Despite being relatively young, he is one of the longest serving and reputable producers in the gospel music industry.
Camarade ‘Holy’ Dusabimana has served in the industry for more than seven years, producing music for prominent local gospel musicians like Patient Bizimana, Gaby Kamanzi, Serge Iyamuremye and Lilliane Kabaganza, among others.
The-26-year-old has worked with several recording houses in the country over the years but he established his name while working at BNG Records in 2014. He was nominated for a Groove Award in the top gospel producers’ category in the country for Igihe cyo Kuramya, a song he recorded for music icon Patient Bizimana featuring Nelson Mucyo, Vincent Gashongore, Peniel and Gaga Grace.
Since then, the producer has not looked back. At Hear Records, a music studio for Christian radio Authentic FM where he plies his trade currently, Camarade receives clients ranging from church choirs to household names in the gospel music industry.
Dusabimana’s journey to becoming a music producer started as early as 2005 when a passion for playing music instruments took over him while he was a senior three student in Kabuga.
“It was then that I started learning how to play the piano in church,” he says.
After a year of learning piano in church, he decided to further his skills by approaching Future Records, a studio within his neighbourhood in Kabuga. He spent six years there learning from Papa Emille, the main producer of the studio.
Subsequently, he found himself with enough skills to move on to bigger opportunities, like landing a job at BNG Records, a bigger recording house where he earned even more recognition in the industry.
He stayed here until 2016 when he decided to go to Kenya for a course in music production.
“Getting professional qualifications in music is very important. You may have the talent and when you add education, it makes you even better,” he says.
On return to the country, he landed a new job with Authentic Radio’s Hear Records where he is working to date and handling large numbers of musicians “supporting gospel music in Rwanda as well as contributing to the progress of the country.”
A man with many hats
Besides his work as a producer, Dusabimana is also an accomplished worship leader. At Vivante Church in Kabuga where he goes for prayers, he not only leads the congregation in worship,but he also gives musical training to the choir members.
He is newly married, having tied the knot with Elizabeth Tengera in January this year. He says his marriage is a great supporting factor in his work.
“It protects me as a young man since it keeps me focused in order to concentrate and work hard,” he says.
He is also an evangelist preaching God’s Word in church and out in the community.
Challenges in the industry
He says there is a big challenge of inadequate financial capacity in the gospel music industry which results from unsatisfactory support from the fans.
“The singers don’t have a lot of money and so, the producers also don’t earn a lot,” he says.
In line with this challenge, he urges fans to support the musicians if they really love them. “You cannot say you love someone when you don’t support them,” he adds.
The general picture of music production in Rwanda
He says Rwanda is still behind as far as music production is concerned. He cites an example of having only one live-recording studio in the whole country.
“We need to make live records, but we do not have the money yet,” he says.
He advises fellow producers to be serious with work and to take good care of clients’ business so as to give value for money. For the singers, he says, creativity and practice are key in producing quality work.
Inspiration and future prospects
He admires Aaron Niyitunga, a renowned Rwandan gospel artiste. He also says Bishop Deo Gashagaza, his pastor, supports his work.