When Andy Mainka travelled to Rwanda in 2001 with a German band called Natty Dread, little did he know that he would fall in love with the country. After a series of performances in Kigali, Mainka went back with the band but was to return a year later.
During his brief visit, he made some networks and this came in handy. Cadillac, a popular nightclub then, needed a German sound technician to manage high-tech musical instruments from Germany Since Mainka was a German trained technician he was given that job. Since then he has grown to become Rwanda’s most sought after sound technician with 15 years of work experience in Rwanda.
Mainka says that over the years he has worked with popular musicians from a wide range of genres including, Alpha Blondy, Lauryn Hill and the late Lucky Dube, who have all visited Rwanda on different occasions.
He adds that even though some of these international musicians come with their own sound systems and technicians, sometimes there’s a dearth in quality of the sound, something that has continued to affect even locally organised concerts for many years.
Mainka is also a producer. He says because he has a strong Christian background, most of his productions are to do with gospel music. Among his productions include hits like, Prince of Peace and, has worked with some of the country’s leading gospel artistes such as Aime Uwimana, among others.
But he recalls his proudest moment when he produced a song, Tora Kagame, with DJ Junior from Uganda, for President Paul Kagame during the 2003 elections.
Currently, Mainka is a sound technician and producer with TV 1.
Last year in November, I started working for the TV station as a sound technician and also a producer, especially to do with adverts and I have never looked back,” he says.
Mainka adds that when he first came to Rwanda, the quality of music here was bad. However, for the last 15 years, there has been tremendous improvement, and the local musicians can now compete with their contemporaries from every corner of the world.