Ras Ngabo a.k.a. Gatera Ngabo is a lead singer with Rwanda’s most prominent Reggae band- Holy Jah Doves and presents Reggae, Raggae and Raggae on city radio every Saturday afternoon.
Bryan Kimenyi caught up with him to get an insight into his life and writes.
“I have not been part of any religion. Ever since I learnt of my existence, African Culture and a good heart are what I rely on,” begins Ras Ngabo coyly.
At just 27, Ras Ngabo has managed to assemble one of the most successful bands in Rwanda. He is the lead member of Holy Jah Doves Band, the group behind ‘Magulu” based on an old tale in Rwandan tradition.He doesn’t remember how he came to be a musician.
He says: “Every one is a musician right from birth. The noise you make when you leave your mother’s womb is music itself.”
"If I heard you cry, I would make beats that would make your crying a hit song, so I think we are all musicians in one way or the other."
However, Rwanda’s music legend Cyprian Rugamba who also happens to be his uncle was a major inspiration. “I admired his work and I’m determined to sing as many songs as he did,” he says as he gently pulls back his dreadlocks.
He also thinks Peter Tosh is the greatest musician ever; because of his revolutionary songs that he says still inspire many freedom and justice lovers.
All his time as a musician, there has not been a setback comparable to the time he and indeed the music industry lost a colleague (Ras Mat. R.I.P) while they were celebrating 2006 New Year.
Ras Ngabo also intends to create a children foundation that will help raise money for needy children.
He says; “Money is not the driving force of my career, sometimes we have to give back to the society that appreciates what we do, and as a Rastafarian I will do this with a lot of energy.”
“I want to see musicians here creating good music for the African and Rwandan generations that gives the African person pride and identity”.
He goes on to add that, “music without an educative message will fade away after only months in public.”
Is there any one in his life? Nay, “I love every girl, actually for many of them; it’s very hard not to live without girls next to me. But I am watching someone; very soon I’ll grab her for keeps.”