It’s eight o’clock Monday night and, Kigali Serena hotel’s ballroom is packed with delegates after a long day at the Agri-business forum. A band is about to go on stage and the band leader Mico Marcel is doing the last sound checks.
The band seems relaxed. Free of tension and have the confidence of one who is sure of what they are doing and not being cocky about it. That band is called Sound of Hills.
The seven-piece band, (five men and two ladies), was formed two years ago by Marcel Mico, a former banker. The band has since then been backing up the Primus Guma Guma Superstar contestants during the competitions. Primus Guma Guma Superstar is an annual music competition sponsored by Bralirwa, the leading brewer in Rwanda.
“I used to play often at Mille Collines hotel by myself but I had always wanted to be part of a band because it would be more interesting and would provide a chance to grow musically. After the competition I brought together the artistes,” Mico tells this reporter.
Sound of Hills plays five nights a week at Mille Colline and they also have other bookings on Monday and Friday nights but somehow it doesn’t wear them out, instead they see it as a chance to get better.
“There are days where we played two shows a day, one in the afternoon and another in the evening. We really don’t mind because we have fun while we are at it. It is also a chance to make us better as you are always on stage, the band members including me have grown musically since we began,” he adds.
Most bands especially the upcoming ones have trouble sticking together as members grow musically but Sound of Hills has stuck together.
Yeti, a band member attributes that to the leadership provided by Mico, “He is a leader. He has managed to keep us together and cohesive like a family. Though we are different in several ways, we are like a family in many aspects. We help each other out whenever one of us is facing difficulties. We have also been honest with each other, when one of us is out of line, we point it out early,” Yeti says.
Mico doesn’t heap credit on himself for managing to keep the band together, “it is the discipline of the members and knowing what they are after that has kept us together. A show that will probably be forever etched in the minds of the band members is a state function that was held at Serena and the band kept dignitaries on their feet for more than three hours. “It was an independence day event at Serena, people danced for three hours when we were playing, I don’t think I will ever forget that,” Mico says.
Does it worry the band leader that as they gain experience they may fall out? “No it doesn’t, we all have the same vision and ambitions musically, we understand each other, and it doesn’t keep me up at night. Right now we are focused on releasing our album later this year,” he says as he heads back to take his place on stage.