Teaching professional Burundian musicians

A group of professional musicians from the Dutch organization Music Mission came to Burundi this Saturday to provide local musicians with tips and tricks to help them professionalize.-By Yves Didier Irakoze

Participants during a training session ©Iwacu

Participants during a training session ©Iwacu

The team from Music Mission consists of professional musicians, artists and producers with the mission of helping African artists. “Providing the best tools and teaching the best music to help Burundian singers, producers and players of music instruments to improve their skills, that was the main objective of our the three day workshop held at ‘the School of Music’, Umudiho Music Academy”, said Claude Ciza, one of the team members living in Holland.

According to Ciza Burundian singers are talented, especially the youth, but they need to improve their professionalism. “Burundi has a rich music tradition, but the music is not exploited”, Ciza points out.
“We wish to promote the school successfully and professionally. We also want to promote Burundian artists and Burundian music and give artists the opportunity to perform abroad. Soon we will provide online lessons so that Burundian artists who want to follow courses can do so from afar”, he says.
Harvey Mercera, another team member who plays and produces music, admits that he is even a bit jealous of the talent and the potential he saw in Burundian artists. At the same time, he realized that this potential is still dormant, and that it needs to be awoken to enable it to have an impact.
He indicates that an artist has to be unique while at the same time focusing on producing good quality music. He needs to study the market where he intends to launch his products, even before he enters the recording studio.
Ciza goes on to say that Music Mission would really like to see Burundi be known for positive things like professional artists who play excellent music rather than for war, poverty and other problems. Harvey calls upon artists who participate in the workshop to be responsible of themselves in order to get what they need – to be different, uncompromising on quality, to make something which is special but still taking into account the traditional aspect whilst also keeping their own identity as musicians.

Piano player Emile Kayembe says that he gained much from the workshop. “I learned that an artist has to learn day by day to develop his potential. I have to approach those who have more experience in music than myself and ask their advice in order to succeed in this domain.”
Yvette Nizigimana, a singer in a choir, says: “The Music Mission’s team reminded me that an artist can change things. Knowing what Burundi has been through in terms of war and violence pushes me to be more involved in music and to use all my efforts to be the best artist I can be.”

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