After the huge regional success of Agatako, his hit with Ugandan music star Jose Chameleone, born Joseph Mayanja, DJ Pius, real name Rickie Rukabuza, is out on a mission.That mission is to make himself a household name in the region, on the continent and even internationally.
His latest single, a love ballad titled Wabulila wa is yet another step in that direction. The song follows in the tracks of Agatako, although it’s not a collabo. Like Agatako, it’s a fusion of musical sounds and ideas from Rwanda and Uganda, which has lately become Pius’ musical second home. Wabulila wa is Luganda for “Where are you” or “Where have you been”?
“I did this song late last year and the main reason is that I always like doing fusion. Remember Imitobe, Kanda amazi, and Ntibyambaho the rumba song … I always try different angles of music that people haven’t really done,” Pius said as he explained the inspiration for the song.
“I’m a fan of the Ugandan drum –(engalabi), and then I’m also a fan of the Rwandan culture of handclaps, so I brought the two together. Initially I wanted to name the song Urihe? (Kinyarwanda for Where are you?), but since the phrase Wabulila wa is in most parts of the song we had to go with that.”
The song is already enjoying some decent airplay on radio stations in Kigali and Kampala as fans from both sides of the border warm up to it.
Asked about the feedback he is getting for the song, Pius said: “From what I hear, people in Rwanda think that I went more of Ugandan in the song but the good news is that a big part of the song is in Kinyarwanda so at least the culture is represented in the language, although the beats are not so much Rwandan but a mixture of many things.”
From the look of things, this is just the beginning and the DJ said he won’t look back until he has the entire East African region and the continent.
“I will be releasing more Luganda songs soon. Moze Radio has written me one and I’ve partially recorded it so at least I will have two or three Luganda songs on my upcoming album,” he revealed.
“We have a foot print in Uganda, so the next step is what can we do in Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria? I’m going on my Nigerian tour from May 6, and then see where it all goes. I have promised myself that this year I have to do two more collabos and they have to be from other countries, not Uganda.”
Yet that’s not all.
“I love languages,” Pius continues. “I’m trying to do another song in Kiswahili and then in French because I want to go everywhere. Recently, while performing in France, it was really good, people loved the music but I could see that they wanted to understand what I was singing about. Apart from French, I’m planning collabos in Kenya and Tanzania to broaden my brand appeal in the region.”
Pius is just fresh from his longest professional tour to date, one that kicked off in Uganda in February, and wound up in Switzerland a month later:
“In February we went to Uganda for a show with Charly & Nina. From that show in Uganda we went straight to Central African Republic for a Valentine’s Day gig and had two shows there, returned to Rwanda, after whichwe were supposed to go to Belgium but the deal was too soon for me so I didn’t process my Visa fast enough.
“So I had to sit out that one and go straight to France after a week. I departed on March 1, and had a show there with Charly & Nina, then another show in Switzerland.”
He returned briefly to Rwanda, but was soon back in France, prospecting for business.
“In France, I had a meeting with Trace TV. I met them and we discussed and they told me what they wanted me to do and I told them what they would do for me so it was kind of barter trade; my songs to play on Trace TV and for me to promote their events in East Africa as a DJ and promoter and even select music of prominent Rwandan artistes which can play on their TV station.”
He says we should expect a big announcement soon.
“We’re trying to organise a show in Kigali and, if we do that, more details about the deal will come forth. But yes, it’s there and we have some agreements already signed.”