Back to roots and culture

Thursday February 18 2021

Mani Martin performs at a Kigali Jazz Junction event. PHOTO | ANDREW I. KAZIBWE


With local music industry gradually taking shape, mainstream scene is embracing budding musicians are attracted to Rwandan traditional music genre.

Gone are the days when traditional music was majorly thought of to be for the elderly. In recent years, youth have ventured into music that gives new face to traditional music. Here are the musicians bringing live to traditional music.

Jules Sentore

He is one of the few artists who since the start, have held firmly onto Gakondo (Rwanda roots). For close to 13 years, Sentore has taken the art from local performances and competitions to regional and international events. Having risen through several songs, Sentore whose art is a blend of traditional sound and Afro-R&B, has unique live stage delivery. Holding two albums titled Indashyikirwa and The Best of Jules Sentore, he is working on another dubbed Inganzo Yaratabaye.

Mani Martin

With close to 15 years in music career, Martin Maniruta positions himself as an Afro-R&B, pop, and traditional act, whose music is deeply rooted in Rwandan tradition. Maniruta is hailed for ruling the norm of play-back culture since 2008, hence pioneering fully live performances, where he teamed up with Kesho Band. Songs like Akagezi Ka Mushoroza, Same Room, Baby Gorilla, Serafina, to performing onto local and international events.


Diana Teta

From an Afro-pop and R&B genre to a traditional musician, Diana Teta further cemented her traditional roots music career from 2018 when she left for Europe, where she has been working and performing with various producers on music projects. Teta, who has for several editions performed at Rwanda Day an international social event for Rwandans in Diaspora. Having recorded and released several songs like Velo, Umpe Akanya featuring Jules Sentore among other songs, Teta is currently promoting Iwanyu, her debut album.

Clarisse Karasira

From initially releasing poems like Byose n’Imana and Umwari, in 2018 introduced audiences to Karasira, and through songs like Gira neza and Ntizagushuke, Twapfaga iki and Imitamenwa, Nsanga, songs to releasing Inganzo y’Umutima, in her debut album last year, she won hearts. Her unique voice, poetic lyrics all entwined with the cultural feel and delivery resonate and revive ancient Rwandan music.

Deo Munyakazi

The 28-year-old instrument known for playing the Inanga, has in recent years shared stage throughout local events held, which have been graced by international musical acts such as Henhouse Prowlers from the USA, Nigerian Legendary Guitarist of Blufunk Keziah Jones, Guillaume Perret, a French Saxophonist and Belgian Jazz pianist Jef Neve in 2016. He has also curtain raised for legendary traditional musicians.