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Top Rwandan Vocalist, Cultural Music Icon Cécile Aims To Preserve And Archive The Cultural Heritage.

Updated: Jun 9, 2019


Cécile Kayirebwa - Photo from Igihe.com

During her Easter Sunday “Igitaramo”, a get-together with close friends and Rwandan culture lovers, Cecile Kayiremba emphasized on her vision to preserve and archive the Rwandan cultural heritage; music, dance and poetry through Ceka I Rwanda, a non-profit organization founded by her in Belgium in 1996.


According to her, an important work has to be done to preserve the Rwandan cultural identity as the young generation is increasingly influenced by global culture to the detriment of their own cultural heritage.


The threat is real though, as Rwanda’s young generation and Africa's in general is being highly influenced by western pop culture.


The desire to create cultural centres to learn, practice and perform regularly is the most urgent aspect of CEKA I RWANDA's work.


There is a lot of artistic and academic work to be done for the preservation of Rwandan traditional culture such as the collection of data & knowledge, the transcript and translation of classic folk songs & pastoral poetry, the archiving, the restoration and digitization of old recordings as well as doing new recordings.


Cecile Kayirebwa has so far recorded 6 albums, 7th and 8th compiles Singles & EPs

If we want to promote the Rwandan cultural music in this globalized world, cultural exchange is also important to inspire new forms of artistic expression”, said one close friend of Cecile Kayirebwa.


This was after an intercultural performance by Deo Munyakazi, a Rwandan cultural music artist and Ms. Hilde Cannoodt, a Belgian Choreographer, specializing in Egyptian dance, but who have also studied Indian, Flamenco and Rwandan dances.


Ms. Hilde Cannoodt and Deo Munyakazi

Below you can watch a performance in which Deo Munyakazi plays "Inanga"", Ms. Hilde Cannoodt & Niyomufasha Yvette dancing.



Born in Kigali in 1946, Cecile Kayirebwa has so far recorded 6 albums and 2 other albums compiling Singles & EPs. Cécile's songs transcend different generations in her home country, Rwanda and are accompanied by traditional instruments such as the Inanga, umuduri and ikembe.

She participated in important festivals such as the first Pan African Festival of Dance held in Kigali, Rwanda in 1998, and a year later, the 'Robben Island Event' held in Cape Town, South Africa, and at WOMAD in 2001. Cécile also performed for awareness events such as the 2001 'Holocaust Memorial Event' held in London, United Kingdom, and 'Action against AIDS' organized by the African First Ladies in Kigali, Rwanda.


Fittingly, Cécile's soul-stirring vocals contribute to the soundtrack of the 2006 film 'Shooting Dogs', with music composed by Dario Marianelli.


You can find Cecile Kayirebwa's music on iTunes, Deezer, Amazon, YouTube and Spotify

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