A TOTAL OF 20 POEMS, including 10 previously unreleased compositions, make up Junior Rumaga’s debut tracklist which he is set to release on Friday July 8th.
The famous poet has been in the studio recording the poems, singles and collaborations for two years and finally comes up with an album which he says means a lot to his life journey, especially his career as a poet.
The poems in the album are boldly inspired by the poet’s life journey which embodies the hassles he went through from his birthplace until he opened a new chapter upon his arrival in Kigali.
Rumaga and his mother to whom he dedicated the album. Courtesy photos.
It is from the capital that poetry won most of its time, especially after participating in the first edition of Art Rwanda-Ubuhanzi whose platform saw him rise rapidly to the rank of celebrity and is today considered one of the best poets of his generation that the country has.
Rumaga said the album is a true definition of who he is as a poet and a person, and each poem has its own message.
The cover poem “Mawe”, for example, recounts 80% of his life, how he came to Kigali, his journey in poetry and a special gratitude and devotion to his mother for all the battles she fought for raise him until he becomes a popular poet. The poem itself encapsulates the fact that the entire album is dedicated to his mother.
“She raised me through hardships, even in the absence of my father, she was always there for me and my siblings. She was the one who covered all my expenses. She means everything to me,” said Rumaga told The New Times in an interview.
Most of the poems on the album are collaborations with top local artists, who he believes can help take his poetry to another level.
The poet has found good and beneficial experience working with musicians on 10 poems he has already dropped, which has inspired him to feature them in seven of the 10 new poems he will publish on Friday.
For example, he recorded ‘Narakubabariye’ with Bruce Melodie as they combined verses to preach that people should show mercy to their ex-lovers if they admit their mistakes.
He also teamed up with Juno Kizigenza in “Kibobo”, a poem that takes us through the lives of street children.
Other collaborations include “Umwana Araryoha” which features Riderman and Peace Jolis, while Alyn Sano participated in the composition of “Mazi ya Nyanja”, whose story resembles the love story of Romeo and Juliet.
Others include ‘Ivanjiri II’ with Alpha Rwirangira and Intambara Y’Ibinyoma which features comedian Patrick Rusie and Aloys Shami Rukizangabo while it also involved Yvan Buravan, Bulldogg and Mr. Kagame in ‘Intango y’Ubumwe’ .
The only three poems that do not feature artists are the cover poem ‘Mawe’, ‘Komera Mukobwa’ and ‘Inyana y’Inyange Imaragahinda’. The latter recites ‘Amazina y’Inka’ and explains the place of cows in poetry and how the poems about cows are told, according to the rhythm.
He builds the poem around the cows of his hometown, his neighborhood.
Rumaga said he chose to involve artists in most of his poems because he thinks they have a great platform that can help his poetry grow and reach a wider audience.
His album will be released through www.sigarwanda.com, a new online platform he created to collect all the poems so people can easily access them while also creating a platform for emerging poets to showcase their works digitally.
“It’s a platform that we want to turn into a must-have digital poetry site where so many poems, mine or those of other poets, will be archived. We want to create a platform where a person can find all kinds of poems,” he explained.
“There are popular poems that happen to be found and that is what the platform came to address. We want people in Rwanda and abroad to know where they can get poems like they do for music and I hope it can help us promote poetry in the growing digital age,” he added.
The platform is part of Rumaga’s recently created concept, Siga Rwanda, through which he seeks to develop a poetry center for emerging poets not only to store their works but also to elevate their poetic talent.