Rwandan music is progressing at a good pace, thanks to the Nyundo art and music school which has shaped some of the key players in this sector.
The school which was created in 2014 to promote and professionalize the art industry in Rwanda, plays its role in the training of high level musicians like Igor Mabano, Nel Ngabo, Arielways, Juno kizigenza and many others .
One cannot ignore the role he also played in the evolution of music production, shaping musical engineers and beatmakers like Nillan YNB, Igor Mabano and Michael Makemba.
The director of the Jaques Muligande school. / Courtesy photo
âThis school has fostered a diverse pool of talent in the music industry,â says Alex Muyoboke, a music expert.
âSince its inception, Rwandan music groups have merged as before, where almost all of the instrumentalists in Rwanda came from neighboring countries like the DRC.
Moreover, he says, not only did he promote groups, but he also shaped and gave the music industry a gift of female producers, which was very much needed in this country.
Adding to what Muyoboke said, Jacques Muligande, the director of the school, also believes that the creation of this school introduced live music to Rwanda, something that was only known to Congolese, Ugandans and Burundians based in Rwanda.
âLive music among Rwandans was weak, from arranging to practicing instruments. This school provided the best skills for live music, which gave birth to groups like Symphony and many others, âhe says.
Igor Mabano trains some of the students. Photo file.
According to Muligande, writing songs is one of the main achievements of this school, where musicians are now able to write meaningful lyrics compared to before.
He told the New Times that all that was left to take Rwandan music to the next level was for the private sector to intervene in the music industry.
âI could give a good example of football. Without a playing field, football cannot progress to a certain level. We need private investors to trust our music and also get involved.
“It could even lead to the opening of more music schools in the country than having just one,” he adds.
For Michael Makemba, former student of Nyundo and pioneer of Gakondo Fusion, Nyundo is the backbone of the new musical generation.
âNyundo shaped young talents by teaching them music, which was not there. People used to wake up and start careers, but now there’s room to study and do something you’ve learned.
In addition, he said, the school also introduced the younger generation to traditional music, which our singers lacked.
âPersonally, I went to school without knowledge or information on traditional Rwandan music. Over time, I learned and started to fall in love with it, which made me convert to a traditional musician.
“It has also shaped the teachers who also help other musicians,” he added.
Chris Neat Beat, one of the few producers in Rwanda, credits the Nyundo School of Art and Music for shaping musicians not only from Kigali, but from other parts of the country.
She shared that before, the best musicians came from the capital. However, after the establishment of this school, talents were discovered in every part of Rwanda.
âThe training of talents in many fields has enabled the industry to gain more players and innovation,â she adds.
According to Chris Neat Beat, the Nyundo school has also done a lot to change people’s beliefs about music.
âBefore, music was considered a career for dropouts and drug addicts. After the school was introduced, people started to think of music as a class like any other where you can even take exams and fail, âshe told The New Times.
He teaches vocal music, the use of instruments such as [drums, piano, guitar, wind instruments, percussion and local instruments], and music theory, production, entrepreneurship, languages ââand music history, among others.