a song, the producer and the artiste are both content with their work and yet they know that there is a similar song that’s already out, then that’s a problem.

It is not professional for the producer to go to studio and copycat another producer’s craft.

Virgil Karuranga (DJ Miller)
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That is so unprofessional. What I believe in is that one can learn from the other but it doesn’t mean that you have to copy the melody and everything.

It’s like stealing, although I believe that some of the artistes are very innocent and do not know that the beat was used by another artiste. They just go to the studio, the producer gives them a beat and they flow. I advise the artistes to make use of technology like Shazam so that whenever they are in the studio, they can know if the beat is original or not.

Asinah Mukasine, artiste
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Copy and paste has been there since day one. It’s just that people had forgotten about it and it had gone silent. Not only in Rwanda but worldwide. Artistes sometimes sample fellow artistes’ beats, but my take on this is that sampling is okay but if you also sample the melody, then you have stolen the song and that’s bad.

Many songs coming out these days have something copied from other artistes. Artistes can be inspired but don’t overdo it to copy the lyrics, melody and everything. Also Rwandan producers should listen to a variety of songs and come up with new projects.

MC Tino, radio presenter and artiste

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