Eric 1Key – after the ‘Expericment’

Published on December 04, 2016 by Moses Opobo for the New Times

I was already familiar with Opobo’s work, which he shared on his Facebook page and we even got deeper after a few arguments related to how I view the work of entertainment journalists in Rwanda. He is absolutely right when he says;

The slam poet, rapper and blogger has cultivated another parallel reputation over the years – ranting. So much so that, day in, day out, he has to contend with the frequent question: “Eric, why do you like to criticize?”

When he asked me to meet him so we could discuss about my work, I said to myself, “I hope he did his research.” Indeed he did and we had a good couple of hours delving into the #Expericment series.

Basically it was testing the waters to see what business model could work out, and 1Key stretched his imagination and creativity to the limit. In all, he did four Expericment shows staged at different venues in Kigali, each with a different theme and concept; from politics to sex to identity.

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Thank you, Mr. Opobo for your interest in my work, and rants 🙂

All the best!

Entre 2 album review: Who is Eric 1Key?

Credit: Innovation Village
Photo credit: Innovation Village

Eric 1Key (real name Eric Ngangare) is one of Rwanda’s most exceptional creative talents. He is a multi-lingual hip-hop poet, spoken word artist, blogger, actor and advocate of Kigali’s blossoming live music scene. Born to a Rwandan mother and Congolese father, 1Key has lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda – where he lives today. Between November 2014 and February 2015 – and while living in Kampala, Uganda – 1Key created his debut album Entre 2 (“Between Two”). Continue reading “Entre 2 album review: Who is Eric 1Key?”

Entre 2 Album Review: Apprenti_Sage

Track 1: Apprenti_Sage (“Wise Apprentice/Learning”)

Apprenti_Sage is the album’s opening track. Drawing on the Rwandan tradition of Kwivuga, which literally means bragging, 1key introduces and asserts himself as a poet and as an artist, who terrorizes his enemies! Within the tradition of Rwandan praise poetry there are numerous specialist sub-genres, including the poetry of dynasty, the poetry of farmers, and amahamba (“the praising of cows”). According to 1key: “Kwivuga was everybody’s poetry”. Created and performed by men and boys, kwivuga is about lineage and ego: “it’s about knowing who you are and ensuring that others know too” (1Key). In this case, 1Key identifies himself as the son of his personal hero, his late Grandfather Ngangare Rugambwa. Continue reading “Entre 2 Album Review: Apprenti_Sage”

Entre 2 album review: Virtually Yours

Track 4: Virtually Yours ft. Ricky Password & Mhinganzima 

While A L’Africaine (Iwacu) expresses 1Key’s romantic nostalgia for a time before apps and gadgets, the album’s following track throws us forwards into a celebration of online space and its capacity for enabling love and musical collaboration. Virtually Yours narrates an online love story, with the feel-good mood being inspired by Ray Charles’s influential song What’d I Say (1959). Recorded at audio-producer Barick’s home-studio in Kigali, Virtually Yours is alive and upbeat. The free-feeling quality is achieved by the fast tempo, the strong backbeat of the drum kit, and the attack of the electric piano rhythms. We hear multiple voices singing in Kinyarwanda, French and English, reflecting the new Kigali today, where entwined linguistic and cultural influences feed into an increasingly diverse and interesting creative arts scene. Continue reading “Entre 2 album review: Virtually Yours”

Entre 2 album review: Politricks


Track 7: Politricks

According to 1Key, Politricks is his “most dangerous song because it’s not politically correct.” In Rwanda it is unusual (taboo, even) to directly and publicly talk (or sing) politics, unless to reinforce the status quo. And yet 1Key tells us: “Today I found its [politics] nose in my business, what should I do?/I’m sorry Mum, I will not keep quiet”. (Translated from French to English) Indeed, poetry is a medium through which we are able to experience how the personal is political. In his previous track (Entre 2), we learnt that 1Key values honesty, and that he exists “without filter between thought and speech.” In our conversations, 1Key told me: “I’m not into politics, but I’m sad to see the same stories over and over again”, an idea he articulates in Politricks when he asks the question: “How can we be so fooled when history repeats itself in a loop?” (Translated from French to English) Continue reading “Entre 2 album review: Politricks”