Reggae artiste Jah Bone D on pursuing a music career in Europe

Reggae artiste, Jah Bone D, real names Darius Rurangirwa, has been doing music professionally for more than 20 years now. He is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who released four discs together with Jean-Paul Samputu while he was still in Rwanda, before relocating to Switzerland in 1998.

Reggae artiste, Jah Bone D, real names Darius Rurangirwa, has been doing music professionally for more than 20 years now. He is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who released four discs together with Jean-Paul Samputu while he was still in Rwanda, before relocating to Switzerland in 1998.

He has since realeased three albums and three singles; among them, “Intashyo, Le Rebelle, , Love Campaign, ‘Myaka-shema’ and ‘Let dem talk’, and is working on releasing his next album soon.

 

He had a chat with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa on his musical journey and plans to return home.

 

What inspired the name Jah Bone D?

 
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Jah Bone D performs on stage during a concert. / Courtesy

Come names are meaningless when one becomes adult. That’s what happened to me when I became a new man, a Rastafarian. I don’t appreciate it when someone calls me Darius. Personally, I am in Jah service and need to have a name linked to what I do, my beliefs and especially to whom I live for, Jah Rastafari. That’s what inspired Jah Bone D, a name which means the ‘bone of God.’

What else do you do in Switzerland besides music?

I mainly do music. I arrived in Switzerland in 1998 and found myself doing different jobs but since 2003 I have been doing music only, recording, and performing at concerts.

What can you describe as your highest and lowest points in your music career?

All I do is live and let people judge me the way they want to. Otherwise, my highest point would be seeing people living in peace, unity and loving Jah (God).

I actually draw my inspiration from black Africans’ lifestyle living in Europe. The kind of life prompted me to sing about love, peace and justice because it is lacking in the world. I have learnt a lot from artistes like Yannick Noah, Skatelites and Lee S.Perry and I have managed to perform with famous Jamaican Reggae musicians like Rico Rodriguez, a renowned trombonist.

19 years of pursuing a music career abroad... how have you managed to keep up with your fans back home?

Reggae music is not just good music that soothes the ear. I try to develop my music for my fans, but I also must spread a message that will bring hope in the hearts of those who listen to it and I think that my fans are always ready to welcome good news. I improve my music by working with good musicians and singers, therefore, every day I get new experiences in music and let the public enjoy it during my concerts.

What does your song ‘Gasabo’ seek to communicate?

I love my country and my people. When I am abroad, my heart all the time stays in ‘Gasabo’. You see, some people living abroad are comfortable as if they are at home, and tend to forget where they come from but they are wrong.  You know, when people live outside the vision of their own country they become slaves of another. ‘Gasabo’ (nickname for Rwanda)is therefore as song is meant to be a message to those who are concerned.

It also tells of the big price that Rwanda had to pay to attain peace. The song appreciates all those brothers, young and old who fought, and are still at war for the sake of our nation.

You come to Rwanda every year usually to perform at shows. Do you have any plans of relocating back home?

As I said, my heart belongs to Rwanda. Of course, I am thinking of relocating back to my home country. Nineteen years of living abroad is enough time and experience for me and I would be more than proud to be back home.

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