From Berlin with a big win

Twenty days have never been so short, so rich in experience! Berlin has unlocked so many new senses in my being like in a game, you know? Because I felt like I was in an adventure Gameboy play. Berlin is fascinating. The people are respectful and that is great! The bonus for me was meeting various artists from across the world, going to inspiring cultural events and enjoying the amazing taste of Düners yum yum yum!!

As for the past that led to these beautiful experiences, it all started with a casual encounter with Jens Dietrich in 2017 at Rwanda Arts Initiative. He was working with Dorcy Rugamba, who is his longtime collaborator. Dorcy runs the space. I go there sometimes without any particular agenda, simply because I feel home at the home of Rugamba Cyprien, my all-time favorite poet. That afternoon, as the sun sets behind Mont Kigali, Jens told me a little bit about Planet Kigali, which he was working on with Dorcy and another storytelling project in the pipeline. Later on in time, Jens asked me if I was interested in the project? I said, “We’re on the same path, I’ve been doing the same work with La Voie De La Légende. I’m in.”

Fast forward, Feb 2019: Jens returned to Rwanda with Milena & Klaus, who are artists navigating through various formats (experimental music and sounds, theatre, performing arts…) The meeting was so on point that we dove into the work straight up. We traveled around Rwanda recording personal stories that focused on identity. Not what others say about you but what you say about yourself. At the same time, Klaus was creating music by sampling old Rwandan records. The project RWANDAN RECORDS was taking shape.

Next, I applied for a Schengen visa and for the first time, I didn’t have to scream to get. It came in about a week. Amazing!

6th March I was in Berlin. We got into rehearsals, finalized with translations and the structure of the installation.

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RWANDA RECORDS IN BERLIN This is my first morning in Berlin. And if you're here you'd know I brought the sun with me 😉 exciting, no? What is even more exciting is the project I'm here for – Rwanda Records. This is a music/storytelling/Museum installation with focus on past/present/future identities (individual and collective). This is what the rehearsal space looks like. The real deal is from 21st to 24th of March at the Haus Del Kulturen Del Welt, Berlin. *** ARTISTIC DIRECTION & TEXT: Milena Kipfmüller, Jens Dietrich WITH:
Klaus Janek & Eric 1key SPECIALIST COUNSELLING: Assumpta Mugiraneza STAGE DESIGN: Jelka Plate MUSIC & COMPOSITION: Klaus Janek ASSISTANCE: Amina Nouns LIGHT AND TECHNICAL DIRECTION:
Chris Umney PROGRAMMING: Marco Peise PR Yven Augustin PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT: Annett Hardegen
VOICES: Wesley Ruzibiza, Natacha Muziramakenga, Assumpta Mugiraneza, Eric 1key, Chris Schwagga, Hervé Kimenyi, Jean Marie Vianney Mushabizi, Deo Munyakazi, Yannick Kamenzi, Odette Mukakimenyi, Paul Ntakirutimana, Evariste Karinganire, Jean Marie Vianney Mushabizi. A PRODUCTION BY Dietrich/Kipfmüller IN COOPERATION WITH Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Iriba Centre for Multimedia Heritage Kigali. SPONSORED BY Hauptstadtkulturfonds and the Goethe-Institut Kigali

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21st-24th March, the Rwandan Records museum installation was open as a part of Find The File festival at the HKW. Klaus and I performed about every 25 minutes during the 3-hour music walkthrough installation. Here’s a glimpse.

Credit: Katharina Hey
Credit: Roberto Duarte
Credit: Roberto Duarte

Much love and appreciation to everyone who came through, to the crew, Goethe Institut, HKW, Iriba and the storytellers: Assumpta Mugiraneza, Natacha Muziramakenga, Karinganire Évariste, Kimenyi Hervé, Wesley Ruzibiza, Mukakimenyi Odette, Ntakirutuma Paul, Mushabizi Jean Marie Vianney, Déo Munyakazi, Prof. Mbonimana Gamaliel, Nkurikiyimfura, Mukandoli aka shongore, Yannick Kamanzi. And, the ancestors!

1key, 1love

Encounter with The Culture

Growing up poor in the 80’s in a small village with no electricity somewhere at the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaïre then), I didn’t know what television was till I was about eight or nine years old. My grandfather’s small radio operating with batteries, which I pounded gently and exposed to sun rays for recharge (miracles of science!), was my only source of music entertainment. I remember the distorted sounds of soucousse, rumba, zouk machine, reggae, funk, and pop due to bad reception when my granddad wasn’t listening to the News about wars ravaging almost every part of Africa. Continue reading “Encounter with The Culture”

The System is a Rapist

Bad news bad boys, no Happy New year for you because #MenAreTrash. Apparently I shouldn’t be saying that and should instead say #IamTrash because apparently there is a good 0.1% of good men out there. But that means you would agree that there is a lot of trash in our system(s). If you think trash is a strong word, let’s go with “prejudice towards women” in general. Continue reading “The System is a Rapist”

Périples Nyege_Nyege – Kigali

Bon voilà… il est dimanche vers 15 heures, troisième journée du festival. Un pote avec qui j’étais dans le bus me dit “Paraît que le bus part à 20h.” Je continue à touner autour du festival. Je me pose devant la scène, tranquille. Je me retourne et il y a une colonne de gens assis sur des sortes de moquette en caoutchouc. Je reconnais certains visages. “Tiens! C’est le gars du bus!” Je dis gars parce que je ne sais pas c’est quoi son rôle mais il faisait le manager depuis Kigali. Nul comme manager. Mais de nul quoi. Le gars est arrivé avec 2h de retard à Kigali le jour du départ. Il me dit “Tiens toi prêt. On part à 18h.” Je suis content! J’ai hâte de rentrer. C’est quand même trop plus de 48h de EDM dans les oreilles.

Continue reading “Périples Nyege_Nyege – Kigali”

The Expericment Film

I have been conflicted since the film was completed. My friend Isumbabyose, the brain behind this documentary, and I had many conversations regarding its release. Initially he made a 10min version hoping to raise interest about the full film and maybe generate some income from it but at the same time the purpose of the film is to educate about what it is to be an artist in a system that does not value arts. I’ve been working hard, pushing the envelope as much as I could but still it seems like we have many years to go. We need people who see the potential in the arts to make it an industry. Continue reading “The Expericment Film”