After a two-month break, the Kigali Jazz Junction returns tomorrow, at the usual venue, the Kigali Serena Hotel.
Following in the footsteps of Nigerian musicians that have headlined previous editions, Nigerian songbird Iruobe Ebele, better known by her stage name, Waje, will be the main act this time round, alongside Rwanda’s very own Jean Marie Muyango, touted as a legend in gakondo (cultural music) circles.
Waje jetted into the country on Tuesday night, before addressing the news at the Kigali Serena Hotel the following morning.
Waje is best known for her collaboration in the remake of P-Square’s hit, Omoge Mi, and sensational collabos with Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz (Coco Baby), I’m Available, featuring Yemi Alade, and Left for Good, featuring Patoranking, among others.
She first rose to fame in 2008, with an appearance on the P-square mega hit, Do me.
At the news conference, organisers, RG Consult, revealed that they had been engaging Waje since last year.
For her part, the Nigerian songbird promised jazz lovers a taste of the “strength and power” in her vocals, and took questions on various aspects of her music.
On the Jazz genre....
“What jazz does is it gives you liberty to express yourself. When you go down to the history of how jazz came to be, it was the sort of music through which people voiced their opinions. Jazz has affected cultural trends and how we think and how we feel as a people.”
“So it’s not a new genre to me, and I’m really excited about Friday because it’s an opportunity for me to get to know and express and commune with my audience,” she said.
“It’s also about the fusion of sounds. The beauty about Afro jazz in my opinion is the fusion of different musical sounds, and you’ll be surprised how very alike we are in our music, be it East Africa or West Africa or Southern Africa. There are things that connect us together musically.”
“That is why I’m so excited to be here and really appreciate the invite. And I know this is not the last time.”
On juggling motherhood with music...
“Long ago music stopped being a hobby for me and became a profession, just like any lawyer or banker or market woman because it’s a business for me, and being a mum doesn’t stop that,” explained the mother of one, adding that she was not married but in a relationship.
On working with P-Square...
“I met them when I was at university. We did Do Me, and it was one of the biggest songs that came out of the continent. So even though I wasn’t in the video I feel like I’ve been part of their success story as they have been part of mine.
“Some things probably don’t go the way we plan them to go, but the best that we can do is offer the support that we can. Yes, they are no longer together, but it’s probably the time for both of them to chase their own different dreams and the best we can do as fans or people who have enjoyed their music over the years is to give them support.”
On her many collabos....
“The thing about collaborations is that I value and appreciate fusion. I also understand that there is strength in numbers.
It will be ten years next year since I started my career, and I’ve been a musician and have seen people come and go because probably they don’t understand partnership. Like when Diamond Platnumz and I did Coco Baby together. He just came to Nigeria and was staying about three days. I found out he was around and we connected and decided to do one song.
I believe that the world is such a global village, and as much as it’s beautiful to have your own solo success, it’s also nice to tap into people’s success as well, because it opens more doors in terms of audience.
Working with Diamond was my breakthrough in East Africa.
What it takes...
“I think that for every artiste you should connect with people that have the same vision and dreams as you. Money is great, yes, but once the person is as passionate as you are about what you’re trying to achieve with your music and the geographical places you’re trying to conquer, it will be easy to have that conversation.
“I always like working with people who have mutual respect for my brand as I have for them, because then even in studio it’s easier to connect and bring out something that people will enjoy, rather than it being just a monetary transaction.”