Cameroonian born, German national, opera singer Jacques-Greg Belobo, will stage his solo concert dubbed “Sacred Songs”, at Chapelle du Centre Emmanuel in Kicukiro, Kigali, tomorrow.
Belobo will share the art of opera singing with a Rwandan audience in a free concert that starts at 6:30p.m.
Considered the most successful African classical music expert, Belobo will present sacred songs selected from his rich classical repertoire backed up on the grand piano by Simon Pierre Ndoye.
“The public should expect a great performance because I intend to give my best on stage. We will perform modern classical compositions, Negro spirituals and traditional songs from Cameroon. I wish to sing Rwandan sacred songs as well,” Belobo stated.
He may have started his voice lessons as a young boy in his home city of Yaoundé, Cameroon, but Belobo only became a professional after moving to France and then Germany. He now conducts opera coaching lessons wherever he performs in Africa.
“I am trying to perform around the world, bringing what I learnt in music on stage and in schools to help young people in Africa develop their voices,” the singer noted.
“I have been training musicians who have five or seven years of opera singing in Europe, but the talent I find in Africa is exceptional,” he observed.
“All the talent needs is just lots of technical practice,” he added.
The star is currently instructing a two-week master class with Rwandan solo singers and choirs in Kigali, in a joint project organised by the Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français du Rwanda. The second and culmination session will take place in fall 2012 and January 2013, respectively.
“I was invited by Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français du Rwanda to train local solo artistes and choir singers. I will come back for a tough final session, which will see only two top singers acquire a scholarship to study music in Germany and France,” Belobo said.
Winner of a number of international song contests, Belobo is a rare breed of Africa, who has ventured into opera with some remarkable success.
Speaking to The New Times, Director of Goethe-Institut, Peter Stepan, lamented the lack of music schools in Rwanda to offer professionalism to the local artistes.
“Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français du Rwanda have organised a long term workshop which started last week with Jaqcues-Greg Belobo, a Cameroon singer of international high class quality to train young singers from choirs and also solo artistes,” Stepan said.
“We invited solo singers, for example Shanel, and different choir singers to participate in the workshop because we really want to motivate them to get a high (level of ) professionalism in singing to work at the international stage,” he noted.
Stepan added that: “…we expect a higher degree of professionalisation and to have an idea of possibilities to the national stage.”
According to Stepan, the two best singers chosen at the final session in January 2013 will join music schools in Germany and France.
Ruth Nirere, known by her stage name Shanel, applauded Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français du Rwanda for organising the workshop that will help Rwandan musicians become better singers.