18 August 2017

Rwanda: Blankets and Wine Seeks to Connect Africa Through Music

Photo: Blankets & Wine Kigali
Blankets & Wine Kigali.

It will be food, drink, fashion and music as the first Blankets and Wine event comes to Kigali next week. Dubbed 'Blankets and Wine Kigali', the daylong event will take place on August 27 at the Golf Club in Nyarutarama.

At the press launch of the event held at 1000 Hills Distillery in Kicukiro on Wednesday night, members of the media were given a sneak peek into what to expect come August 27.

Present at the event was Muthoni Ndonga, the CEO of Blankets and Wine, Stephan Knoef, the Managing Director of 1000 Hills Distillery, the main sponsors, and the Blankets and Wine coordinator David Kamanda. Also present were some of the artistes that have been lined up to perform.

Blankets and Wine started in Kenya in 2008, before spreading its wings to Kampala, Uganda a few years later as Blankets and Wine Kampala.

Muthoni Ndonga, the CEO of Blankets and Wine revealed that it has always been her dream to expand to the whole of East Africa and eventually the continent.

"Our original tagline is Blankets and Wine; Africa Premier Music Festival, and we continue to be the home of African music. We believe we're the super highway that's going to connect Africa using music, and we're very grateful to have the opportunity to do that, from Kampala and now in Kigali," she said.

Ndonga, a singer, rapper and drummer known fondly as The Drummer Queen, revealed that she started Blankets and Wine as a platform to hold her own musical performances, before inviting other like-minded musicians.

On why she decided to export the concept out of Kenya and into the region, Muthoni explained, "We decided that if we can bring artistes to Nairobi, then we can take Nairobi to the world, and we began with Kampala where we've been four years now. We're there quarterly -it's been beautiful to see Kampala growing, expanding the space for artistes who like to perform live. We're there for the artistes who'd want to make music because it's an art form. We don't require you to be famous or popular, we just require you to be good and like what you do. If you have a craft, then we have a place for you at Blankets and Wine."

The press launch was spiced up by acoustic musical performances by some of the acts that have been lined up, including Mike Kayihura, Weya Viatora and two students from the Nyundo School of Music.

Ugandan-based Rwandan songstress Lillian Mbabazi also made an appearance though she did not perform, but promised her fans a memorable performance come August 27.

Mbabazi will be among the headline acts, alongside Bruce Melodie and Tresor from DRC.

Organisers further revealed their intention to tap into young upcoming musical talent through a segment called the New Kigali Set, in collaboration with Spoken Word Rwanda. It will comprise of eight local upcoming artistes.

"Because it's a Sunday and there is going to be so many beautiful people, come as your best version. Don't do it for competition, don't do it so that your picture may appear in the newspapers, just bring your best version to the event," advised Ndonga.

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