‘Focus on live music to grow your careers’ – Ingenzi founder

There is need for a proper strategy to help local artistes devise innovative ways to grow their careers. The call was made by the founder of orchestra Ingeli and Ingenzi International, Francois Mihigo.
Francois Mihigo. The New Times/ Courtesy.
Francois Mihigo. The New Times/ Courtesy.

There is need for a proper strategy to help local artistes devise innovative ways to grow their careers.

The call was made by the founder of orchestra Ingeli and Ingenzi International, Francois Mihigo.

With Internet dominating every industry worldwide, the veteran musician urged artistes to embrace live music and avoid auto-tuned music.

“Instead of turning the focus on originality and taking their success to the peak of their career, some artistes prefer recorded tunes as the easy way to become famous and rich,” Mihigo said.

The singer, who has been in the music industry for 30 years also advised artistes to avoid drugs, alcohol and promiscuity to stay healthy.


“An artiste cannot compose a good song under the influence of drugs. And, a good artiste is the one whose compositions are educative and inspiring, but not any song,” he warned.

Mihigo told The New Times that he aims to promote the local music industry at the international scene by encouraging live performances and original compositions.

“There are very many talented musicians in Rwanda but they need someone to guide them in live music.”

The singer, who freely dyes his hair, said that artistes should not imitate his hairstyle, but his music style.   

Who is Francois Mihigo?

Francois Mihigo, also known as Chouchou, is a Belgium-based Rwandan singer, composer and guitarist. He plans to settle in the country with his family [wife and five children].

As a kid, Mihigo one day dreamt of meeting Ivory Coast's Reggae singer Alpha Blondy, whom he admires greatly. His dream finally became a reality, when he was recently invited to perform as a guitarist at Alpha Blondy’s album launch alongside the Magic System.

And as a guitarist and singer, Mihigo has made several tours and participated in various concerts, including the international festival of Louisiana, United States and Morocco.

Mihigo is considered a cosmopolitan musician. He has performed in various bands in Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Belgium, and in his repertoire, there are rhythms (both modern and traditional) across Africa and in other continents.

The middle-aged star began his musical career as eight-year-old, when he was in primary school. In his family, the guitar has always been a trademark instrument that everyone has.

At 13, Migiho joined orchestra Shekeza Bukavu and later joined orchestra Nyampinga in 1980, when he was a student at Groupe Scolaire in Butare. There, he began to sing and participate in the composition of songs before becoming a household name in the country.

In early 1986, Migiho moved to Gisenyi where he founded a new band called Ingeli, and was joined by almost all members of Nyampinga.

Migiho moved to Burundi in 1990 and continued with his career. He later left for Europe and integrated into a Belgian band , Vaya Con Dios.

In 1998, while still in Europe, he founded his own band and named it "Ingenzi International." From time to time, he was invited in studios as a guitarist and arranger.

The star composes and sings in Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Swahili and French. While doing so, his main concern is to meet the needs of his audience. He always aspires to offer the best to the public.

linda.mbabazi@newtimes.co.rw

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