Gakondo Group thrills traditional music fans

Gakondo Group has been playing for only six months, but the band has already been bitten by the traditional music bug.Clad in matching traditional attire, the group emerged on stage and greeted the fully-packed Ishyo Theater hall much to the crowd’s applause. Straight to the show which took place on April 3, the eight-piece male group excited the crowd with the vigor used as they performed a number of songs, including Ngizo ziraje indashyikirwa, Inka Niy’Urukundo, Ikibungenge and Nkoronko, among many more.
The founder of Gakondo group, Intore Massamba (R) performs with Diana Teta in a tribute concert to remember the country’s fallen musician, Athanase Sentore.
The founder of Gakondo group, Intore Massamba (R) performs with Diana Teta in a tribute concert to remember the country’s fallen musician, Athanase Sentore.

Gakondo Group has been playing for only six months, but the band has already been bitten by the traditional music bug.

Clad in matching traditional attire, the group emerged on stage and greeted the fully-packed Ishyo Theater hall much to the crowd’s applause.

Straight to the show which took place on April 3, the eight-piece male group excited the crowd with the vigor used as they performed a number of songs, including Ngizo ziraje indashyikirwa, Inka Niy’Urukundo, Ikibungenge and Nkoronko, among many more.

As the strings of the guitars were struck away, Gakondo group, the most prolific guardian of the country’s musical heritage, performed with 17 singers and musicians.

This time round it was all about live music. Amazingly the crowd could recite almost all the songs with ease as if the group had recorded them with them [crowd], perhaps it was just to prove that loyalty had kept them around  throughout the show.

When the show ended, people had smiles on their faces.

The concert was in honour of the country’s legendary traditional musician Athanase Sentore. The free concert was organised by Gakondo group in partnership with Positive Productions and Goethe-Institut.

Massamba Intore, the director of the group and son to the late Sentore, said, “I chose this date because he died around this time of the year (March 20). Before he died, he told me he would want to be accompanied with music and dance.”

Intore was surprised by the turn up, saying he never expected it because this was their first major concert as a group.

However, the biggest surprise for him was that young people were the majority in the audience.

“When I planned and organised the concert, I had an age group in mind that I was targeting. That is, 30 and above because they understand this kind of music [traditional] that we do,” he said.

He was glad that the young people are showing interest in this kind of music because that provides the best opportunity to preserve it.

Masamba attributed the show’s success to the effort that they put in during their practice. They had been practicing for about two months, three days in a week. He said, “The turn up for me shows success and the vocalists were great.”

As the show came to an end at 10.30pm, the director encouraged Rwandans to love their culture which will help maintain their identity.

“Of course and also support our group,” he added, “this concert is like the beginning of our musical journey that we are yet to start.”

The concert, which featured a collection of various traditions from different provinces of the country, drew fans from all over the city, from the connoisseur to the casual music fans.

The Gakondo group performs at Milles Colline Hotel every Friday. However, they will not be performing until May, due to the upcoming 19th Genocide commemoration period, which starts on Sunday, April 7.

The Minister of Sports and Culture, Protais Mitali, was the guest of honour on Wednesday.

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