Q: Briefly, tell us about yourself ?
A: My name is Julienne Kayiganwa, also known as BigMama. At the moment, I am based in Belgium where I live since leaving Rwanda in 1976. I have four children and a big family.
Q: When did you start singing and how many albums do you have ?
A: I started in church besides having sung in concerts when I was still young. From both sides of my parents, music is something they loved to do. My father used to play various musical instruments like Ikembe (a type of lamellaphone) and Inanga. I started writing my own songs a bit late in 1998 because I wanted to first raise my children.
After they completed school, I had enough time to write and record. I have many written songs but so far, I have recorded one Album titled “Aliko” which I wrote and was recorded by Patrick Buta Sly of KILULU9 PRODUCTIONS. It was produced in 2010.
Q: What is the significancy of ‘‘Banyarwanda Day’’ which will be held in Uganda ?
A: I decided to perform in Uganda in order to give an opportunity to Rwandans living in Uganda to enjoy cultural music which most of them haven’t listened to in a long time or to those who haven’t had the chance to watch a cultural performance.
I will be launching my album there and the theme is ‘‘Banyarwanda Day,’’ a day for Rwandese to come together and enjoy their music.
Q: Why did you choose to perform in Uganda ?
A: I did not choose Uganda alone; I first performed in Rwanda last year in October and later remembered that there are Rwandans living in Uganda who would like their own cultural concert. I therefore promised myself to deliver, and on 6th July, this year I will be performing in Kampala.
Q: Which other musicians will be joining you on stage ?
A: I will be joined by Dr. Jose Chameleon from Uganda and other Rwandan artists including Masamba, Patrick Buta Sly, Dr. Claude, Knowless and Natacha.
Q: Why did you choose to sing cultural music not the western type of music ?
A: I feel that cultural is timeless. It has no age-limit and can never go old unlike the western type of music which changes with technology and eventually fades.
Q: What is your opinion about Rwandan artists in terms of music ?
A: Rwandan music is the best because our artists are talented. I therefore, recognize and respect each one of them.
Q: Why do you think today’s youth is more accustomed with the Western world type of music ?
A: The youth have easy access to such music other than our cultural music. I think that is why they are more accustomed with it other than cultural music.
Q: Do you think that there’s a decline in our culture, if so, why ?
A: Our culture is not declining due to having many of our youth accustomed to the Western world type of music. Our cultural songs are still in place and besides there are other things which still identify us as a cultural people.
Q: Any message to your fans ?
I love my fans so much for supporting me and I can’t wait to dance and have fun with them especially on “Banyarwanda Day”.
A: What is your advice to your fellow musicians and other upcoming musicians ?
A: I would advise them to work hard each day because to me, music is something important in life as well an inspiration to many people.