8 September 2017

Rwanda: Tracing the Musicians Whose Star Fizzled Out

Photo: The New Times
KGB (Kigali Boys)
opinion

They were once some of the biggest names on the local music industry. Many of them rose to fame through music groups, others had impressive solo careers, but somehow, their names are now long forgotten while others have disappeared without any trace. Sharon Kantengwa traced some of the artistes who once ruled the local music industry and what they are currently up to.

Auddy Kelly

The Afro-pop singer started his career at the age of 18 after recording a song with Pastor P Igitanganza under the Anointed Six group which paved way for his music journey. His songs are a mixture of cultural and modern beats. In April this year, fans of the Ndakwitegereza singer were shocked by his announcement that he was quitting music. This came shortly after the release of his song Iyo Ngukeneye, a collabo with singer Jody Phibi. Audy, real name Audace Munyangango, revealed that during his time off; he hopes to accomplish some "short-term goals" which he preferred not to disclose, although he is rumoured to be studying.

Victor Fidele Gatsinzi

He started the music duo 'The Brothers' with Danny Vumbi in 2004 while they were students at Kigali Institute of Education, now University of Rwanda - College of Education.

Two years later, Ziggy 55 also joined, and together, they released 12 singles, which included their famous hit tracks Ikirori and Byabuhe. In 2011, the group chose to part ways, and each took a solo career. Gatsinzi changed his stage name to Kodou and released a number of songs including Iwacu Heza, a song that he did with singer Shanel in 2013.

Even though his former groupmates went on with their musical careers and are planning to release a song that they did together, Victor has since joined radio as a manager at City Radio, where he spends most of his time.

Miss Jojo

She rose to fame in 2007 after winning the National University of Rwanda "Rector Excellence Award" as 'Best Female Artiste." In 2008 she also won the Pearl of Africa Music award for "Best Rwandan Female Artiste."

Her first hit song Mwibira was released in 2006. Miss Jojo, real name, Josiane Uwineza, was considered one of the biggest names in the music industry at the height of her career.

She was a good singer, composer and songwriter. She recorded numerous songs that placed her high on the music charts of Rwanda. She later quit music after she converted to Islam, and changed her name to Iman in 2012. The singer also got married in July this year.

She confirmed her retirement from music, revealing how she is currently pursuing a different career with a corporate company.

Jackson Kalimba

He rose to fame in 2012 during Tusker Project Fame season 5. Kalimba was the second winner of the music competition. He later became part of the music trio, Hills, that comprised of Eric Mucyo and Hope Irakoze and together, they released a few songs including Kamaliza, Mfite Urukundo and Vimba Vimba that they did with Kidum. Kalimba, however, did not appear in the video of Vimba Vimba which raised concerns on whether he had left the group. Irakoze, however, revealed that the singer left for Kampala, Uganda where he now lives with his wife and son and works with Kampala Serena Hotel.Serena Hotel.

KGB (Kigali Boys)

KGB was a music group consisting of three boys, Gaston Rurangwa, also known as Skizzy, Henry Hirwa, also known as H-Wow and Yvan Manzi, also known as MYP.

The group rose to fame in 2005 and proved vocal prowess with many hit songs including Byasaze, Warukurahe, UkoTubigenza and Arasharamwe that earned the group a huge fan base both in the country and across the region.

Arasharamwe did not only make the group famous, it also won them an advertising deal with MTN Rwanda.

However, Hirwa's tragic death left the group so devastated that attempts to bring in a new member, Serge Mugabo, did not revive the group. Manzi chose to take a break in California, USA, where he recently enrolled in an art school, while Rurangwa is in part-time acting and accounting at a local bank.

MC Fab

Fabien Gahiza alias MC Fab was a member of the music group, Hotside that comprised of Rafiki, Clovis, Prince Kid, and Platini of Dream Boys, where he started his music career before the group parted ways.

The singer then embarked on a solo journey and even composed an election song Tora Paul Kagame but his career was cut short after he decided to pursue a Master's degree in law. The former singer is now part of the law fraternity.

Liza Kamikazi

She is remembered for her 2009 hit song Rahira which she did with The Ben, and other songs such as Usiniache, Nkiri Muto, Ni abacu and Mbamo which featured Mani Martin, that made her a household name. Within six years in the music industry, the Nanone singer already had a music album and 40 singles to her name. However, 30-year-old Kamikazi, real name, Solange Umuhire, took a break from music to focus on her family, and returned to the music scene at the beginning of 2013 after getting married to David Wald in 2012. Kamikazi, also an actress, looks like she took a break from that field too.

Bright Patrick Mugabe

Bright Patrick Mugabe is one of the first Rwandan gospel music artistes who adopted a hip-hop culture for gospel music. His 2014 collabo with Gabby Kamanzi, I.D, excited young, hip hop church goers and his other songs Ndiho and Umucunguzi earned him massive airplay. But shortly after that, he halted his music career in 2015 to pursue a Master's degree in Global Health in Canada and has never returned.

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