Rwanda’s Ben Mugisha, aka The Ben, is currently in Detroit, Michigan USA to expand his artistic horizons, collaborating with and learning from other artistes to create new music.
“The Ben came to Detroit with complete humility,” recording artist and actor Mike Ellison, alias Mike-E said. “He doesn’t approach anybody as ‘The Ben.’ He simply presents himself as Ben Mugisha, an artist and a man seeking new experiences and inspiration.”
A mutual friend connected The Ben and Mike-E not long after he performed at FESPAD 2010 in Rwanda. Like many Rwandans throughout the Diaspora, The Ben heard about Mike’s stellar stage show and more importantly, his interpretation of Rwanda - Rebuild With Africa Never Divide Again.
The two artistes are collaborating on a song they hope will speak to the hearts and minds of Rwandans worldwide, although they offer no further insight just yet.
The Ben has developed a profound respect for Detroit’s extensive musical legacy, from great singers of the Motown era to underground artistes in many different genres.
“I will never abandon my Rwandan roots or my audience,” The Ben reassured. “I love my country, my culture and my people so much that I want to be a voice for them, while reaching out to a larger audience. There are so many great artistes here it’s unbelievable. It’s very inspiring.”
The Ben said that he believes he can be a bridge between Detroit, Michigan and the motherland as well. He has spent time at the city’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the largest museum solely dedicated to African-American experience in the world.
The singer feels it is important that Africans learn about the struggles and triumphs of African-Americans, and their desire to reconnect with the Mother continent. The Ben will play a brief acoustic set with soul singer Kenny Watson today, during Detroit’s Noel Night. The annual holiday season event presents an evening of free music concerts for the entire community at several venues throughout the city.
The Ben, who left for the US along with Medard Ngabo, aka Meddy, also a Rwandan singer on July 2, 2010, assures his fans and friends that all is well and he graciously asks for their continued patience, understanding and support.