Eric 1Key, an artist who represents a modern but complicated Rwanda

Published on 22 November 2016 by Ceri Whatley for True Africa

When Ceri and I met me in 2015 for the first time, we had about a 5-hour interview. It was so fluid that I forgot it was an interview. Ever since she has shown lots of interest in my work digging between the lines to decipher hidden messages,and shed light into the world with her beautiful quill. Here, she curated my work on True Africa.

“There isn’t a lot of live music in Rwanda. A lot of artists prefer playback as it’s an easy shortcut to performances. It costs more to organise live performances, especially when artists are so often paid in “exposure” instead of money’. Despite Kigali’s restrictive noise pollution regulations, and severe lack of investment in the arts, 1Key regularly entertains crowds at Spoken Word Rwanda. He has performed at Rwanda’s annual KigaliUp! Festival and has, more recently, organised a series of live shows: the #Expericment.

“His outlook reflects the new Kigali today, where entwined linguistic and cultural influences feed into an increasingly diverse and interesting arts scene.”

“1Key addresses subjects such as cosmopolitanism, patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Black Power, and Democracy.”

– Ceri Whatley

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