Le Miroir avec Eric 1key pour la TVR 

Published on November 24, 2016 by Davy Carmel and aired on Rwanda National Television

I watched Le Miroir for the first time out of the blue. I was in my office and Dorcy Rugamba, an great Rwandan playwright, was on it. That was enough for me to watch but little did I know I would want to be interviewed by Davy Carmel by the end of that episode. Another thing I did not know is that it was my mom’s favorite show. I guess you can imagine what it means to me when I say Momma I made it! Oh by the way, the show is in French. Donc si vous parlez un peu…

Opening for CHAN 2016 in Kigali

Published on Feb 17, 2016

It was a great honor to perform at the opening of the African Championship of Nations in front of about 25,000 people in the stadium, the whole of Africa and the world watching live from their homes. It was a chance for me to tell my African story as a contemporary artist. I was accompanied by Rwandan traditional music and was lucky to share the stage with Naleli Rugege. The piece is french by the way.

Histoire, histoires…

Statue du Christ au Lieu de La Résistance
L’animiste érige une croix à sa résidence
Les petits porteurs ont des pères blancs
Les grands glorieux se retrouvent perdants

Les armoiries remplacent le tambour
La patrie laisse l’espace aux bourgs
Le vassal désormais est maître
Le maître est traité de traître

Mais tous des nègres de l’exploiteur
Incultes, inconscients de leur créateur
Vieux pions dans un nouveau jeu
Les auteurs inversent les rôles, hors-jeu

La lecture impose le silence à l’oral
L’écriture change au cours de l’histoire
Troisième ébauche, toujours à refaire
Main gauche, main droite, bras de fer

Statue de barbarie, symbole d’héroïsme
Usurpation d’esprits au nom du christianisme
Nos cités portent les noms de colons
Et si t’es baptisé, ton prénom pourrait être Colomb

Art, culture, religion, langue, terres
Arbres, hommes, femmes, enfants, matières premières
Histoire, science, pouvoir… que reste t-il à l’Afrique
A part son âme, qu’on échange pour des cartes de crédit?

Nos révolutionnaires crient UBUNTUUUU!!
Pendant que nos cons de frères déciment nos BANTU
Silence, oui silence, on sait tous si bien le faire
Quand la violence n’est visible qu’à travers les fissures de nos fenêtres

Les mains en l’air, comme si rien ne nous concerne
Alors on dance sur du house, I mean Afrobeat moderne
Renaissance de l’Afrique avec un chapeau Western
Nos dirigeants se comportent commes des gangsters

Moi, je suis le petit peuple, mon sort ne m’appartient que dans leurs discours
Quand j’ouvre ma gueule, ils la referment pour toujours
Soudain on me demande d’être content pour rien
Tiens c’est ça ta récompense en tant qu’artiste contemporain

#1key

Entre 2 album review: En Root

Track 11: En Root (“In Root/En Route”)

The album’s message of a united humanity – which 1Key expresses in his previous song Universoul – nicely leads us into Entre 2’s reggae song: En Root (“In Root”). Over bouncy rhythms, the album’s entre deux (“between two”) motif persists until the end. As the title of the song suggests, 1Key is “in root”. The poet’s journey completes a full circle when he returns to his search for a connection to his “untraceable” roots. In the hook, 1Key sings in English:

“Take me to the roots of my family tree

Lead me to the truth and set me free

Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies

My shining star…”

1Key reveals that he emerges himself in technology “in order to get close to strangers/Hoping that the world will be better if we just accept to mix.” (Translated from French to English) The artist unsuccessfully tried to find himself through religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, traditions, and profession. In the end, 1Key tells us:

“I decided to embrace the fact that I’m this mass, or rather this mess that absorbs whatever the world throws at it, you know?

Who or what I am is no longer a big deal

I’m here and that’s all that matters…”

Breaking away slightly from his heritage, 1Key tells us that he has reinvented his personality. Rather than “in root”, he is now “en route”; the poet has “put the pieces together” and is on a new universoul journey…

entre-2_one-key_appreciations.png.png

With that, the piece transforms into 1Key’s appreciation song. The artist thanks his Grandfather, his mother, his aunties and his Uncle Faustin, who raised 1Key with his Grandfather. He also thanks his son. 1Key thanks music producers Barick, Junior Kafi, and Joe. He shows appreciation to the artists featured in the album: Dady Cassanova, Samy Kamanzi, Ricky Password, Brian Corpus, Jason Ntaro, Nono (Mhinganzima), and Natacha. He also thanks Tony Mwesigwa and Reniout Dujardin for “the amazing job on the cover”, and the founders of Spoken Word Rwanda (Diana and Betty) and Kwivuga Kampala (Nunu – who is also Rwandan). 1Key gives thanks to living legend Cecile Kayirebwa and her son Eric Soul, as well as Nelson, who invited 1Key to perform in Rwanda’s KigaliUp Festival for the first time. He thanks his colleagues and friends (Dorene, Colin and Josh) and members of Ze Clew: Kaneza, Fiona, Leah, PK, Dan, Gladys and Sam. Ze Clew is a WhatsApp group, with members from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. 1Key told me: “It’s a friendship group. The idea is for us to assist each other when travelling between these countries”.

Now here is my opportunity to thank you Eric 1Key! As an “outsider” in a country where privacy, distrust and caution have become normalised, I will be forever grateful for meeting you. Our first “interview” lasted for five intense hours! Since then, you have gifted me with many more hours of your time. Those were extremely busy days for you, with full time work, parenthood and preparation for your first live show. But patiently you helped me to translate all eleven tracks on your album. Your direct and open approach to discussion has taught me more than I could have imagined. It’s been a privilege; it’s been a lot of fun! Thank you for trusting me with your words.

Thank you, Merci, Murakoze!

Ceri Whatley

PhD African Studies/Anthropology of Music

University of Birmingham, UK

AHRC-M3C

 

Entre 2 is available on Soundcloud – Entre2 and for sale on digital stores iTunesSpotify, and Amazon. 

Eric 1key is very active on social media where you can find him discussing and debating all kinds of things. For updates and live info, follow Eric1key on Twitter: @eric1key, Facebook: Facebook/eric1key, Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/eric1key or email for bookings at ericonekey@gmail.com

 

_______

Song lyrics and translations

En Root (“In Root”  [Track 11 on Entre 2 album]) 

Prod. Barick (Kigali). Vocals: Yego Studio (Kampala); English, French.

[Intro] [Intro]
Alright! Entre2 has been a beautiful journey Alright! Entre 2 has been a beautiful journey
Yeah. Lots of discovery Yeah. Lots of discovery
So I thought maybe we could take another small trip So I thought maybe we could take another small trip
What do you say? Right? Come with me What do you say? Right? Come with me
[Hook] [Hook]
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
Woyooo Woyooo
Woyooo Woyooo
[Verse1] [Verse1]
C’est le retour d’âge d’un adulte prématuré It’s the mid-life crisis of a premature adult
Les boots dans l’asphalte, en route, le parcours est inauguré I’ve got my boots on the road, en route, the journey has begun
Les yeux dans les étoiles, je cours après mon ombre My eyes are lost in the stars, I’m running after my shadow
Car retracer mon histoire c’est recoller les décombres Because walking on the path of my history, the whole of it is putting the pieces together
Mes traces ressemblent aux marques des pieds sur la plage My traces look like footprints in the sand
Aussi belles qu’elles paraissent, elles disparaissent avec la vague Although beautiful, they disappear with the waves of the ocean
Racines intraçables, je suis superficiel comme une algue My roots are untraceable, I’m superficial like algae
C’est haut du gratte-ciel que je cherche la base du baobab It’s from the top of a sky scraper that I’m looking for the base of the baobab
Sur cet arbre généalogique, je ne sais sur quelle branche m’accrocher On this genealogy tree, I don’t know which branch to hang on
Donc je me livre à la technologie pour me rapprocher des étrangers So I emerge myself in technology to get closer to strangers
Espérant le monde sera mieux si on acceptait tous de se mélanger Hoping that the world will be better if we just accept to mix
A peine la troisième generation des peuples soumis It’s only the third generation of a subjugated people
L’histoire de ma nation reste fondée sur un mythe The foundation of my nation’s story is a myth
Je crois pas qu’on ait apparu comme en un jour des champignons I don’t believe we appeared one day like mushrooms
C’est pourquoi je cherche mes souches comme le noyau de l’oignon This is why I’m looking for my layers, even though it seems like peeling an onion
 —
On perd la voie de nos ancêtres, l’occident profite We lose the way of our ancestors, and the West benefits from this
On se vend aux enchères depuis que le dollar est notre devise We auctioned ourselves since the dollar became our currency
Main d’oeuvre bon marché, l’Afrique reste en crise Man power is very cheap, so Africa’s economy remains in crisis
Les Etats se multiplient plus on se divise Countries multiply the more we divide
 —
[Hook] [Hook]
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
Take me to the roots of my family tree Take me to the roots of my family tree
Lead me to the truth and set me free Lead me to the truth and set me free
Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies Save me from the dark, my world is full of lies
My shining star My shining star
[Appreciations] [Appreciations]
It’s funny how It’s funny how
I’ve been looking for myself all this time I’ve been looking for myself all this time
Only to realise that I was here the whole time  Only to realise that I was here the whole time
I tried to find myself through religion I tried to find myself through religion
Race, ethnicity, nationality, traditions, even profession Race, ethnicity, nationality, traditions, even profession
But none of these things worked out for me man But none of these things worked out for me man
So I reinvented my personality So I reinvented my personality
I decided to embrace the fact that I’m this mass, or rather this mess that absorbs whatever the world throws at it, you know? I decided to embrace the fact that I’m this mass, or rather this mess that absorbs whatever the world throws at it, you know?
Who or what I am is no longer a big deal Who or what I am is no longer a big deal
I’m here and that’s all that matters. I’m here and that’s all that matters.
So today I’m here to say thanks So today I’m here to say thanks
Because I don’t believe there is such a thing as self-made Because I don’t believe there is such a thing as self-made
We all need help from one another man We all need help from one another man
So I’m gonna start with my Grandpa – rest in peace beautiful soul. So I’m gonna start with my Grandpa – rest in peace beautiful soul.
Thank you for teaching me by simply being you. Thank you for teaching me by simply being you.
Thank you mom. I know you don’t know much about how I do what I do, but you believe in me. And that means a lot. Thank you Mum. I know you don’t know much about how I do what I do, but you believe in me. And that means a lot.
Thank you Tantine Chantal. You changed my life. Rest In Peace. I wish you were here. Thank you Tantine Chantal. You changed my life. Rest In Peace. I wish you were here.
Thank you Faustin. You’re my childhood everyday hero. Thank you for all the sacrifices. Thank you Faustin. You’re my childhood everyday hero. Thank you for all the sacrifices.
To my son. You’re my balance in this crazy world. I love you. I love you. I love you.  To my son. You’re my balance in this crazy world. I love you. I love you. I love you.
To all my aunties: Didine, Yvette and Mukaza, and even the other Didine. Thank you for being here and thank for making me feel special. Thank you for not judging me.  To all my aunties: Didine, Yvette and Mukaza, and even the other Didine. Thank you for being here and thank for making me feel special. Thank you for not judging me.
Yeah. I have a dream that one day we can sit around a table and laugh all together. Coz you know for sure we have so many comedians in the family.  Yeah. I have a dream that one day we can sit around a table and laugh all together. Coz you know for sure we have so many comedians in the family.
I also wanna thank Barick. You played a huge part in Entre2. I mean literally. I’m proud of you bro. I mean hang in there just a little bit, passion pays bro, it pays. I also wanna thank Barick. You played a huge part in Entre2. I mean literally. I’m proud of you bro. I mean hang in there just a little bit, passion pays bro, it pays.
Junior Kafi, your touch is divine bro. Keep doing what you do. Junior Kafi, your touch is divine bro. Keep doing what you do.
Dady Cassanova, Samy Kamanzi, Ricky Password, Body of Brian, Jason Ntaro, Nono, Natacha. Thank you so much for pouring your hearts on this project. Dady Cassanova, Samy Kamanzi, Ricky Password, Body of Brian, Jason Ntaro, Nono, Natacha. Thank you so much for pouring your hearts on this project.
Tony Mwesigwa, Reniout Dujardin. Thank you guys for the amazing job on the cover. I can never thank you enough. Tony Mwesigwa, Reniout Dujardin. Thank you guys for the amazing job on the cover. I can never thank you enough.
Diana, Betty, Spoken Word Rwanda, Nunu, Kwivuga Kampala, Cecile Kayirebwa, Eric Soul, Nelson, Kigali Up. Thank you for the vote of confidence. Diana, Betty: Spoken Word Rwanda, Nunu: Kwivuga Kampala, Cecile Kayirebwa, Eric Soul, Nelson, Kigali Up. Thank you for the vote of confidence.
Dorene, Colin, Josh, thank you for the support. Keep it real. Dorene, Colin, Josh: Thank you for the support. Keep it real.
Kaneza, Fiona, Leah, PK, Dan, Gladys, Sam, Ze Clew… oh Corey, yeah! Shout out to Ze Clew! Kaneza, Fiona, Leah, PK, Dan, Gladys, Sam, Ze Clew… oh Corey, yeah! Shout out to Ze Clew!
You’re my friends, you’re the friends that I’ve always wanted to have. So stay true. Keep it cool. I love you. Be happy. You’re my friends, you’re the friends that I’ve always wanted to have. So stay true. Keep it cool. I love you. Be happy.
And to everyone who shares my music on social media, I really appreciate. It means a lot to me.  And to everyone who shares my music on social media, I really appreciate. It means a lot to me.
Thanks to all you tweeps, to my friends on Facebook. Thanks to all you tweeps, to my friends on Facebook.
Ah! I don’t know! I don’t know where this music is gonna go, but I’m ready. I can let it take me wherever you wanna take me. Ah! I don’t know! I don’t know where this music is gonna go, but I’m ready. I can let it take me wherever you wanna take me.
Thanks everyone. Yego! Thanks Joe! Big up!   Thanks everyone. Yego! Thanks Joe! Big up!

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”).

Entre 2 – which boasts eleven carefully constructed tracks – is reflective of complex contradictions and dichotomies in 1Key’s own life. Throughout the album, we hear multiple voices singing and rapping in Kinyarwanda, French and English – as well as in Kiswahili and a bit of Lingala – reflecting the new Kigali today. Indeed, Rwanda’s capital city is home to vast numbers of Rwandan returnees, who grew up in neighbouring countries – as well as in Europe and North America – and then returned to Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide, speaking a variety of different languages.

As a PhD researcher interested in musical connections between Kigali and Kampala, I have enjoyed the privilege of getting to know Eric. Through his album, 1Key took me on a journey through a world of traditional Rwandese melodies, soulful folk, celebratory rock, bouncy reggae beats, and conscious hip-hop poetry. He introduced me to Rwandan and Ugandan music producers and artists – with whom he collaborated with on the album – who live in Rwanda, Uganda, France, Sweden, the UK and Canada. But most importantly, 1Key helped me to translate and “decode” his words. His poetic, playful, multi-layered, seductive, defiant, honest words.

I hope that this series of eleven song reviews – complete with lyric translations and audio links – enhances your understanding of 1Key’s outstanding album, and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

Entre 2 is available on Soundcloud – Entre2 and for sale on digital stores iTunesSpotify, and Amazon.

Eric 1key is very active on social media where you can find him discussing and debating all kinds of things. For updates and live info, follow Eric1key on Twitter: @eric1key, Facebook: Facebook/eric1key, Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/eric1key or email for bookings at ericonekey@gmail.com