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A Thing About The Rwandan Music Industry


A Thing About The Rwandan Music Industry

Let’s talk about The Ben Habibi’s sensation which is at an all-time high rating more than 4 months after the Chicago-based Rwandan RnB/pop singer finally dropped his much anticipated music video.

In mid-July last year he released an audio version adapted by MoMusic Sound. By then it had more than 600,000 views on YouTube. Reaching the two million threshold currently and is probably the highest rating for any Rwandan song on record ever.

The 28-year-old singer, real name Benjamin Mugisha, was part of a wave of upcoming artists while the Rwandan music industry was still in its infancy stage.

Most newcomers had no role models at the time and gaining exposure was an uphill struggle. There was no corporate sponsorship, no music institutions, no social media or YouTube smart gadgetry, etc.

The industry was low key and local; it had its unique funky feel unlike the naijja-kiganda beats that’s common today.

The Ben hasn’t brought any novelty in the game to pull off a stunt. All he did was link up with a struggling Puerto Rican model who needed a come up and he needed some relevance . For 8 years, he had been far away from his local fan base over. But the pair looked good on screen the rest is history.

This isn’t first time African and Latino artists have linked up on musical projects (though it is common with African American artists). Malian and Senegalese artists and others have on Cuban scholarships studied rumba in Havana and released a few singles with Cuban and other Caribbean artists.

However, the score with Habibi song is now the growing Latino fan base judging by the comments that are in the thousands, Rwadan songs and music have a much wider global audience.

When less than five years ago they were not trending on radio airwaves leave alone television in neighbouring countries.

Habibi is now screened in European and American pubs and everyone’s like wow ‘he sings Habibi, he must be from the horn.’

According to the comments, Habibi is rocking Somalia too, (may be Meddy should start taking Somali ladies into his next clips instead of those habeshas). Anyway the Somali fan base and market seems unquenchable in terms of music taste ranging from horn region music Hausa, Fulani and Sahelian music and now into Bantu music quit a journey. One would be like, ‘damn… good to keep it Somali.

Credit for The Ben and being the inyarwanda music and national flag bearer. Kudos  

The Ben, Meddy, K8 Kavuyo (all live in USA) command a strong local fan base, but are yet to make a major global move.



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