Ideas, Stories, and Profiles

Music in Rwanda keeps evolving fast. In the past few decades, we saw different types of artists come and go. But now there is a generation of new musicians that I am proud to call real artists. They are young, forward-looking and focused. One of them is Yvan Buravan, a twenty-two-year-old whose soulful and melodious voice is one of a kind.

Last weekend, Buravan released a new video with A.Y., a Tanzanian bongo flava and hip-hop artist who has more than twenty years of experience in the music business. It is a milestone for a young Rwandan artist like Buravan to work with him. And it is obvious that Buravan is a head of his game.

The video in question is a remix of ‘Just a Dance’, and my interest when I met with Buravan last weekend was to understand how the collaboration with A.Y. came about and why they preferred a remix. I asking him a few questions; his answers sounded honest and straight forward.

He told me that A.Y. had a particular appreciation for the song, hence the work on a remix:

After I released ‘Just a Dance’, A.Y. got to listen to the song and liked it. He then reached out to me and said he had ideas that would push it further. That is where the idea of collaboration came from.

The remix of ‘Just a Dance’ is quite a colourful extension of the original version, blended with important traits that cannot go unmentioned. Meddy Saleh, who directed video, added a touch of Jamaican décor that goes with A.Y.’s signature sound. The video also features new characters and new choreography that goes with Jamaican beats.

Watching the video, you notice it is no type of a regular shabby and unorganised videos many are used to. It offers clean and neat images, with careful consideration to details. It is one of a few top quality videos we have had so far.

When I asked Buravan if he is not concerned about cultural fanatics, he said that at this point music has no boundaries and should not be kept in a bubble.

To him, “the touch of traditional instruments in the audio, the Rwandan flag that is on wide display in the video, and the fact that it was shot in Rwanda” is a big representation of a Rwandan identity.

On working with the thirty-five-year-old singer, Buravan told me it was an inspiring experience. “It was inspirational,” he said. “Considering that I wasn’t born yet when A.Y. was starting his career, and the way he was so humble, it was so inspiring.”

Buravan rose to fame with his song ‘Malaika’, a sensational soul music single released last year. Since then, he has become one of the most popular and promising young singers. I am eager to see what is coming next.

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