The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Impala Orchestra Makes Come Back After 18 Year Hiatus

Impala Orchestra returns to the stage after 18 years and promises a grand show to mark their come back.

The Kigali-based band that is also known as New Generation, had its first performance two months ago in different districts of the country including Kigali, Nyamata, Huye, Nyanza and Musanze.

Orchestra Impala was founded in 1974 by seven members; Sebanani André, Gasasira Jean Felix, Kalimunda Jean Pierre, Rubangura Francois, Ngenzi Fidele, Semu Jean Berechimas, Gasigwa Abdulkhatif, and Sebigeri Paul Bahimbaga.

Impala became popular in the early 1980s for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of traditional Rwandan music, with a bit of Democratic Republic of the Congo's Rumba and other genres of African music.

However, before and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the band lost five of its seven members-which condemned the band to years of inactivity.

The only surviving members are Paul Sebigeri, aka Mimi La Rose and Fidele Ngenzi, also known as Fidele la Jacal. The duo have decided to recruit new members and are determined to keep the band's legacy alive.

"We realised that people from all ages and all walks of life love our songs. So we decided to respond to the call of our fans," says Mimi la Rose, 58.

"Our ambition is not to get money, but rather to entertain and educate the public through our songs," he added.

The members of the group are currently working on new songs and intend to record and release them soon.

"We are already composing new songs and they will be out soon," Mimi la Rose states. "We are maintaining our style but it does not mean that we won't improve whenever necessary," he explained.

Last weekend, Impala staged two live concerts in Huye and Nyanza towns-attracting thousands of fans.

The group performed some of their most popular songs, such as Philos, Ntugasaze, Intwali yaratabaye, Urwererane, Nyiramariza, Marie Rose, Naumia Moyoni and Muntegetse iki, among others.

"I really love Impala", Pierre Claver Hitayezu, an enthusiastic fan told The New Times. "The concert was excellent. I am so excited."

"The last time I saw Impala was in 1989. Today's concert was as great as the one I saw at that time".

Next weekend, the band is expected to perform in Ruhango and Muhanga.

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