Kenyan artist Kwame Rigii is among those selected to attend the ‘Berklee in Gabon’ workshop, a precursor to the opening of the African Music Institute (AMI) in Gabon in September this year. The workshop, which runs from 9-13 January 2017 draws more than 100 young Africans from Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Gabon among other countries.
AMI is the first Pan-African campus in the international partnership network of Berklee College of Music. It will offer a graduate education for those willing to pursue careers in music, the performing arts or the entertainment industry.
Kwame, who will be flying Kenya’s flag, launched a fundraising campaign on fundmytravel.com aiming to raise US$1 800 for his trip.
He wrote: “What a huge blessing to be chosen among so many gifted applicants. To have the honour of sharing shades of our heritage through my melodies is priceless. To learn from other talented musicians and AMI, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Kwame has pioneered a growing trend by young Kenyan artists, one that seeks to preserve local languages through music. Despite being a contemporary force, he sings predominantly in his mother tongue, Kikuyu, fusing traditional with modern styles and using lyrics steeped in imagery and folk expressions that are fast fading from the Kikuyu language. However, his Kiswahili and English songs are just as notable.
Thanks to his popular love ballads, Kwame styles himself ‘Cupid's chanteur’. Some of his popular singles are ‘Malkia’, ‘Aki Wewe’, ‘Reke Ngwende’, ‘Haraya’ and ‘Githeremende’. He has done collaborations with Nyach (‘Holela’), Saint Evo (‘Kau’).
Check out the videos for Kwame’s songs, ‘Malkia’ and ‘Aki Wewe’